Difference Between Thunderbolt 4 Vs Thunderbolt 3

In this article, we discuss the main difference between Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3.

When shopping for a USB-C hub, you have almost come across the technology of thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is a hardware interface standard developed by Intel. Thunderbolt has first been introduced in 2011, and currently, it’s the fastest external data connection available on the market.

It has a transfer speed of 20 Gb/s and it’s capable to run two 4K monitors at 60 Hz. Thunderbolt is also bi-directional and it’s able to send and receive data, which means that it can be used for Thunderbolt storage.  

Some people do not know what a thunderbolt is? And they often asked the question, “What is a Thunderbolt”?

Don’t worry about the answer. We are here to help you. I hope after reading this article, you will come to know everything about a thunderbolt. So let’s go about the introduction of a Thunderbolt.

What Is a Thunderbolt?

Thunderbolt is a piece of hardware that is used to connect external devices to a PC or laptop. It has developed by the corporation of two companies. These companies’ name is “Apple” and “Intel”.

It was marketed under the name of light summit, and the first product was sold on 24 Feb 2011. Thunderbolt aimed to replace some preceding ports. It can transfer files, depository devices, transfer the videos and audio,
connect the monitors, and even it can charge.

The maximum transfer speed has grown from 10Gbps and its technology was generated in 2010. The Apple devices help the thunderbolt technology by the USB-C port, and its technology has been the part of Apple devices.

Now thunderbolt technology is in the 4th generation and it can be used with thunder CPUs lake and EVO policy of Intel’s on devices.

There are four versions of a thunderbolt. These are:

  • Thunderbolt 1 (its adapter is Mini Display Port)
  • Thunderbolt 2 (its adapter is Mini Display Port)
  • Thunderbolt 3 (its adapter in USB-C)
  • Thunderbolt 4 (its adapter in USB-C)

Maximum Length:
Copper (10 feet); Optic (200 feet)

  • Pin 1:    GND
  • Pin 2:    HPD
  • Pin 3:    HS0TX(P)
  • Pin 4:    HS0RX(P)

Thunderbolt is an input/output port that supports high intention and high data devices performance in a single dense port. The connector and cables of the Apple Thunderbolt are used with your effective Mac (Thunderbolt). The connector of thunderbolt is available in the following Mac computers:

  • Mac Book Pro (in 2011 through 2015).
  • Mac book air (in mid-2011 and later).
  • Mac mini also (in mid-2011 and later).
  • iMac also (in mid-2011 through 2015).
  • Mac Pro (2013 late).

People also asked a question: “What is the thunderbolt port used for”?

Thunderbolt gives the possibility to users to use a single wire to retrieve high-intention media and high-speed data using a single port with a wire that accesses PCI indicates and a Display port.

A decade of revolutions in thunderbolt

2010                  High-speed videos and data in a single adapter @ 10Gb/s, that can be merged.

2013                  Grow the speed up to @ 20Gb/s.

2015                  Combined data and high-speed video with its power in a USB-C connecter @ 40Gb/s.

2017                  Windows support for thunderbolt.

2019                  Thunderbolt 3 integrated with Ice lake. The specification contribution of the thunderbolt protocol is used in USB4 by Intel.

2020                  Thunderbolt 4 is integrated with Tiger Lake. USB4 testing is included in the certification of thunderbolt4. The complete version of USB-C is offered by thunderbolt4.

“The latest version of thunderbolt technology is thunderbolt 3 and thunderbolt 4”

What is Thunderbolt 3?

The Thunderbolt 3 connection speed is very fast as compared to the previous generation – USB 3.1 10Gbps, and Display Port 1.2. At the same time, it outputs videos and audio signals that can connect up to two 4K displays. And it also offers the speed of USB at up to 10Gbps.

Benefits of Thunderbolt 3

  • It has a physical connector.
  • It can allow you to establish the connection between two 4K Monitors.
  • Most laptops can charge devices.
  • Much powerful to establish the connection between devices.
  • Very nice Peer-to-Peer Networking.
  • It contains fast speed 4X.
  • USB-C connectors are much popular.

