For the past few years, USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 have completely revolutionized port standards, signifying a new age in how devices connect to one another. Today, more than three billion USB ports are shipped every year internationally and USB Type-C currently stands as the world’s most popular USB connection standard.
Prior to the invention of the USB Type-C peripheral standard, Thunderbolt 3 was released and praised as a potential replacement for the Universal Serial Bus standard altogether. That said, throughout the past two years, Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C have both been using the same port type and with amazing results! Now, every Thunderbolt 3 port works in the same way that USB-C does. In the same way, Thunderbolt 3 cables work as functional USB-C cables as well. These technologies go infinitely beyond the limitations of USB-A, USB-B, and previous versions of the Thunderbolt standard.
Let’s go back to the beginning with Thunderbolt, which at one time boasted data transfer speeds up to 20 Gbps long before any other similar cable could. With the original Thunderbolt cable and Thunderbolt 2, the cable was defined as ‘active’, meaning that it required a power source to function. This limited the development of the Thunderbolt standard and made it somewhat more expensive, especially compared to cables that didn’t require their own dedicated power source to operate. These limitations are what allowed Universal Serial Bus to advance to the point where they completely supplanted the Thunderbolt standard.
In response, the Thunderbolt 3 cable made some key alterations, including removing the MiniDisplayPort connection type and replacing it with USB Type-C, including additional functionality as a USB-C cable, top data transfer feeds up to 40 Gbps, backwards compatibility made possible with the assistance of an adapter, and the ability to connect to USB Type-C devices.
Today, we are very much living in a USB kind of world – though that might not always be the case. As tech continues to advance, we simply don’t know what’s around the corner. For the time being, there’s no cable more impressive to daily consumer use than the various combinations of USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3.
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