Intel has unveiled the next generation of Thunderbolt technology, enabling data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. That means Thunderbolt 3 is twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2.
It also uses the same reversible USB-C connector as, well, other USB cables.
That means that if you’ve got a device with a USB Type-C port that supports Thunderbolt, you get faster speeds. If the device just supports the standard USB 3.1 protocol, speeds top out at 10 Gbps. That’s still pretty fast… but not as fast as Thunderbolt 3.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to buy different cables for everything. It looks like USB-C is well on its way to becoming a widely adopted standard.
Not only can you connect external storage and peripheral devices like printers, mice, and optical disc drives with a USB Type-C connector. You can also connect displays or a power source.
Thunderbolt 3 takes things a step further, letting you connect a computer to two 4K displays, for example. If your laptop needs up to 100 watts of power, the Thunderbolt 3 cable will also be able to act as your power cable.
Thunderbolt networking also lets you connect the same cable to two devices to create a quick peer-to-peer connection for transferring data at up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet speeds.