Thunderbolt 3 spec announced with support for USB-C connector, transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited June 2015
The next generation of the high-speed Thunderbolt specification was announced on Tuesday, ditching the legacy Mini DisplayPort connector for the new smaller, reversible USB-C standard, and offering transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps with high-end cables.




Thunderbolt 3 will be a "superset" for USB 3.1, which runs at 10Gbps. Using a standard USB-C cable, Thunderbolt 3 will offer transfer speeds of twice that, at 20Gbps.

Users who buy an active copper USB-C cable will gain access to 40Gbps transfer speeds with Thunderbolt 3. And optical cables supporting the new standard will offer that same speed over greater distances when they hit the market next year.

Because Thunderbolt 3 is compliant with the USB-C standard and USB 3.1 specification, the cabling will also simultaneously support DisplayPort 1.2, third-generation PCI Express, and power supply for recharging notebooks at up to 100 watts.




With a single active copper cable, Thunderbolt 3 will enable dual 4K monitor support simultaneously with 10-gigabit Ethernet networking.

Computers supporting the Thunderbolt 3 specification are expected to hit the market later this year. It's likely that it will require Intel's next-generation Skylake processors.

Apple was among the first to adopt the new USB-C connector with its all-new 12-inch MacBook, featuring a single USB-C port for both charging and connecting devices. USB-C is reversible, like Apple's proprietary Lightning connector, but the open standard is expected to be adopted by most forthcoming PCs and will not be limited to Apple hardware.


The USB-C connector on Apple's current MacBook. Future hardware will support Thunderbolt 3 in addition to USB 3.1.


With support for Thunderbolt 3, it's likely that USB-C ports will find their way onto Apple's MacBook Pro lineup with an accompanying Skylake upgrade. Apple recently upgraded its 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Force Touch trackpads, but those machines continue to feature legacy full-size USB connectors, and do not feature any smaller USB-C plugs.

Because the unified Thunderbolt 3 port standard won't arrive until later this year with new hardware, Apple's current sole USB-C machine, the 12-inch MacBook, will not support the new specification.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 98
    adrayvenadrayven Posts: 460member
    Macbook Pro 15" with 3-4 of these, I won't complain really.. maybe initially for a new Thunderbolt 3 Hub and other accessories but thats it...

    My issue with the Macbook wasn't the adoption of USB-C, just that it didn't have at least 2 ports.. That seemed silly to me.. If it'd had 2 ports, one each side... I'd of thought it was awesome..
  • Reply 2 of 98
    herbapouherbapou Posts: 2,221member
    Now everthing is in place for the line of 5k monitors / Tv's
  • Reply 3 of 98
    chiachia Posts: 696member
    A clever move by those behind Thunderbolt, making the USB versus Thunderbolt debate pointless.

    It will be a good way of simultaneously maintaining physical compatibility and differentiating high end machines: low end computers will ship with the slower ports or even legacy USB 3.0 ports; high end machines will have the advantages and faster throughput of Thunderbolt 3 but still be able to use the slower peripherals.

    Just how much of a hand did Apple have in creating Thunderbolt 3?
  • Reply 4 of 98
    lymflymf Posts: 65member
    The MacBook connectors limitation makes sense now! Clever Apple
  • Reply 5 of 98
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    lymf wrote: »
    The MacBook connectors limitation makes sense now! Clever Apple

    Not really!
  • Reply 6 of 98
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,700member
    lymf wrote: »
    The MacBook connectors limitation makes sense now! Clever Apple

    How so?
  • Reply 7 of 98
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,700member
    Because the unified Thunderbolt 3 port standard won't arrive until later this year with new hardware, Apple's current solo USB-C machine, the 12-inch MacBook, will not support the new specification.

    The main reasons the MacBook doesn't have Thunderbolt are:

    1. The controller is huge, relative to the size of the MacBook's motherboard
    2. The controller power consumption is also relatively huge (it has about the same power consumption as a MacBook does, in total - motherboard + screen + etc.)
  • Reply 8 of 98
    adamwadamw Posts: 114guest
    This is excellent news! Now we can have just about every standard supported over 1 very fast cable/connection!
  • Reply 9 of 98
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,752member
    chia wrote: »

    Just how much of a hand did Apple have in creating Thunderbolt 3?

