What can you do with Thunderbolt 3? DIY in 5 Ep 75

ThunderBolt 3.0: what is it? What does it do? Why should you care? Thunderbolt was originally a hardware interface standard developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple. It was twice as fast as USB 3.0 at the time and could transfer both serial data to hard drives and peripherals as well as video data to displays. This is impressive because it combines PCI Express and DisplayPort into two serial signals, plus it provides power, all in one cable. On top of that, it can be daisy-chained: you can plug a hard drive into a computer and a monitor into a hard drive and it all works. The first two iterations used a Mini DisplayPort connector and were revolutionary for their times. The latest iteration, ThunderBolt 3.0 uses an even smaller USB-C connector, featured on the latest MacBook Pros, and has a bandwidth of 40Gbit/s, doubles the bandwidth of ThunderBolt 2.0, uses half the power, and can output two 4k displays at 60Hz, and transfer up to 100 watts of power.

As 4k becomes more prevalent and SSDs get faster and larger and laptops get thinner and smaller, legacy USB ports can’t keep up. If you want to set up two 4k displays with only one cable, access data on more than one external hard drive quickly and seamlessly, beef up your laptop graphics with an external GPU, connect to a friend’s PC using one cable and get a 10Gb Ethernet connection between the two or do any of those things plus charge your laptop, it can only be done with ThunderBolt 3.0.

Just a few years ago technology like external GPUs, micro-thin laptops and ultrabooks, docking laptops or even VR headsets with a single cable capable of delivering multiple high res video channels and power was not possible. Thunderbolt 3 can make all of these things possible.

So where can you find this amazing new tech? If you see a tiny lightning bolt logo, you can be sure that the port or cable in question supports ThunderBolt 3. These logos aren’t required, so sometimes you may get a pleasant surprise, but usually this is a solid indicator. Where do you think ThunderBolt tech will take us next? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.

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About The Author
- Kingston is the world's largest independent manufacturer of memory and flash products. Globally headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, Kingston serves an international network of distributors, resellers, retailers and OEM customers on six continents. The company also provides contract manufacturing and supply chain management services for semiconductor manufacturers and system OEMs.

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