Computer and Accessories

Computex: Thunderbolt 3 protocol adopts USB type C ports

Intel announces that the Thunderbolt 3 hardware interface, a new communication protocol that promises to double the transfer speeds of the previous version, will use a reversible USB type C connector.

Thunderbolt 3 can transfer data at a speed of 40 Gigabit / s. It can be used to connect computers to external storage devices (20 Gigabit / s if the cable is not powered), monitors (protocol supports DisplayPort 1.2 ports in 4k and 8k), audio speakers, or Network cards (10 Gigabit Ethernet). It is even expected that this technology supports power supply up to 100 watts of power.

Concretely, a USB port type C equipped with Thunderbird 3 protocol will be able to transport electricity, data, audio and video streams. Its presence will be signaled to the user by a logo in the form of flash, stamped on the connectors of the cables and the machines.

The USB Type C, introduced to the market in August 2014, is different from previous versions of USB. It is reversible on the one hand, but also finer. An advantage to equip ultra portable computers for example. The protocol previously associated with this port proposes a rate of 10 Gigabit / s. And for now, the machines equipped with this port are counted on the fingers with one hand.

On the Thunderbolt side, the small revolution is the abandonment of the proprietary connector that fitted versions 1 and 2. The adoption of the USB opens up to its promoters a market much more important than hitherto. The competition is no longer focused on the competition of physical ports, but on the performance of the protocols that will be associated with each machine. And here, the price war can take place with even more transparency. For now, the Tunderbold chipset is even more expensive than the USB chipset.

The first portable PCs with ports that support the Thunderbolt 3 transfer protocol are expected by the end of the year. This convergence could allow Intel to impose its protocol on the manufacturers whereas so far this was not the case. The USB transfer protocol held the top of the block.