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Thunderbolt 2 vs 3 | Difference between Thunderbolt 2 and 3

This page compares Thunderbolt 2 vs 3 and mentions difference between Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3.

What is Thunderbolt ?

The Thunderbolt technology is transformational high speed, dual core I/O protocol which offers excellent performance over current I/O technologies available in market with 10 Gbps bi-directional speed. It supersedes Firewire interface.

What is Thunderbolt?

It supports both data and video on single cable connection (with dual protocol viz. PCI express and DisplayPort) which can daisy chain upto 6 devices. Due to thunderbolt technology, it has become possible to connect laptops over single cable to high performance storage, display and multimedia devices. It is compatible with existing DisplayPort devices. It uses native PCIe and DisplayPort Protocol software drivers. It supports power over cable for bus powered devices.

Thunderbolt 2 vs 3

There are different types of thunderbolt viz. Thunderbolt 1, Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3. Thunderbolt -1 supports 10 Gbps bi-directional and dual channel data transfer. Thunderbolt-2 and Thunderbolt-3 supports 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps respectively.

Thunderbolt 2

Thunderbolt 2

Following are the features of Thunderbolt 2 interface type:
• Thunderbolt 2 is introduced in the year 2013.
• Thunderbolt 2 uses MDP (Mini DisplayPort) connector.
• Thunderbolt 2 supports bit rate of 20 Gbps.
• It uses protocol 4 x PCI express 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2.

Thunderbolt 3

This Thunderbolt version uses USB-C format and hence ordinary USB-C cables can be used by Thunderbolt 3. It brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at the speed of 40 Gbps. On single cable, it offers four times data, twice video bandwidth compare to other cables and supplies more power. Thunderbolt 3 offers best USB-C with more speed and more pixels.

Thunderbolt 3

It supports following features.
• Bi-directional, dual protocol (i.e. PCI Express and DisplayPort)
• 4 lanes PCI Express Gen 3
• 8 Lanes DisplayPort 1.2
• Supports two numbers of 4K displays
• Power (Based on USB delivery) : up to 100 W system charging, 15 W to bus powered devices

Thunderbolt 2 vs 3 | Difference between Thunderbolt 2 and 3

Following table compares Thunderbolt 2 vs 3 and mentions difference between Thunderbolt 2 and 3 types.

Features Thunderbolt 2 Thunderbolt 3
Connector used Mini DisplayPort USB-C
Data rate 20 Gbps 40 Gbps
Protocol 4 x PCI Express 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2 4 x PCI Express 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI-2, USB 3.1 Gen2
Channels Two bi-directional 10 Gbps channels Two bi-directional 20 Gbps channels
Backward compatibility with USB-C Not supported Supported, It is backward compatible with USB-C signaling and power delivery.
Cable length Copper cables support length of 3 metres where as fiber optical cables support up to 100 meters

Thunderbolt 4 Interface

Thunderbolt 4

Refer new Thunderbolt 4 features and difference between Thunderbolt 4 vs 3 >>.

Refer advantages and disadvantages of Thunderbolt-4 interface>>.

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