In this post, we are comparing USB-C vs. Thunderbolt 3 and looking at their specs objectively.
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The universality of the USB-C connection brings ample benefits. However, it has also created some confusion. It is especially true when the matter comes to Thunderbolt 3.
Several contemporary laptops contain USB-C ports. However, only a few support the Thunderbolt 3 (TB3). Those laptops that feature TB3 usually come at an expensive price tag compared to those with merely USB-C. The question now arises, i.e., which one is the most acceptable option for you?
The following article discusses the comparison between USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 so that you can withdraw any speculation. After reading this article, you can decide whether the USB-C would be sufficient or if you require the extra functionalities of a TB3 connection.
USB-C (officially known as USB Type-C) and Thunderbolt 3 depict different concepts. Essentially, USB-C is only a form factor for a connection. You can contemplate USB-C as an advancement of the design of obsolete boxy USB connectors (recognized as Type-A).
It is important to note that USB-C is a reversible connector that implies that you need not fiddle when plugging in. Also, it comes with more pins than USB-A, which facilitates higher data transfer speeds, power delivery, and video bandwidth to pass through the cable.
Generally, when the phrase “USB-C” is used in any product description, it must be observed as a transcription for a USB port that employs the Type-C form factor. Several tech outlets and retailers have spurred confusion by using the “USB-C” term to refer to both the form factor and transfer specifications.
For comparison, the term “USB-C” would refer to both the USB 3.2 data specification and USB Type-C form factor in tandem all through this article.
On the other hand, Thunderbolt 3 denotes data bandwidth, transfer speeds, and more specifications. Keep in mind that TB3 uses a USB-C connector; however, it provides extra features than the vanilla USB protocol.
The USB Type-C connection (right) shows a more diverse design than the older USB Type-A connection type (left).
When we USB-C vs. Thunderbolt 3, it is noteworthy to consider that both these connections share many parallels. Both of them use the Type-C form factor for establishing the connection.
Moreover, both can be used to transfer data at high speeds, power devices, and connect a wide range of peripherals like displays. It is possible to connect a PC to a compatible docking station using these two standards.
Though TB3 and USB-C provide identical general functionality, there are undoubtedly noticeable differences. The prominent differences between these two standards can be concluded to three key points: display connections, data transfer rates, and connecting external devices. Let’s look at these three differences and other differences too:
If you require rapid transfer speeds or an external GPU or support for multiple 4K 60 Hz displays, you need to look for the Thunderbolt 3 lightning bolt symbol.
The selection between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C concludes your usage. Make sure to take into account the following points before you purchase:
In most cases, USB-C will fulfill the requirements of most people. But in certain particular use cases, Thunderbolt 3 is beneficial or even essential.
The capability to connect devices like external GPUs, fast data transfer speeds (40 Gbps vs. 10-20 Gbps), and support for the two high-resolution displays are only possible through Thunderbolt 3.
Note that Thunderbolt 3 is a proprietary connection, and Intel owns its copyright. Fundamentally, Thunderbolt 3 usually comes at a price over USB-C. So, if your work doesn’t require data-hungry peripherals, then USB-C is a cost-effective, vendor-neutral, and flexible option for most users.
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