Difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt 3

Published on 04 maart 2020

USB-C and Thunderbolt 3

In 2015, two new connectors were introduced USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.
At first glance, these two connections seem the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are happy to explain the difference and what exactly you can do with it!

What is USB-C?

USB-C is a multifunctional connection option for connecting devices to exchange data and / or video signals. With USB-C you can connect all kinds of peripherals such as an external HD, SSD drive, printer or screen. You do this by means of a cable with a USB-C connector.

USB-C is made for universal use, provided you use the correct USB-C cable and / or adapter. Depending on what kind of device you want to connect, choose the cable with the correct connectors. For example, there is always a USB-C connector on at least one side of the cable, which you connect to your SKIKK computer. For example, a regular USB-A connector or a USB-C connector can be on the other side of the cable. You can also connect USB-C adapters with, for example, a DisplayPort, HDMI or VGA connection on the other side. This way you can connect multiple types of displays to your SKIKK computer.

In addition, you can easily charge devices via the USB-C connection. This is also extra fast when the device supports fast charging via the USB Power Delivery protocol (USB PD). The condition is that you use a power adapter and USB-C cable that both support USB PD. Currently mainly mobile phones support this.

What can you do with USB-C on SKIKK computers?

If you use the correct USB-C cable and / or adapter, you can connect various peripherals to your SKIKK. You can also easily connect various cables or a hub to, for example, connect your external HD or SSD drive, SD card, Ethernet cable, HDMI display and USB-A, Micro-B and Mini-B equipment. your personal SKIKK computer.

Extra special is that USB-C supports the video signals of 4K and 5K displays1, so that your work really splashes off the screen. In addition, it is possible to connect displays with different types of connector with the correct cable and / or adapter, such as (Mini) DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA displays.

What is Thunderbolt 3?

Thunderbolt 3 is - just like USB or DisplayPort - a protocol to allow devices to exchange data or video signals with each other at a very high speed. Thunderbolt 3 can be used with cables and devices with a USB-C connector (note the Thunderbolt 3 symbol). This technology is used to transfer data, video and audio signals at a speed of up to 40Gbps. That is no less than four times faster than when you do this with the USB 3.1 protocol, or even 80 times faster than USB 2.0! Transferring very large files, such as movies with 4K resolution, becomes child's play. Where with USB you sometimes had to wait more than 10 minutes, with Thunderbolt 3 this is a matter of less than a minute.

Via a Thunderbolt 3 cable you can connect peripherals such as external HDs and SSD drives, printers and 4K and / or 5K displays to your SKIKK. You can also connect other devices to your SKIKK. You do this by means of a Thunderbolt 3 cable (it always has a USB-C connection), which you can recognize by the lightning bolt depicted on it. Thunderbolt 3 is also suitable for universal use, provided you use the correct cables and / or adapters.

Note: Although the Thunderbolt 3 cable looks - except for the lightning bolt - the same as a standard USB-C cable without Thunderbolt 3 support, it can only be connected to Thunderbolt 3 devices. A Thunderbolt 3 cable can therefore not be connected to USB-C equipment without Thunderbolt 3. For example, the SKIKK Green 14 and SKIKK Green 15 , unlike SKIKK Air 2 , do not have Thunderbolt 3, but a standard USB-C connection.

Difference between Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C

Thunderbolt 3 is a data transfer protocol; USB-C is the name for the connector of the cable and the device. A Thunderbolt 3 cable or device always has at least one USB-C connector, but a USB-C cable or device does not always support the Thunderbolt 3 protocol. It just depends on which protocols are supported by the USB-C cable and the USB-C device. This can be, for example, only USB, but also at the same time DisplayPort (connecting displays) and / or the USB Power Delivery protocol (fast charging).

USB support in USB-C cables
Please note that it may differ per USB-C cable which type of USB is supported. For example, a USB-C cable can only support USB 2.0 (up to 480Mbps), where another cable, for example, supports USB 3.1 which makes it up to 20 times faster than a USB-C cable with only USB 2.0. Devices with a USB 3.1 connection can be used with a USB 2.0 or 3.0 cable, but with the maximum speed of the cable used.

What can you do with Thunderbolt 3?

If you use the correct cable and / or adapter, you can connect various peripherals to your SKIKK with Thunderbolt 3, such as the SKIKK Air 2.. With the help of an external SSD drive with Thunderbolt 3 connection, carry up to 40 Gigabit (= 5 GB) per second to and from your SKIKK. For example, it takes less than one minute to transfer 14 hours of HD video, 25,000 photos or 10,000 music tracks.

In addition, it is possible to easily connect multiple screens to your SKIKK at the same time to create a fantastic workstation and charge your other devices in no time. You also connect your peripherals with USB-A, Micro-B and Mini-B using the correct USB-C cable.

How do you recognize a Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C cable and port?

So a Thunderbolt 3 cable has the same connector as a standard USB-C cable, but the Thunderbolt 3 cable has a lightning bolt on the connector. There is also a lightning bolt next to the Thunderbolt 3 input (port).

I would like to connect more USB-C or Thunderbolt devices than I have available in ports, now what?

For this you can purchase Docking stations, which turn 1 port, multiple ports and connections. You can find all docking stations for SKIKK computers on our website under "Accessories"

1. Support depends on the type of SKIKK computer. Some SKIKK computers allow simultaneous connection of two 4K displays or a 5K display, whereas on other models this is only one 4K display and there is no support for a 5K display. Check the specifications on our product pages for compatibility and / or contact our customer service.