USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3: One port to connect them all

Close the main features of USB type-C you should know drag


Updated on August 19:. Added the latest information about USB-C and Thunderbolt 3


Look around your house and chances are you at least a few devices that use Universal Serial Bus (USB). On average, approximately 3 billion USB ports are delivered each year, by far the most successful peripheral connection type to make.


In fact, the device manufacturers are so confident in USB-C, the Intel last year announced that Thunderbolt 3 (once thought to be a USB replacement) would use the same port type as USB-C. That means every Thunderbolt 3 port can also function as a USB C port and any Thunderbolt 3 cable as a USB-C cable.


Before you can fully appreciate what a leap forward both USB Type C and Thunderbolt 3 are, let’s make them with USB type-A, USB type-B and the different versions of the Thunderbolt standard.




Before 3 to Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2 and the original Thunderbolt shared the same cable type and port (which is the same port type as that of Apple Mini DisplayPort) and top data transfer speeds of 20 Gbps and 10 Gbps. With these older thunderbolt standards, the cable was active, which means the cable itself would need a device that requires power to operate any Thunderbolt 1 or 2 device would require external power to operate. This made thunderbolt a much more expensive solution, as the cable itself is about 10 times more expensive than a USB cable of the same length.


Thunderbolt Revisions


Here’s how Thunderbolt 3 differs from its predecessors:


The connection mini display type has been ditched in favor of a USB-C connection
All cable Thunderbolt 3 will work as a USB C cable.
All USB C cables will work as long as Thunderbolt 3 cables, as they are good quality cables.
Thunderbolt 3 has a top data transfer speed of 40Gbps as long as the cable. 5m (1.6 ft) or shorter.
For 1m (3.2 ft) or longer cable, Thunderbolt 3 passively supports (cheaper) those who have a top speed of 20 Gbps and active cables (more expensive) that retain the 40Gbps speed.
Thunderbolt 3 is backward compatible with earlier versions of Thunderbolt, but due to the new port type, adapters are required to use legacy Thunderbolt devices.
All USB C device (like a Nexus 6P phone) connected to a Thunderbolt 3 port will work normally.
Since Thunderbolt 3 devices will operate discrete Thunderbolt chips, they will not work if they are plugged into a USB C port.
All versions of Thunderbolt allow Daisy to six device concatenation together and in addition to the data can also wear Hi-def video and audio signals.




In the USB world, things have been a little more complicated because it has been called Thunderbolt more versions and types. In general, the models refer to the speed and functionality of the USB cable, while the USB type refers to the physical form and wiring of the connectors and connectors. Let’s start with the USB type.


For mostly type-a-ends (left of the coin) the USB cable stays the same over existing USB versions. Dong NGO/CNET USB Type-A


Also known as USB standard A, USB type-A is the original design for the USB standard and uses a flat rectangular shape.


On a typical USB cable the type a connector, also known as the A-plug, is the end that goes into a host, like a computer. And on a host, the USB port (or container) where the type a plug goes in, is called an A jack. Type a ports are mostly in host devices, including desktop computers, laptops, game consoles, media players and so on. There are very few peripheral devices that use a type a port.


