Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about USB-C Cables

usb type c

Read the answers you’ve always wanted about some of frequently asked questions regarding USB-C cables. USB-C cables are some of the most advanced consumer cable technology in the world today. The emerging standard of USB Type-C cables have transcended the USB specification, leading to much discussion surrounding the future of these cables and the Thunderbolt standard. Combing through some of the most common inquiries we receive on our end, we’ve done our best to answer everything in as much detail as possible.


Q – Are USB-C and Thunderbolt storage devices essentially the same?

USB-C ports are shaped identical to Thunderbolt ports and thereby storage devices are interchangeable. Plug in a Thunderbolt device into a USB-C port and vice versa. There is no risk to the device or the port.


Q – Are USB-C and Thunderbolt cables essentially the same?

To a point, yes. Thunderbolt cables can support a range of Thunderbolt and USB-C storage devices, and vice versa. That said, in order to benefit from all the advantages of Thunderbolt, one must have a compliant port, cable, and device.


Q – What are the performance standards of different USB-C interfaces?

USB-C ports can be used with 3.0, 3.1 Generation 1, and 3.1 Generation 2. The performance standards of these cables are two-tiered. USB 3.1 Generation 1 carry data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps whereas USB 3.1 Generation 2 provides transfer rates as high as 10 Gbps.


Q – Is speed the only difference between USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 and USB-C 3.1 Gen 2?

Speed is the primary difference with Generation 1 maintaining half the data transfer speed as Generation 2. Some USB 3.1 devices is also able to deliver power to charge a notebook computer battery through a USB-C cable.


Q – Can a USB-C device work on older USB ports?

As some might already know, older computers have USB-A ports. This, in turn, will require a USB-C to USB-A adapter cable. Should the device already include a USB-C to USB-A cable, it is required to be backwards-compatible to the USB 2.0 specification.


Q – Is Thunderbolt or USB-C the better cable?

The connectors and cables of the Thunderbolt standard and USB-C are built the same. Thunderbolt interfaces borrow from the USB-C connector. That said, the Thunderbolt standard is more versatile, supporting devices that are both Thunderbolt and USB-C.


Q – Are all USB-C manufactured equal in quality?

No, unfortunately. Some USB-C cables do not meet the high standards we set for cables at PrimeCables. Be sure to do some research into different USB-C cable types, finding the level of quality that you want for. Buy USB-C cables today from PrimeCables, and enjoy free returns and a 1-year product guarantee.

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