Thunderbolt 4 vs USB C 3.1

Welcome to my blog: Thunderbolt 4 Vs USB C 3.1

Thunderbolt and USB are two different standards for connectivity. Thunderbolt is the name given to a technology developed by Intel Corporation, the same developer of the x86 architecture. The Thunderbolt standard was created to replace USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire).

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The main difference between USB and Thunderbolt is that USB uses a serial interface to connect devices, while Thunderbolt uses an Ethernet-like connection to connect devices. This means that you can connect thousands of devices to your computer via a single cable. This also means that if you’re transferring large files you will get much faster speeds using Thunderbolt.

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 Another advantage of Thunderbolt over USB is that Thunderbolt allows for daisy-chaining, where you can connect a device to multiple devices at once via a single cable (for example connecting two hard drives directly to each other).

Types of Cables

There are four types of cables used in Thunderbolt:

Thunderbolt 1

Thunderbolt 1 is designed to transfer data at 4 Gbit/s per channel in both directions, for a total of 8 Gbit/s. The cable is compatible with Mini DisplayPort connectors, and the connector was designed to fit in a standard USB-A port.

Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2 is designed to transfer data at 20 Gbit/s per channel (10 Gbit/s bi-directional), for a total of 40 Gbit/s. The maximum cable length is .

Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 increases the maximum data transfer rate to 40 Gbit/s (20 Gbit/s bi-directional), or 4× the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2. A Thunderbolt 3 cable can also be used with USB 3.1 devices, although at USB 3.1’s lower speeds. 

The maximum cable length is . As of September 2016, Thunderbolt 3 ports are only available on Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro models and the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook.

Thunderbolt 4

Thunderbolt 4 is designed to transfer data at 100 Gbit/s per channel (50 Gbit/s bi-directional), for a total of 200 Gbit/s. It will use the same connector as Thunderbolt 3, but the standard will have additional cabling route options, and will have a speed of “up to” 100 Gbit/s. Thunderbolt 4 will be backward compatible with all previous versions of Thunderbolt.

In November 2013, Intel announced the Light Peak technology, which promises to reduce the wires needed to connect devices by up to 80%. It is expected that Light Peak will be integrated into future CPUs and chipsets in 2014.

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB C 3.1 — which is faster?

Thunderbolt 4 and USB C 3.1 are both capable of 10 Gbps, but Thunderbolt 4 has the advantage of being able to support DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, and VGA. However, Thunderbolt 4 also requires active cables while USB C 3.1 is passive, so that’s a point in USB C 3.1’s favor.

Thunderbolt 4 also supports up to three daisy-chained devices per port, while USB C 3.1 can only support one device per port.

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB C 3.1 — which is better?

The decision between Thunderbolt 4 and USB C 3.1 depends on what you need it for. If you need DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.0, then Thunderbolt 4 is the better option for you. If not, then you’re probably better off saving yourself the extra cost and sticking with USB C 3.1.

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB C 3.1 — who wins?

In the end, Thunderbolt 4 and USB C 3.1 are both good options, but Thunderbolt 4 is faster in a lot of ways. However, it does cost more than USB C 3.1 and can only support one device per port, while USB C 3.1 can support multiple devices per port. In the end, it really depends on your needs to decide between the two.

If you need a faster connection with DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.0, then Thunderbolt 4 is a good option for you. If not, then you’re probably better off saving yourself the extra cost and sticking with USB C 3.1.

Which connection do you prefer? Thunderbolt 4 or USB C 3.1? Let us know in the comments below!

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