Various USB versions including USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 (more versions below) currently have the same USB type a design. This means that a type-a port is always compatible with a type-a-event port if the device and host use other USB versions. For example, a USB 3.0 external hard drive also works with a USB 2.0 port and vice versa.
Type-a USB port for USB 3.0 (blue) and USB 2.0 on the back of a computer. Dong NGO/CNET
Similarly small devices such as mouse, keyboard or network adapters that always have hardwired USB cables use Type a connectors. This also applies to devices without cables, such as a USB stick.
USB 3.0 The ports and ports have more pins than USB 2.0. This is to deliver faster speed and higher performance. However, these pens are organized in such that they do not prevent physically working with the older version.
Also note that there are small type-a connectors and connectors, including mini-type-A and micro type-A, but there are very few devices that use these designs.
Popular USB Type-B: from links standard-B, mini-B, micro-B micro-B USB 3.0, and standard-B USB 3.0. Dong NGO/CNET USB-type-B
Typically the Type B connector is the other end of a standard USB cable that is plugged into the peripheral device (such as a printer, a phone, or an external hard drive). It is also known as type B-male. The peripheral device is called the B-female USB port.
Because the peripheral devices vary a great deal in shape and size, the type B connectors and its respective port also come in many different designs. So far there have been five popular designs for the USB Type B Plug and connectors. And since the type a end of the USB cable remains the same, the type B end is used to determine the name of the cable itself. (Wikipedia has a large USB plug matching matrix you can consult.)
The original standard (Standard B): This design was first used for USB 1.1 and is also in USB 2.0. It is mainly for large connection of peripheral devices such as printers or scanners to a computer
Mini-USB (or mini-B USB):. Significantly smaller, mini-USB, type B ports are found in older portable devices, such as digital cameras, smartphones and older portable drives. This design is now almost obsolete
Micro-USB (or micro-B USB):. Slightly smaller than mini-USB, the micro-USB Type B connector is currently being replaced by USB-C as the charging and data port for the latest smartphones and tablets
Micro-USB 3.0 (or micro-B USB 3.0). This is the largest design and especially used for USB 3.0 portable drives. Most of the time, the type a end of the cable is blue
Standard B USB 3.0. This design is very similar to the standard B, but it is designed to handle USB 3.0 speed. Most of the time, both ends of the cable are blue.
Note that there is also another, less popular, USB 3.0 powered-B Plug and socket. This design has two additional pins to supply additional power to the peripheral device. Also, there is a relatively rare micro type-AB port that allows the device to work on either a host or a peripheral device.
A some proprietary USB cables for Samsung and Apple devices. Dong NGO/CNET Proprietary USB
Not all devices use the standard USB cable mentioned above. Instead, use some of them to create your own design at the point of type B Plug and socket. The best known examples of these devices are the iphone and the ipad, where either a 30-pin or flash port takes place of type-B end. The type a end is still the default size.
USB versions
USB 1.1: Released in August 1998 this is the first USB version to be widely adopted (the original version 1.0 never in consumer products). It has a maximum speed of 12 Mbps (although in many cases it only performs at 1.2 Mbps). It is largely outdated
USB 2.0. Released in April 2000, it has a maximum speed of 480 Mbps in hi-speed mode or 12 Mbps in full-speed mode. It currently has the maximum power put of 5 V, 1.8 A and is backward compatible with USB 1.1
USB 3.0 released in November 2008, USB 3.0 has the maximum speed of 5 Gbps in Super speed mode. A USB 3.0 port (and plug) is usually colored blue. USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and its port can deliver up to 5v, 1, 8a power. This is ever sometimes called USB 3.1 Gen 1
USB 3.1 (sometimes referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 2.). Published in 26. July 2013, USB 3.1 doubles the speed of USB 3.0 to 10Gbps (now called Super + or Super Speed USB 10 Gbps) to make it as fast as the original Thunderbolt standard. USB 3.1 is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. USB 3.1 has three power profiles (according to the USB specification power delivery) and allows for greater device performance to be pulled from a host: up to 2 A at 5 V (with a power consumption of up to 10 W) and, if necessary, up to 5a for either 12v (60w) or 20v (100w). The first USB 3.1 products are expected to be available at the end of 2016 and will mostly use USB Type C design.
A compatible type C USB cable from Aukey that has a type a end. Dong NGO/CNET USB Type-C (or USB-C)
Physically the Type C connector and connector is about the same size as that of the micro-B USB mentioned above. A type C port measures only 8.4 mm from 2.6 mm. This means that it is small enough to work for the smallest peripheral devices as well. With type-C, both a USB cable ends are the same, so for reversible connector orientation. You also don’t need to worry about plugging in the head as it will work in both directions.
Since 2015, USB-C has been widely adapted and used in many smartphones and tablets. Many new storage devices also use USB C port instead of a USB B port. Almost all devices that use USB 3.1 port USB-C. USB 3.1 has the maximum speed of 10 Gbps and can deliver the power of up to 20v (100w) and 5a. If you are looking at most 15-inch notebook computers only require around 60 w of power, this means in the future laptop computers can be the way tablets and smartphones are now loaded, via their small USB port. In fact, Apple has been making its new MacBook, which has only one USB C port as the only peripheral and power connector.
Type-C USB also allows a bidirectional current, so that apart from the peripheral charger, if applicable, a peripheral device could also load a host device. All this means that you can do away with a number of proprietary power adapters and USB cables, and move to a single rugged and small solution that works for all devices. Type-C-USB is significantly currently cut a lot of wires required to make devices work
This is the first time adapters with USB are required, and probably the only time, at least for the foreseeable future. USB Implementers Forum, the group responsible for the development of USB says that type-C-USB is designed to be future-proof, the design sense for future and faster USB versions will be used.
It will take as popular as the current type-A on the host side a few years more for type-C, but if it does, it will simplify the way we work with devices. In fact, Intel is also working on a USB audio standard that could make the 3.5 mm audio jack superfluous. And with the addition of Thunderbolt 3 now being the super set of USB-C to be, finally, we just have one kind of connection and cable all the peripherals together and connect to one computer. It is predicted that thanks to support for USB-C, the adoption of Thunderbolt 3 will stand out, which was the case with earlier versions of Thunderbolt.

