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What Is Thunderbolt 3?
Thunderbolt 3 ports look exactly the same as USB-C ports, and indeed, the connector is physically the same from a plug-in perspective. In many cases, they can do everything that a USB-C port can, except much faster. Indeed, Thunderbolt 3 is a superset of USB-C; you can plug a USB-C-only device into a Thunderbolt 3 port on a computer, and it’ll work just fine.

Thunderbolt 3 lets you transfer data at up to 40Gbps. That’s twice as fast as the 20Gbps maximum throughput speed of the fastest USB-C ports, and four times as fast as the original Thunderbolt interface.

What Is Thunderbolt 3?
Not only can a Thunderbolt 3 port help you transfer data to and from a compliant external hard drive more quickly than a plain USB-C port, but it can also unlock additional capabilities for connecting external monitors and expansion docks. A USB-C port with support for Thunderbolt 3 means that a single cable is all you need to push power and transfer a large amount of information (such as video data for two or more 60Hz 4K external monitors) to and from a computer.
Some companies have been quick to take advantage of these capabilities. Apple was among the earliest adopters of Thunderbolt 3 for computers, and now these ports are available on all late-model Mac desktops and laptops. Video-output capabilities depend on the system, but some iMacs can now support dual 6K Apple Pro Display XDR external monitors connected via Thunderbolt 3 cables.
More and more Windows PCs and peripherals are now coming with Thunderbolt 3 support, as well. You’ll find Thunderbolt 3 ports on many late-model premium ultraportable laptops, as well as a growing selection of external hard drives and expansion docks.

As noted above, Thunderbolt 3 ports on PCs are backward-compatible with USB-C devices. So, if you’ve got some peripherals that support Thunderbolt 3 and some that support only USB-C, they should both be able to work just fine on a Thunderbolt 3 port, albeit (in the case of the USB-C peripherals) limited by the slower speeds and capabilities of the USB-only device.

Source: PCMag

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