3 Things to Know About Thunderbolt 3


Many of us own devices with a USB Type A port. They're often seen in laptops, desktops, and peripherals since they are pretty much required for any kind of computing. However, with the push of USB Type C devices, the game has changed. With the Type C interface, you’ll no longer have to struggle with plugging in cables, because the Type C has a reversible connector—so there’s no wrong way to plug it in. Hopping on board the Type C train is Thunderbolt 3 technology, developed by Intel®. Thunderbolt 3 features a maximum throughput of 40 Gb/s when used with compatible devices. The connector also transmits data via USB 3.1 at up to 10 Gb/s, and allows you to daisy-chain up to six devices. Despite that, this doesn’t mean all Type C ports support Thunderbolt 3—it is only available with Intel processors.

Here are three more things you should know about Thunderbolt 3.

1. Multi-task with dual 4K displays

Thunderbolt 3 also incorporates the latest DisplayPort technology, so you’ll be able to connect up to two 4K displays running at 60 Hz with a single cable. Obviously, you’ll need a cable for each monitor, but with its daisy-chaining abilities, you can have only one cable leading to your system, minimizing cable clutter and simplifying cable management.

2. Work and play with support for external graphics cards

One of the hardest parts of choosing a laptop as a gamer is its weight. If you want a powerful graphics card for eye-popping visuals, it’s going to weigh a ton. If you want something light and portable, the wimpy integrated graphics will feel subpar. With Thunderbolt 3, you’ll be able to connect to external graphics solutions, allowing you to have the light and portable yet powerful and serious notebook you’ve always wanted.

3. Charge and connect your devices

Yes, you read that right. While not specifically a Thunderbolt 3 feature, its USB Type C interface will let you charge phones, tablets, and even notebooks. It supports up to 100 W of power, enough to charge all but the most power-hungry laptops, and handle single-cable docks with charging. Theoretically, you’d be able to charge your phone by plugging it into a tablet, or use a friend’s phone to jumpstart yours if the battery is flat. Furthermore, Thunderbolt 3 supports Ethernet connections via an adapter, and also provides a peer-to-peer connection at 10 GbE speeds for quick file transfers.

Pairing Thunderbolt 3 with USB Type C has truly upped the standards for ports and connectivity. With it, you’ll have one cable to rule them all. The best part of Thunderbolt 3 though, is that you can do all of the above with just a single port, at the same time.