The Thunderbolt 3 connector will be identical to the USB-C

USB-C is the standard that Apple and Google have for some time decided to adopt, followed to rotate by other players in the industry. Intel also recognizes the importance of the USB-C and the Thunderbolt 3 will be compatible at the connector level, and USB-C peripherals and devices will be connected to the next-generation thunderbolt.


It will obviously not only USB-C compatibility and connector type the only novelty of Thunderbolt 3, but very interesting is the manageable throughput: Ben 40Gbps (using devices and specific devices of the next generation). For the first time a single cable provides quadruple bandwidth for data and double for video compared to any other cable, also providing power. It is an unparalleled solution for new uses, such as 4k video, dock with a single cable and charging, external graphics and integrated 10 GbE networking.


Thunderbolt 2 devices will be usable using adapters. The only way to recognize a Thunderbolt device from a USB-C device will be the logo on the connection cable.


The first products with Thunderbolt according to Intel will arrive before the end of the year to spread more massively in the 2016. Do you deserve Thunderbolt at last the attention it deserves? Or maybe USB-C has already ready the nails for the coffin of the new standard?


Regarding USB-C an interesting announcement arrives from Analogix Semiconductor: This manufacturer has announced the availability of its family of ANX74xx products with Integrtia all the elements needed to implement the new standard, a single chip contains a controller with cable configuration, a controller and port handler, a high-speed switch for USB 3 and DisplayPort.

Apple Rebates for Accessories USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 and monitor 5k and 4k LG

Perhaps to respond to the controversy of those who complain about the need to use adapters and cables to connect old-generation devices to the new MacBook Pro, Apple lowers the prices of Thunderbolt cables and devices until December 31st.


With a surprise move, probably dictated by the wave of users who have complained about the need to buy USB-C/Thunderbolt adapters to be used in conjunction with the new MacBook Pro, Apple – to alleviate the moods – has decided to cut the prices of cables and devices USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. Discounts range from 20% to 40% and relate to various cables and accessories, including those of third parties.


TechCrunch explains that discounts will last until December 31st; An Apple spokesperson explained that discounts is the result of the awareness that many users face a difficult transition from what happened with the various ports in the previous MacBook Pro. “We’re excited about the new MacBook Pro, the best laptop we’ve ever produced. It has the CPU, graphics, memory, storage and I/O ports faster, the best display, the innovative Touch Bar and more. ” “The MacBook Pro uses the industry’s most advanced standard connector available on the market, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, to ensure maximum performance, espandivbilità and compatibility.”


“We realize that many users, especially professionals, rely on connectors inherited from the past to complete the work today and have to face a transition.” “We want to help them move towards the latest technologies and peripherals, as well as accelerate the growth of this new ecosystem.” “Until the end of the year, we would reduce the prices of all USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices we sell, as well as the prices of USB-C cables and adapters.”


In addition to cables and adapters, Apple has also lowered the price of the new LG UltraFine 5k and 4k monitors in the display section. The 5k display is currently proposed at €1049 (but this product is not yet available for order); The 4k is now proposed at €561. For the 5k monitor the availability is indicated in December; 4k is shown as available in 5-6 weeks.


Apple’s choice of integrating only Thunderbolt 3 ports on the new MacBook Pro has not been appreciated. For the connection of devices of old generation are necessary adapters and various dongles, the one that someone has already renamed “Donglepocalypse”. Photographers, graphics, video professionals live daily with technologies of all kinds and can not from today to tomorrow, abandon completely many devices. There are USB-C/Thunderbolt adapters of all kinds but before you spread new technologies, the user will be obliged to carry behind bags with various cables and adapters to connect printers, memory card readers, monitors, scanners, camcorders, etc.

USB Type-C ready to retired the old audio jack

USB Implementers Forum has released the official specifications of the new standard for transmitting digital audio signals via the USB Type-C Port
Not just iPhone7. Thanks to the new technical specifications of the USB type-C also the other manufacturers will be able to get rid of the old 3.5 mm jack and, as a result, reduce the thickness of the devices and save on consumption in general, as well as improve the quality of the sound that from analog becomes digital.


The survival of the traditional audio jack already had the days counted since Apple had decided to replace it, in the now far 2012, with the Lightning connector. A choice criticized by many because it obliged users to use earphones compatible only with the products of the company of Cupertino. Unlike Motorola which, instead, had anticipated the times already relying on the new standard USB Type-C on some models of smartphones. Soon, then, we will see on board a series of devices from smartphones (and similar) to headphones, from video game consoles to virtual reality solutions.