What is Thunderbolt 4?

Thunderbolt 4 is a better wire connection interface from Intel that can power your devices, transfer data, and display the source of video to an external monitor all at once with just one port. When it comes to speed, thunderbolt 4 has 40Gbps ports with bidirectional bandwidth.

Thunderbolt 4 is used for?

The technology of thunderbolt 4 can have high speed and its advantage is the power of your CPU to improve the data and performance of the video. Video capture and gaming docks with gaming setups solutions to record gameplay at the highest settings.

It allows you to connect a high-speed SSD to a thunderbolt 4 port to take your gaming library on the go. Another important question about thunderbolt 4 is:

Is Thunderbolt 4 the same as compared to USB-C?

Thunderbolt ports and USB-C ports are common, but they are not the same. Thunderbolt ports are completely compatible with USB-C devices and wires, but thunderbolt ports offer different features that stand out from USB-C ports.

Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3

  • Thunderbolt 3 can have only one Display as compared to Thunderbolt 4.
  • Thunderbolt 4 can have two Displays as compared to another thunderbolt.
  • The main contrast between thunderbolt 3 and 4 is speed.
  • Thunderbolt 4 executes a 4K Display at 120 Hz.
  • Both Thunderbolt 3 and 4 can have one universal port of a computer.
  • Just thunderbolt 4 has general 40Gbp/s wires up to 2 meters in length.
  • Both Thunderbolt 3 and 4 minimum speed in PC is 40Gbp/s.
  • Only thunderbolt 4 is required for PC charging at least one computer port. while thunderbolt 3 cannot require PC charging.            
  • Both Thunderbolt 3 and 4 have a minimum of 15W PC port power accessories.
  • Just thunderbolt 4 has Intel VT-d to build DMA conservation.
  • USB-4 specification is compliant with thunderbolt 4.
  • USB-4 specification is compatible with Thunderbolt 3.

Extension of Screen: Thunderbolt 4 supports 5K to a single monitor or 4K to dual monitors.

Charging: From a single port thunderbolt 4 can provide more than 100W charging.

Transfer of Data: Thunderbolt 4 data transfer speed is 32Gbps, While Thunderbolt 3 data transfer speed is 16Gbps.

In case of sleep mode: By using an external Mouse or Keyboard, thunderbolt 4 lets users wake up their laptops that are connected through Thunderbolt 4 port.

­­Protection: Thunderbolt 4 can always provide DMA protection. Its position on Intel VT-d DMA protection can physically stop attacks of Direct Memory Access (DMA). This level of protection is very likely overkill for normal users, it can stop spiteful devices from using DMA to take information from companies and users with high data confidence requirements.

Thunderbolt Comparison to USB


Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3 are two versions of the Thunderbolt interface, which are the high-speed data interface developed by intel corporation. the difference between Thunderbolt 4 vs Thunderbolt 3 is that thunderbolt 4 has a higher bandwidth which means that it transmits more data at one time.

Thunderbolt 4 is the newest in the Thunderbolt family and is the first purely optical connection. It is very similar to Thunderbolt 3 in that it has the same device compatibility, supports the same speeds and protocols, and can be used to support many of the same applications. This includes the ability to support 4K displays, external graphics processing, and external storage. The main differences between Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 are in their connection types and their supported speeds.

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More readings:
How to Connect Airpods to Laptop Windows 10?
How Long Does a Laptop Battery Last?
7 Exciting New Features Coming in Chromebook
Is a Graphics Card Necessary for Gaming?
How to Upgrade Processor on Laptop
Fahad, Mohammad.
Fahad, Mohammad.

Hi, I am Fahad, Mohammad. I am an Assistant Professor of Computer Science, a researcher, a die-heart entrepreneur, a blogger, and an affiliate marketer. I have many research articles published in reputed journals of the world. I also love to write about technology after my 20 years of experience in this field. I hope you will love this blog.
Don't forget to keep in touch with me through our contact us page, if you have any queries or suggestions.

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