By Jason Ziller, Director of Thunderbolt Marketing, Intel Corporation
Technology is no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. Never before have there been so many types of devices, systems and features to customize your technology needs. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most common questions we hear from customers is regarding the difference between USB-C and ThunderboltTM 3.
What is the difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt 3?
USB Type-C, or USB-C, is a specification for connectors and cables. Some of the key features include:
Symmetrical and flip-able, or reversible. Both sides (top and bottom) can be inserted in the port in either direction, meaning that you no longer have to make sure a cable is inserted “right-side” up.
Delivery of up to 100W of power.
Supports alternate modes, such as DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, etc.
Thunderbolt 3 defines a superset of capabilities that runs on USB-C connectors and cables. In brief, Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C. Here are the superset of features that Thunderbolt 3 provides:
At 40 Gbps, Thunderbolt 3 is the fastest connection available. By comparison, native USB 3.1 operates at 10 Gbps.
Thunderbolt 3 is bi-directional with four lanes of PCI Express Gen 3 and eight lanes of DisplayPort 1.2.
Now with a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can connect to any dock, device or display, including billions of USB devices.
What’s New: Intel is well on its way to making the innovation delivered with Thunderbolt™ 3 available to everyone. Today, Intel announced that it contributed the Intel Thunderbolt protocol specification to the USB Promoter Group, enabling other chip makers to build Thunderbolt compatible silicon, royalty-free. In addition, the USB Promoter Group announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, based on the Thunderbolt protocol. The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols will increase compatibility among USB Type-C connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices.