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By PURPLELEC | 22 August 2023 | 0 Comments

The differences between USB-C, USB4, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4

  The latest connection standards are Thunderbolt 4 and USB4, which are both based on the neat reversible USB-C connector seen on most new computing devices.
  Learn more about the differences between USB-C, USB4, Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4.
Thunderbolt 4
  They supersede older USB 3.0/USB-A connectors and also slower USB-C variants in terms of speed, but are backwards compatible with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.
  USB-A (the old rectangular connector that had to go in one way, usually not the first way you tried) usually maxed at a bandwidth of 5Gbps (USB 3.0) but could be as slow as 480MBps (USB 2.0). Many of the models tested here include faster 10GBps USB-A. Look out for device  charging potential, too, with up to 7.5W on offer with some docks and hubs.
  USB-C started at 5Gbps but is also available at up to 20Gbps, although 10Gbps is more common at the upper end. Again, look for high device-charging–20W is the best we’ve seen from USB-C.
  Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) can reach 40Gbps, but, unlike Apple, some Windows PC manufacturers didn’t choose to offer all TB3’s benefits.
  Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) and USB4 require manufacturers to comply with all the technology’s benefits (such as 40Gbps bandwidth) to be certified, which makes TB4 much more trustworthy to PC users than TB3.
  Apple users won’t see much difference between TB3 and TB4, but there are extra benefits such as the ability to better daisy-chain devices. With TB3 a device chain could be disrupted with the removal of any but the final device in the chain.
  Many hub and dock manufacturers advise Windows users that their device needs to be certified for Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 due to previous connectivity-standard inconsistency. Mac users will be fine with older USB-C (12in MacBook) and Thunderbolt 3 systems.
  You can still use Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C docking stations, but you’ll miss out on Thunderbolt 4’s advancements.
  TB4/USB4 also offers faster PCIe (peripheral component interconnect express) at 32Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000MBps—double the minimum requirements of Thunderbolt 3, although more recent MacBooks have this already. Some of the early TB3 MacBooks had less bandwidth available on the right-hand-side Thunderbolt ports.

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