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Thunderbolt technology originally began around 2009 as an Intel project called Light Peak, which was designed to replace and unify current various and performance-improper expansion interfaces such as SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire and PCI Express.


Have you figured how many USB support devices in your room?

First of all, the most basic is the one you need to charge your mobile phone. Over 3 billion USB ports are shipped each year, by far the most successful peripheral connection type in the world. However, have you ever been annoyed with tangle USB cables?

That’s it. Thunderbolt emerged.


1. Same Connectors! 



Thunderbolt as collaboration between Intel and Apple, was firstly available only on Apple devices. Championed by Apple, Thunderbolt has been around since the late 2000, but by the time Thunderbolt 3 showed up in 2016, times had changed.

Now thunderbolt 3 is a superset of capabilities all rolled into one connection. Prior to Thunderbolt3, Thunderbolt2 and the original Thunderbolt shared the same cable type and the same port type as Apple's Mini DisplayPort, and the top data transfer speed of them was 20Gbps and 10Gbps respectively. But Thunderbolt3, the most powerful and versatile port ever, is different from its predecessors. It switches to the USB-C connectors, which will most likely make USB-C the standard universal connector moving forward, in the meantime, the adoption of Thunderbolt 3 will take off.


Mini DisplayPort?



What exactly are they?

—— Let’s figure it out.


Mouth and language: USB interfaces and USB data transfer protocols


To begin with, you can observe your real USB cables and look into their port interfaces. Several copper wires in the USB interface for transmitting data, and the copper wires are only used to conduct electricity, which are the carrier of data transmission. In brief, the USB interface is equivalent to mouth, everybody knows that we cannot communicate without language. So in the data transfer world, who plays the role of language?

USB data transfers protocol. In the simplest terms, the protocol converts the data into binary code, and then the built-in chip controls the voltage level to indicate 0 and 1, so that the data can be converted into electrical signals for transmission. In this way, Thunderbolt/2/3 can be considered as protocols, and USB-C is a kind of interface, which describes only the physical cable and connector, not the data speed or charging capability, as well as Mini DisplayPort.

Honestly, the name game that USB played makes itself a little more complicated. Now the connector type is designated by a letter and the transfer protocol is designated by a number.


The Development of USB

USB  transfer  protocol

USB Types


Protocol name




1.5 Mbps


¶  Different interface shapes

¶  4 pins

¶  Max Power Output: 5V, 1.8A



12 Mbps



480 Mbps



10 Gbps

With Apple Mini DisplayPort


USB3.0 /

USB3.2 Gen1

5 Gbps

¶  9 pins

¶  Max Power Output: 5V, 1.8A



20 Gbps

With Apple Mini DisplayPort



USB3.2 Gen2

10 Gbps

¶  Often with USB-C

¶  Reversible plug

¶  Max Power Output: 20V, 5A

¶  Bi-directional Power



40 Gbps(short,active cable),

20 Gbps(long,passive cable)

¶  With USB-C

¶  Fastest, most versatile connection




20 Gbps

¶  Faster



How is those USB-C devices devoted to my personal life?


The connector itself is a big improvement.

  • It is small, supporting thinner and lighter laptops and mobile phones;
  • Flippable and reversible make it unlike previous versions of USB, it has the same connector on both sides so you can plug in either side;
  • Bi-directional, meaning the power flows both ways through the cable. So when you connect your USB-C with laptop to charge your peripheral device, at the same time, your laptop can be powered as well.
  • Quick charge your phone: At present, more and more mobile phones have USB-C interfaces but with the old USB2.0 protocol , which result in data tansfer slowly. However, because of there are more pins inside the port for chatge, your phone can still be charged.

Above all, a USB-C port can be kinds of protocols, such as USB2.0, USB3.0, USB3.1, DisplayPort (DP), PD Fast Charger , Quick charge, or Thunderbolt 3. It all depends on the specs of the port and on the cable. Not all USB-C ports are the same.And there are several types of USB-C connections avilable, and it’s important to understand their differences.


Thunderbolt3 + USB-C: the TOP configuration

Thunderbolt 3: The USB-C That Does It All!

Thunderbolt 3 uses USB-C connectors and cables but as a single cable solution delivers the fastest and most versatile connection to any dock, display, including billions of USB devices.It is the fastest connection available at speeds up to 40 Gbps.


  • Thunderbolt3 is up to 8 times faster than USB3.0, allowing you to transfer a 4k movie under 30s.Thunderbolt3 opens up fresh possibilities, enabling thinner notebooks with fewer connectors,while supporting
  • Dual 4k displays : connect to 4k displays with astonishing resolution, contrast and color depth to see your photos, videos,applicatins, and text with amazing detail.
  • Single-cable docks with charging: Now, one compact port provides Thunderbolt3 data transfer, support for two 4K 60 Hz displays, and quick notebook charging with a single cable. It’s the most advanced and versatile USB-C docking solution available
  • Fast access to storage: Laptop storage can fill up quickly ,that’s why we may need an external storage to provide more capacity,meanwhile, we absolutely feel impatient with slow connection speed. So choosing the right connection is essential. Compact thunderbolt3 SSD storage as fast as internal SSDs, allowing you to edit content or game directly on thunderbolt3 SSD storage. Thunderbolt3 accelerates data access with fast and versatile storage solutions, you can add thunderbolt3 scalable storage for more capacity and raid capability.
  • Thunderbolt Networking: Provides a peer-to-peer connection at 10 GbE speeds to quickly transfer files between computers,perform PC migrations, or set up small workgroups with shared storage.
  • External graphics: Gamers can now connect plug ‘n’ play external graphics to a notebook to enjoy the latest games at recommended or higher setting.


Look for the Thunderbolt icon on your nect PC or device purchase!

The Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac Pro, iMac, and Mac mini are fully compatible with your existing devices and displays.

Solutions and products built to Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt2 specifications will work with Thunderbolt 3 via an adapter.

Any USB-C device (like a Google Pixel) plugged into a Thunderbolt 3 port will function normall.

If you want an audio interface with no perceptible latency, and/or need to drive multiple monitors or external high-speed graphics cards, Thunderbolt 3 is the ticket.

Thunderbolt3 leads the future!


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