    From what i understand they are major players on both USB and TB standards. Apple has always been heavily involved in the USB standard.

    The timing hereis real interesting so close to WWDC. Makes me expect something will be announced there with this support. New iMac possibly, maybe a new Mini.
  • Reply 10 of 98
    loekfloekf Posts: 36member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adamw View Post



    This is excellent news! Now we can have just about every standard supported over 1 very fast cable/connection!

     

    Maybe Apple can also skip Lighnting on iOS devices for type-C and include MHL (= "HDMI light").

     

    One connector to rule them all....

  • Reply 11 of 98
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,164member
    I assume any peripherals with this will attach to a current Thunderbolt port on a Mac with an adapter but limited to TB 2 speeds?
  • Reply 12 of 98
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,164member
    loekf wrote: »
    Maybe Apple can also skip Lighnting on iOS devices for type-C and include MHL (= "HDMI light").

    One connector to rule them all....

    That would make sense.

    I wonder if wireless technology can catch up (as it usually does) and one day, no connectors.
  • Reply 13 of 98
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,286member

    Now the ditching of MagSafe makes a little more sense. Connecting the dots backwards and all that...

  • Reply 14 of 98
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    mr. h wrote: »
    The main reasons the MacBook doesn't have Thunderbolt are:

    1. The controller is huge, relative to the size of the MacBook's motherboard
    2. The controller power consumption is also relatively huge (it has about the same power consumption as a MacBook does, in total - motherboard + screen + etc.)

    Plus the fact that the controller (Eagle Point?) is tied to Skylake.
  • Reply 15 of 98
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,700member
    Plus the fact that the controller (Eagle Point?) is tied to Skylake.

    I was referring to Thunderbolt in general, rather than version 3 specifically. It seems highly unlikely that the MacBook will get Thunderbolt at any point in the near (2 - 3 years) future. I think the best that can be hoped for in that timeframe is full USB3.1.
  • Reply 16 of 98
    jameskatt2jameskatt2 Posts: 714member
    Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Ports are the future.
  • Reply 17 of 98
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by loekf View Post

     

    One connector to rule them all....


     

    You beat me to it! :-)

     

    This is surely the most excited I've ever been about a port. (What does that say about me? Never mind...)

     

    One small clarification regarding this:

     

    Quote:

    Because Thunderbolt 3 is compliant with the USB-C standard and USB 3.1 specification, the cabling will also simultaneously support DisplayPort 1.2


     

    True, but the real news here (not mentioned in the article) is that TB3 adds support for DisplayPort 1.3 (32.4 Gbit/s, supporting up to 8k video @ 60Hz, or 4k 3D @ 60Hz) and HDMI 2.0 (4k @ 60Hz, HDR video, hi-rez audio).

  • Reply 18 of 98
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post





    I was referring to Thunderbolt in general, rather than version 3 specifically. It seems highly unlikely that the MacBook will get Thunderbolt at any point in the near (2 - 3 years) future. I think the best that can be hoped for in that timeframe is full USB3.1.



    Possible. The Alpine Ridge controller for TB3 claims a 50% power reduction, but even then there may not be the physical space on the board for some time, unless Intel could integrate it onto the Skylake CoreM die itself.

  • Reply 19 of 98
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,010member

    Please explain how this works:

    "Using a standard USB-C cable, Thunderbolt 3 will offer transfer speeds of twice that, at 20Gbps.



    Users who buy an active copper USB-C cable will gain access to 40Gbps transfer speeds with Thunderbolt 3."

     

    Please explain what an active copper USB-C cable is. Is it available today or is this also something new? You say TB3 is 20Gbps so how does a cable double that?

     

    Now we just need to get the cost of Thunderbolt hardware reduced so it doesn't cost as much as the entire computer.

  • Reply 20 of 98
    "And One Ring (Port) to rule them all, One Ring to find them, and in the darkness bind them..."
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