Thunderbolt is a type of hardware interface technology that is used to connect various devices to a PC. You’ve probably already encountered Thunderbolt in the form of its distinctive ports and cables — the latest generations use the USB-C connector. That’s the quick definition. But if you’re here, you’re probably looking for a more thorough description of what Thunderbolt is, and why it differs from USB-C.
In this guide, that’s exactly what you’ll get: We’ll go over some of its current iterations and how they compare, how Thunderbolt is different from USB-C, how to identify Thunderbolt ports, and find out the latest on when Thunderbolt 5 will launch.
Thunderbolt 3 vs. Thunderbolt 4
Since Thunderbolt was introduced in 2011, there have been a number of different versions of it. But these days, if you’re shopping for a device that features
Introduced in 2015, Thunderbolt 3 features a USB-C connector, a max transfer speed of 40GB/s, and up to 15W of power for running accessories. It can also support one 4K display and is compatible with USB4 specification.
Launched in 2020, Thunderbolt 4 is the latest version of its connection technology that’s currently available. Thunderbolt 4 still has the same max transfer speed as
Unlike Thunderbolt 3,
Is Thunderbolt the same as USB-C?
No. Though Thunderbolt has recently incorporated the use of USB-C connectors, they’re still different connection technologies. So just because
Do Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 accessories work with Thunderbolt 3?
They can, but not without help. Thunderbolt 3’s USB-C connection isn’t compatible with devices based on
How do I know if I have a Thunderbolt port?
There are two main ways to know: You can either see if there is a thunderbolt icon next to your device’s USB-C port or you can check your device’s tech specs online to see if it mentions
Additionally, Intel suggests downloading its Intel Driver & Support Assistant, which can be used to show you what kind of ports your device has, provided that your device uses Intel products and is running a supported version of Windows.
When will Thunderbolt 5 launch?
The exact launch date for Thunderbolt 5 has not been announced yet.
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