Scroll Top

USB C vs. Thunderbolt: The Benefits and Compatibility Compared

  • Home
  • Technology
  • USB C vs. Thunderbolt: The Benefits and Compatibility Compared

In today’s world of tech, ports are essential for connecting and transferring data between devices. However, with the rise of USB-C and Thunderbolt ports, it can be challenging to decide which is best suited for your needs. Are you curious about what sets them apart? Wondering how they affect your workflow?

USB C is the newer standard and is slowly becoming more prevalent. It has a smaller connector than Thunderbolt and can be used with a wider range of devices. However, it has a slower data transfer speed and isn’t compatible with all devices.

Thunderbolt is the older standard but is still widely used. It has a larger connector than USB C and can be used with a wider range of devices. However, it has a higher data transfer speed and isn’t compatible with all devices.

USB C vs. Thunderbolt

USB-C supports data transfer speed up to 10 Gbps (USB 3.1 Gen 2), up to 20 Gbps (USB 4).Thunderbolt supports data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps.
It is widely compatible with most devices.It is limited compatibility, requires Thunderbolt support to use.
USB-C can offer functionalities that it is used for charging, data transfer, and video output.Thunderbolt offers more functionality, including daisy-chaining multiple devices, connecting to external graphics cards, and supporting multiple 4K displays.
It is generally less expensive than Thunderbolt.It is generally more expensive than USB-C.
USB-C supports power delivery, which means they can deliver up to 100W of power to connected devices.Thunderbolt can deliver up to 100W of power and supports power delivery over longer distances than USB-C.
It is more widely available on devices than Thunderbolt, as it has become the standard for many types of devices.It is less common on devices and often requires a separate Thunderbolt port, rather than a USB-C port with Thunderbolt support.

Benefits of each technology


  1. Increased data transfer speed: With the introduction of USB 3.1, data transfer speeds have increased significantly. This means that you can now transfer large files much faster than before.
  2. Improved charging speed: USB C can deliver up to 100 watts of power, which is enough to charge most laptops at full speed. This means that you can get your work done faster and more efficiently.
  3. Smaller and more compact: The new type-C connector is smaller and more compact than the older type-A and type-B connectors. This makes it more convenient to use and transport.
  4. Reversible connector: The type-C connector is reversible, so you don’t have to worry about which way it goes in. This makes it much easier to use, especially in tight spaces.
  5. Universal compatibility: USB C is compatible with a wide range of devices, including PCs, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. This makes it a great choice for those who need a versatile connectivity solution.


The main benefits of Thunderbolt are its speed and power. Thunderbolt can transfer data much faster than USB C, with speeds up to 40 Gbps.

This means that large files like videos or audio tracks can be transferred quickly and easily between devices. Additionally, it can also provide up to 100 watts of power, making it ideal for powering larger peripherals such as multiple monitors.

Potential pitfalls when choosing between the two

When it comes to choosing between USB C and Thunderbolt, there are a few potential pitfalls you should be aware of. First and foremost, Thunderbolt is a proprietary standard developed by Intel, while USB C is an open standard developed by the USB Implementers Forum.

As such, Thunderbolt 3 devices are not compatible with USB C devices, and vice versa. This can be a major inconvenience if you have both types of devices and need to transfer data between them.

Thunderbolt 3 cables are significantly more expensive than USB C cables, so you’ll need to factor that into your decision.

Thunderbolt 3 ports are not as widely available as USB C ports, so you may have difficulty finding compatible devices or connecting to existing ones.

Applications where one is better than the other

  • If you need to transfer large amounts of data quickly, Thunderbolt 3 is the better option. It can transfer data at up to 40 Gbps, while USB C is limited to 20 Gbps.
  • Thunderbolt 3 can also provide power to devices, while USB C cannot. This can be useful if you want to charge a laptop or power an external monitor.
  • If you need to connect multiple devices at once, Thunderbolt 3 is again the better option. It can support up to six devices simultaneously, while USB C is limited to two.

Key differences between USB-C and Thunderbolt

When it comes to connectivity, there are two major types of ports you’ll find on laptops and other devices: USB C and Thunderbolt. Both offer fast data transfer rates and can be used for a variety of purposes.

USB C is the newer standard and is gradually replacing older USB ports. It offers a faster data transfer rate than older USB standards, and can also be used for charging devices.

USB C uses a protocol called DisplayPort Alternate Mode (DP Alt Mode), which allows it to carry video signals as well as data. Thunderbolt, on the other hand, uses a different protocol called PCI Express (PCIe).

USB C ports can be found on a wide range of devices, from laptops and smartphones to digital cameras and gaming consoles. Thunderbolt ports are much less common and are primarily found on Apple laptops.

Difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt


Thunderbolt vs. USB C is an ongoing battle that affects both personal and professional users. With the introduction of faster speeds, Thunderbolt 3 has made a case for being the ultimate port but USB C still holds its own in terms of versatility and compatibility. So, it will come down to what you need out of your ports: speed or flexibility. No matter which one you choose, you can rest assured knowing that these two powerful technologies will continue to influence your workflow for years to come.

Featured Posts!
Most Loved Posts
Clear Filters