Thunderbolt 3 Will Have The Same Connector As USB-C; One Less Cable To Worry About!

Ask any DJ what the biggest pain is about having a bunch of different digital gear and usually one of the first things brought up is making sure you’ve got the right cables. Exciting news today from Intel, who are developing the next generation of Thunderbolt (3), and have decided to make the connector exactly the same as the USB-C connector.

Having this same connector is a big deal because it means one less cable to find – and the connector is already pretty awesome:

  • it’s reversible (similar to an iPhone Lightning cable, any way you plug it in it will work
  • it sends power and data
  • it allows additional data to be sent beyond USB (which is why Thunderbolt is able to use it)

At the same time, Intel has made a strong claim that their Thunderbolt 3 technology will be the fastest consumer data transmission cable out there, clocking in at a staggering 40 Gbps – meaning it can handle “Thunderbolt 3 data transfer, support for two 4K 60 Hz displays, and quick notebook charging up to 100W with a single cable.” Incredible.

These two technologies are still a bit out there in terms of implementation, but over the next 5 years you can expect to see quite a few more soundcards, interfaces, controllers, and other gear that will take advantage of these new technologies.

Read more: Why the New Macbook Might Not Be Good For DJs

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  • Joran

    So will this mean I get to use thunderbolt peripherals on a USB-C port? or is it ‘just’ the same connector?

    • stefanhapper

      That is really the essential question here and should be clarified by the author of the article.

  • ksandvik

    As for one less cable to worry about, read the Intel specs, the connectors are the same but the cables are different, Thunderbolt requires smart cables with chips for regulating the data along the cable.

    • calgarc

      there is always a proprietary cable lol… its apple, when the hell is there not.

      • ksandvik

        This has nothing to do with Apple, it’s an Intel spec. And Thunderbolt has specific requirements that need chips in the connectors to handle the massive throughput.

        • ksandvik

          I see, maybe that’s why I could get $10 Thunderbolt cables at the local Frys just now.

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            The article is a little dated, but it speaks of Intel choosing to limit licensing to other OEMs to control profit margins. In past we’ve seen proprietary technologies that were far superior to anything else on the market fail due to this… Beta Max, Mini Disc (ATRAC format). Personally I’ve only seen 1 PC board with this technology and it was an ASUS.

          • ksandvik

            Me thinks why a technology succeeds or fails has mostly to do with customers, everyone knows why Beta Max failed and it had to do with eh…. certain kinds of videos available for VHS… There are plenty of examples of proprietary technologies that thrive and also industry standards that fail to take hold.

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            As I said, I have only seen 1 PC board that utilizes Thunderbolt… doesn’t this mean that Thunderbolt accessories are essentially just Mac add-ons then? It’s not like Apple is the majority of computing platforms out there. At that point Intel controlling the technology just means that they are keeping it out of most of the PC ecosystem. Hand me a UAD Apollo and I’ll look at it as a very nice and shiny paperweight. If they opened it up and made Thunderbolt a standard, that would be a different story. To be honest, I’m happy with my 2 x USB2.0 and 2 x USB 3.0.

          • ksandvik

            Still, seems UAD is happy with their Apollo line and it is selling, so this is really up to the consumers and not companies if a standard is accepted. Another example is an extremely proprietary connector format that is in the pockets of 700 million end users just now.