Difference Between USB C and Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt has changed throughout time (Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, and Thunderbolt 3). USB-C to give users a universal port combined with Thunderbolt, with Thunderbolt 3 serving as the internal functionality and USB-C serving as the port’s form.

Many people are confused about the differences between the two as a result of this improvement. Let’s look at the capabilities of each to have a better idea of the distinctions between them.

USB C vs Thunderbolt

The main difference between USB C and Thunderbolt is Thunderbolt has USB-C capabilities, however, USB-C does not have Thunderbolt capabilities. The Thunderbolt port is designed similarly to the USB-C connector. However, if you connect a Thunderbolt connection to a USB-C port, your possibilities will be limited. Thunderbolt in terms of speed and visual display. When compared to USB-C, its speed enables faster access to more data. Thunderbolt operates at 40 Gbps, whereas USB-C operates at 10 Gbps.

USB C vs Thunderbolt

Almost all devices that support USB 3.1 use USB-C connectors, with some delivering electrical output of 100w at 20 v with speeds of 10Gbps. USB-C has distinct recharging capabilities.

The output power allows bigger gadgets, as well as your typical smartphone, to be charged, without the need for extra charging connections. There are several USB kinds and versions available.

The shape and style of the cable and port are referred to as USB kinds. USB versions are distinguished by their characteristics (such as speed/power) and cable compatibility.

Thunderbolt has been evolving current the latest version of Thunderbolt is 3.0. Thunderbolt 3 has a data transfer rate of 40Gbps, making it twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2.

Thunderbolt 3’s quick connection between a laptop or desktop monitor and an external graphics card enables better performance in activities like gaming with minimal to no lag.

It also improves signal reception and HD quality while communicating with Virtual Reality headsets for best performance.

Comparison Table Between USB C and Thunderbolt

Parameters of ComparisonUSB CThunderbolt
PriceUSB C is cheapThunderbolt is expensive.
Data transferUSB C is slow having 20 Gbps data speedThunderbolt is twice faster than USB C having 40 Mbps data speed.
Charging speedUSB C speed varies from 5w.Thunderbolt could charge devices with 15w speed.
CompatibilityUSB C is not compatible with Thunderbolt slotsThunderbolt is compatible with USB C slots.
UsageUsed in most of the devices for its availability and pricingCurrently not being used in many devices.

What is USB C ?

The USB connection is an industry standard for delivering data and power through a single wire.

At first appearance, the USB-C connector resembles a micro-USB connector, but it’s more oval and somewhat thicker to accommodate its main feature: the ability to flip.

The USB-C connection, like Apple’s Lightning ports, has had no up or down orientation.

You’ll never have to turn the connection over to plug it in if you line it up correctly; the “right way” is always up. Standard cables also feature the same connection on both ends, eliminating the need to figure out which end belongs where.

A USB Reference implementation Forum (USB-IF), a consortium of firms that have designed, certified and steered the USB specification over the years, created the USB-C connection.

Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Samsung are among the more than 700 firms that make up the USB-IF. As a result, USB-C ports are now found on a wide range of new gadgets in a wide range of tech sectors.

USB-C is used to charge batteries, transmit files, or both in hard disks, smartphones, and smart home appliances.

When it comes to connecting accessories and storage devices, as well as charging them, USB-C connections and ports are more than capable of satisfying your demands for most users.

What is Thunderbolt ?

Thunderbolt connectors resemble USB-C ports in appearance, and the socket is technically identical from a plug-in standpoint. In many circumstances, they can perform the same functions as a USB-C connector, but at a considerably quicker rate.

Thunderbolt is a specialized version of USB-C, thus you can use a USB-C-only device in a Thunderbolt port on either a computer without issue.

Thunderbolt 3 allows you to transport data at speeds of up to 40 gigabits per second. That’s twice as quick as the fastest USB-C connectors’ 20Gbps maximum transfer speed, and four times faster than the classic Thunderbolt interface.

A Thunderbolt port could not only let you transport data faster to and from a compatible external drive than a standard USB-C connector, but it can also open extra options for attaching external displays and expansion docks.

With a USB-C connection that supports Thunderbolt 3, you may use a single cable to power and transport enormous amounts of data (such as visual data for three or even more 60Hz 4K external displays) to or from a computer.

Thunderbolt 3 functionality is already being added to an increasing number of Windows PCs and peripherals.

Many late-model luxury ultraportable laptops include Thunderbolt 3 connectors, as do an increasing number of external drives and extension docks.

Main Differences Between USB C and Thunderbolt

  1. USB C is cheaper in comparison to the Thunderbolt, this is one of the reasons that USB C is so common in the current market.
  2. USB C is not as fast as not as Thunderbolt, that is the reason currently thunderbolt is used in displays with high framerate.
  3. Thunderbolt connections are completely compatible with USB-C devices & cables, but they have a few features that set them apart from USB-C ports.
  4. A Thunderbolt 3 cable delivers a standard 15 watts of electricity to devices. However, any device that supports the Power Delivery protocol may be charged at up to 100 watts, the same as USB-C.
  5. The Thunderbolt 3 cable can transport up to 40 terabytes of data per second, which is twice as fast as USB-maximum C’s data transfer speed.
Difference Between USB C and Thunderbolt

Conclusion

The USB-C vs. Thunderbolt issue is mostly a question of personal choice. Although most devices include USB-C connectors, there are numerous compelling reasons to choose Thunderbolt over USB-C.

Plus, with the introduction of Thunderbolt 4, the technology’s requirements have risen even higher, easily surpassing those of USB-C.

Thunderbolt 3 allows you to transport data at speeds of up to 40 gigabits per second. That’s twice as quick as the fastest USB-C connectors’ 20Gbps maximum transfer speed.

Thunderbolt technology, on the other hand, is more costly, and most budget PCs and accessories do not support it.

You must evaluate whether the advantages, like high-speed data transfer and daisy-chaining numerous 4K displays, are worth the additional expense.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8329751
  2. USBC (Universal Standard Bibliographic Code): its origin and evolution – F.H. Ayres, L.P.S. Nielsen, M.J. Ridley, I.S. Torsun, 1996 (sagepub.com)

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