The many advantages of USB type-C


Many people eagerly welcome the arrival of the official specifications of the USB Audio Device Class 3.0. The benefits, as Intel explains, are remarkable. The goodbye to the old audio Jack allows, first of all, to simplify the internal architecture of the devices, eliminating all analog components and the digital analog Converter (DAC) converters, i.e. digital-to-analog converter. The USB Audio Device Class 3.0 specification provides for the use of a Multi-function processing Unit (MPU) chip that enables audio synchronization, digital-to-analog conversion, and noise cancellation in addition to other functions that are no less important. The USB Type-C, in practice, allows you to transfer both digital and analog audio signals. Also, compared to the 3.5 mm jack, the new connector not only reduces power consumption, but introduces very advanced functions such as voice recognition, for example.

Discover the QacQoc GN28A USB Type-C hub for Apple MacBook Pro


If you own a latest generation MacBook Pro, I mean by that in its 13th or 15th version released from 2016 and you are looking to extend my capacity to it, I have what you need!

Indeed thanks to our partner QacQoc, we will make you discover through this article a USB hub type-C multi-function, the QacQoc GN28A.

Testing the multifunctional type-C hub QacQoc gn28a
General Features

9.6 x 29 x 8 mm
Weight of 23 grams
2 male USB-C ports
2 Female USB-C ports
2 USB 3.1 ports
1 SD card Reader
1 Micro-SD card reader
Compatible with Apple MacBook Pro version 2016 in version 13 and 15


First of all it is good to know that QacQoc is a professional USB accessory manufacturer which is considered one of the leading manufacturers specialized in the field of USB accessories.

QacQoc just unveiled a few weeks ago a new USB hub type C the GN28A which is exclusively designed for MacBook Pro 2016.
I would stress that only the two 13 “and 15” models are compatible, allowing you to add multiple connectivity options by connecting to the two USB-C ports on your MacBook Pro.

When unpacking you will find in the box the following items:

The Hub
A Multilingual User manual but which I think is useless view the ease of use
A small pouch of brown leather storage which is really very valuable
The finish of the product is excellent, we find a brushed aluminum surface that is the image of Apple products and especially assorted colors that are silver and gray.
This hub is also happening everywhere because very compact and lightweight, it does not measure less than 10 centimeters cm long for 3 cm wide and 0.8 cm in height if I may say so.
Weight side you have to count less than 25 grams that is really not much.

To operate you simply need to insert the GN28A in the two USB-C port of your MacBook Pro and you will have to dispose:

2 USB-C port including SuperSpeed at speeds up to 40 Gbps
1 Micro SD port and 1 SD port (supporting SD/SDHC/SDXC/SD 3.0 UHS-1 cards up to 2 TB)
2 USB 3.0 ports (allowing to connect USB key, hard drive, phone … with transfer speed up to 5 Gbps).
We can see right away that we have quality because the hub is positioned in the millimeter near the MacBook Pro and is an integral part of the apple landscape.

Mac Pro 2016, “Beast” with 10 USB ports Type C and Thunderbolt 3?



The new Mac Pro 2016 updated could be a monster not only of computing power but also of connectivity. Clues point to the presence of Ben 10 Thunderbolt 3-compatible USB Type C ports


Apple rarely updates the Mac Pro range, but when it happens it introduces consistent news. For the expected Mac Pro 2016, an updated and improved version of the professional workstation now in the list, there emerge clues that point to the presence of Ben 10 USB connection ports type-C. Recall that the first references to a non-existent (for now) Mac Pro 7.1 have been identified within the code of OS X El Capitan: The same part of the code shows the presence of 10 USB Type-C ports, the same reversible and multifunction format used by Apple for the first time in the MacBook 12 “.


In the current Mac Pro on the back there are six Thunderbolt 2 ports and four USB 3 ports, so the mystery of the 10 USB type-C ports, detected by CONSOMAC, is intriguing observers and enthusiasts. This reference is a clue to support that the machine indicated is a new Mac Pro, no other Apple computer could integrate such a large number of ports. On why Cupertino engineers have opted for such a high number of connections it is necessary to keep in mind the current configuration and the incoming technologies. In fact, the USB type-C connectors can also be used to manage the new Thunderbolt 3 with data transfer rates that reach up to 40 gigabits per second.


So instead of continuing to keep the USB ports separate from those thunderbolts as it did so far, in the new Mac Pro the two technologies could be merged together, even if the use will be different to the user. For example, to connect external disks and 4k or 5k monitors, you will only need to use the USB type-C ports ready for Thunderbolt 3, and for other external USB devices, you have more choices. In fact in the new Mac Pro 2016 we could still find 4 USB ports only (Type-c) while the other 6 ports always type-C could handle Thunderbolt devices.


Finally, with regard to the processor, Apple may use the Intel Xeon E5 v3 Grantley code name with Haswell architecture in the Mac Pro 2016, already in circulation for one year and used by all other PC builders, or skip this generation to wait for the new Xeon E5 V4 version coming into the 2016, based on Broadwell architecture and built with 14 nanometer process.