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What Is Thunderbolt Port? Is It Different from USB C?

What Is Thunderbolt Port? Is It Different from USB C?

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to connect multiple peripherals to your laptop or desktop but find that the computer doesn't have enough ports? If so, then you may have heard of the Thunderbolt port – a revolutionary technology created by Intel and Apple designed to increase connection speeds and boost performance. But what exactly is Thunderbolt and how can it help you with your computer needs? In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into what Thunderbolt is, its capabilities, implementations, compatibility issues, and more! Scroll down to learn more about the thunderbolt port.


So, what is a Thunderbolt port? Thunderbolt is a hardware standard that enables peripheral devices (external hard drives and mobile phones) to connect to a PC. Intel and Apple worked on it together to make it.

There are different versions of Thunderbolt, and the speed at which data is transferred is getting better and better with each new version. In 2011, the first version of Thunderbolt came out. It was called Light Peak at first.

The standard debuted on Mac computers but has now spread to PCs, where it frequently competes with the USB standard. In contrast to USB devices, which do not require certification, Thunderbolt devices must be Intel-certified.


Thunderbolt's connections are very fast and can transfer up to 10 Gigabits per second of data. There are two channels in each Thunderbolt port. Thunderbolt's speed and connectivity are even more outstanding because it is bidirectional; it can transmit and receive data simultaneously. It is significantly faster than older technologies like FireWire 800 and 3Gbps.

The greatest advantage of utilizing Thunderbolt is its superior performance. But its convenience is equally essential because it can handle audio, data, power, and video all through one port. This makes it easier to connect to different devices and media.

Due to its daisy chain feature, Thunderbolt can run more than one device from a single peripheral port. To make this work, the Thunderbolt peripherals should have both an inbound and an outbound connector port. You can use a Thunderbolt dock to connect more than one device to your computer through a single port.

Anker 577 Thunderbolt Docking Station is our top choice for the best Thunderbolt dock. The Anker Thunderbolt dock is compatible with non-M1 MacBooks and Windows PCs that have a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 port. Moreover, it has two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, SD/microSD card slots, and a 3.5 mm audio jack.

Is Thunderbolt the Same as USB C?

Thunderbolt is not the same as USB-C. Even though Thunderbolt has recently integrated USB-C connectors, they are still distinct connection technologies. Thunderbolt 3 and 4 ports are designed for use with USB-C connectors, but not all USB-C ports are made to work with Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt ports are completely compatible with USB-C charging devices and cables, but they have a few extra features that make them stand out from USB-C ports. For example, you can connect multiple external 4K monitors and Thunderbolt extension docks to your PC.

A Thunderbolt expansion dock lets you connect a single cable to a Thunderbolt port and then provides different kinds of ports to your PC. These may include an Ethernet connector, an HDMI port, multiple USB ports, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Conversely, USB C can only offer individual connections in single ports.

Thunderbolt 3 vs Thunderbolt 4


Thunderbolt was first released in 2011, and there have been several different versions of it. But if you're looking for a Thunderbolt device today, you're probably looking at Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4.

Thunderbolt 3 dock was released in 2015 and features a USB-C connector, a maximum transfer rate of 40GB/s, and up to 15W power for running devices. It also works with the USB4 standard and supports one 4K display.

Thunderbolt 4 was released in 2020, and it is the most recent version of its connection technology. Thunderbolt 4 has the same maximum transfer speed as Thunderbolt 3, 40Gb/s. However, it specifies that as the minimum, whereas Thunderbolt 3 does not.

Similar to Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 has a USB-C connector and can transmit up to 15W of power to accessories. In addition, they both offer Thunderbolt Networking.

Thunderbolt 4 is different from Thunderbolt 3 because it can support two 4K displays and is "compliant" with the USB4 specification. What's more, the PCIe SSD bandwidth speed of Thunderbolt 4 (32 Gb/s) is twice as fast as that of Thunderbolt 3 (16 Gb/s).

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Final Thoughts

Even though it looks the same as USB-C, Thunderbolt offers more benefits than USB-C. To connect multiple devices, a thunderbolt dock is required. An excellent recommendation for a thunderbolt dock is the Anker 577 Thunderbolt Docking Station. This thunderbolt dock supports dual displays, with the Thunderbolt 3 port supporting 5K at 60 Hz and the HDMI port supporting 4K at 60 Hz.

FAQ About Thunderbolt Port

1. How Do I Know if My USB-C Is Thunderbolt?

There are two ways to find out: You can either look for a thunderbolt symbol beside your device's USB-C port or you can check your device's technical specifications online to see if it mentions Thunderbolt ports.

2. Are Thunderbolt Ports Worth It?

Yes. With its high efficiency, Thunderbolt can carry more data than regular USB ports and is perfect for quickly transferring large files such as HD video or large graphics images. In addition, it supports the use of dual displays and works with a variety of devices from different manufacturers.

3. How Do I Identify a Thunderbolt Cable?

To identify a Thunderbolt cable, it is necessary to look at the cable. Is there a lightning bolt imprinted on it? If so, then it is a Thunderbolt cable. If not, it is just a normal USB-C cable.

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