10 Important Difference Between Thunderbolt 3 And USB C (Tabular Form)

Difference Between Thunderbolt 3 And USB C
What is the difference between Thunderbolt 3 And USB C?

Different types of wiring and connections are available nowadays, and anyone can get confused. Among them, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are the most popular.

Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are difficult to differentiate because of their identically designed cables and connectors.

Thunderbolt and USB are communication standards or protocols that allow a computer to communicate with peripherals, while USB-C is a type of connection that allows the peripheral to get connected to the host.

Integration of USB C in Thunderbolt 3 offers consumers a universal port.  Now the consumers from around the world can use the internal capability of the thunderbolt 3 with USB C as the connection type.

What Is USB C?

USB is an industry-standard connection type for transmitting data and power on a single cable. USB refers to the connectivity standard viz. USB 1.0, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0, while USB Type C or USB C refers to the shape and design of the cable and port.

The various types of USB include USB Type-A, USB Type-B, and now USB Type-C (USB-C).

It can connect whatever the orientation of the connector or ports. It can deliver a power of 100 watts to charge devices such as cell phones, laptops, and tablets.

USB C is universally known as USB 3.1, and as for the definition, it is capable of transmitting data at the rate of 10Gbps.

What Is Thunderbolt 3?

Thunderbolt 3 is an Intel-developed new communication standard that succeeds Thunderbolt 2. It is the quickest and powerful version of communication protocol currently available.

Thunderbolt 3 takes it a step further by boasting a 40Gbps data transfer rate, which is thrilling in every way.

Not only Thunderbolt 3 connector can speed up data transfers when compared to a standard USB-C port, but it can also unlock extra features such as connecting external monitors and expansion docks.

It can support 4K and 5K resolutions, video, and audio output.

Difference Between Thunderbolt 3 And USB C : Thunderbolt 3 VS USB C

USB CVSThunderbolt 3
It refers to the shape and design of the port.MeaningIt refers to the connectivity standard.
USB logo on the USB cableLogoLightening bolt logo on the thunderbolt 3 cables
10 Gbps (USB 3.1)
20 Gbps (USB 3.2)
Data throughput40 Gbps
Low in terms of speed and video quality.PerformanceHigh in terms of speed and video quality.
Two 4K display or one 5K display.Video supportOne 4K display
USB Implementors Forums (USB-IF)Design ByIntel 
2014Developed In2011
USB C lacks the functionality of thunderbolt 3.CompatibilityThunderbolt 3 has all the functionality of USB C.
Backward compatible with USB C.
100 wattsPower100 watts

Is Thunderbolt 3 better than USB C?

USB C provides speeds ranging from 480 Mbps (USB 2.0) to 20 gigabits per second (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), but with Thunderbolt 3 blazing speed of 40 Gbps can be achieved.

Thunderbolt 3 can handle two 4K monitors at 60 frames per second, but USB C must have “DisplayPort Alternate Mode” capability to support an external screen.

PCIe devices such as external GPUs and fast external hard drives are compatible with Thunderbolt 3. These devices are just not compatible with USB-C.

Can a Thunderbolt 3 cable work on a standard USB-C port?

Thunderbolt 3 cables can work on standard USB-C ports, but you will not get the speed that thunderbolt 3 delivers. Also, all USB-C cables, as long as they are of good quality, will work as Thunderbolt 3 cables.


In conclusion, we can say that the main difference between Thunderbolt 3 and USB C is that the USB C refers to the shape and design of the port while thunderbolt 3 refers to connectivity standards. The only thing people have confused about is the identical shape and designs of ports and connectors.

USB C (USB 3.1) can deliver a maximum speed of 10 Gbps, while thunderbolt 3 offers a mind-boggling throughput of 40 Gbps. Integration of USB C in Thunderbolt 3 provides consumers a universal port.

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