Intel Announces Thunderbolt 3 With USB-C, Single-Cable Support for Dual 4K Displays at 60Hz

Intel today at Computex 2015 unveiled Thunderbolt 3 with a USB Type-C connector, instead of Mini DisplayPort, and support for USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2 and PCI Express 3.0, as outlined by Ars Technica. The new spec's Thunderbolt transport layer provides up to 40Gbps throughput, double the max bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2, alongside an optional 100 watts of power for charging devices in accordance with the USB Power Delivery spec, or 15 watts of power without USB PD.

"Thunderbolt 3 is backed by Intel's new Alpine Ridge controller. USB 3.1 support is provided by integrating a USB 3.1 host controller into Alpine Ridge. There will be two flavours of the controller, one that uses four PCIe 3.0 lanes to drive two Thunderbolt ports, and another version that only uses two PCIe lanes connected to a single Thunderbolt port."

Intel Presentation Template Overview
Thunderbolt 3 is capable of driving up to two 4K external displays at 60Hz or a single 5K display at 60Hz running off a single cable. Dell and other manufacturers currently use a dual-cable solution for most 4K and 5K external displays, since the current DisplayPort/Thunderbolt spec does not provide enough bandwidth to drive the high-resolution monitors. Thunderbolt 3 also supports more protocols than any other I/O controller, making it compatible with virtually any dock, device or display.

Intel expects initial products with Thunderbolt 3 to start shipping before the end of this year, and ramp up in 2016. Thunderbolt 3 is rumored to launch alongside Intel's next-generation Skylake chips, succeeding the Broadwell line, later this year, and the new spec could theoretically be included in Skylake-based Macs that could possibly be released in late 2015. Refreshed Macs would likely gain USB-C ports integrated with Thunderbolt 3 as an all-in-one solution.

Top Rated Comments

chfilm Avatar
79 months ago
Ok, now THAT is something! :) It all comes together. Finally this usb-c thing makes sense.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
i5pro Avatar
79 months ago
now put more than 1 port on it
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jobesucks Avatar
79 months ago
As long as peripherals stay at ridiculous prices thunderbolt has no chance
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
smiddlehurst Avatar
79 months ago
As long as peripherals stay at ridiculous prices thunderbolt has no chance
Except that Thunderbolt is never really going to be a 'for the masses' product. USB 3 (and now 3.1) offers enough bandwidth via a nice cheap passive cable to fill pretty much every mass market need on a peripheral. Thunderbolt is there for those users who need a lot more speed or need to make use of the daisy chain functionality and don't mind (or, at least, don't have a better option than) paying for the privilege.

Talking of which there's another bit of this announcement MR missed out - the introduction of a passive cable. Doesn't allow access to the full 40Gbps, just 20Gbps, but it'll help bring the cost down a bit and that's still quick enough for all current TB devices.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CausticPuppy Avatar
79 months ago
As long as peripherals stay at ridiculous prices thunderbolt has no chance
Now that it shares the plug with USB, you can use a less expensive USB-3 peripheral, unless you specifically need the speed of Thunderbolt.

Cables will be cheaper as well.

Now suddenly the Macbook makes more sense. Not because the Macbook supports thunderbolt 3 (it doesn't) but it shows why Apple shifted to a single port type, and now I would expect the next Macbook Pro models to feature only USB-C ports for charging, thunderbolt 3, and everything else.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ericus Macabeus Avatar
79 months ago
This is huge! I was wondering if thunderbolt would go away with USB-C. The fact that they are working together is major.

Consumers will win out by needing only USB-C ports as opposed to thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and USB-C.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple watch 6s 202009

Bloomberg: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Thinner Screen Bezels, Faster Processor, and Updated Ultra Wideband Tech

Monday June 14, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 7 is likely to have thinner display bezels and use a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is planning to refresh the line this year -- with a model likely dubbed the Apple Watch Series 7 -- by adding a faster processor,...
studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
m1 imac back

Some M1 iMac Models Shipping With Crooked Mountings

Monday June 14, 2021 12:50 pm PDT by
Some M1 iMacs appear to have a manufacturing defect that causes the display to be mounted on the stand in a way that's not perfectly aligned, leading to a crooked display. YouTuber iPhonedo over the weekend published a review of the M1 iMac, and he found that his machine appeared to be tilted on one side, a mounting disparity that was visibly noticeable and proved with a ruler. Another...
ios 15 home screen icons

iOS 15 Lets You Drag and Drop Images and Text Across Apps

Saturday June 12, 2021 3:17 pm PDT by
Apple this week previewed iOS 15, which is available now in beta for developers ahead of a public release later this year. One smaller but useful new feature added is the ability to drag and drop images, text, files, and more across apps on iPhone. MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci demonstrated the new feature in a tweet: Using cross-app drag and drop on iPhone in iOS 15. Finally 🎉 #WW ...
ipad iphone duo ios 12

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 Security Fix for Older iPhones and iPads

Monday June 14, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Apple today released new iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates, with the new software aimed at older devices that are unable to run the iOS 14 update that's available on modern devices. The iOS and iPadOS 12.5.4 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software...
apple new iphone case colors

Apple Releases New Sunflower, Cloud Blue and Electric Orange iPhone 12 Cases

Monday June 14, 2021 11:12 am PDT by
Apple today released silicone iPhone cases for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini in a series of new colors that include sunflower, cloud blue, and electric orange. Sunflower is a bright yellow shade, cloud blue is a soft, light blue, and electric orange is a bright orange that's darker than the kumquat color and more orange than pink citrus. The new cases are priced starting...
files app ipados 15

iPadOS 15: Files App Gains NTFS Support, Progress Indicator, and More

Tuesday June 15, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
Apple in iPadOS 15 has added the ability to access NTFS-formatted media from within the Files app. The additional support for the Windows-related format, first discovered by YouTuber Steven Fjordstrøm, is read-only, so like on macOS you can't modify files stored on NTFS devices, but you can at least copy any data on them for working on elsewhere on your iPad. The Files app has also gotten a...
apple virtual game controller ios 15

Apple Makes New On-Screen Game Controller Available to Developers on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15

Saturday June 12, 2021 12:36 pm PDT by
During the Platforms State of the Union at WWDC this week, Apple unveiled a new API for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 that enables developers to implement an on-screen virtual game controller in their iPhone and iPad games with just a few lines of code. While many iPhone and iPad games already offer on-screen controls, Apple's new virtual game controller is available to all developers, easy to add,...
apple store palo alto

Apple Stores to Drop Mask Requirement for Vaccinated Customers This Week

Sunday June 13, 2021 11:31 am PDT by
Apple will no longer require vaccinated customers to wear masks inside their retail stores in the U.S, a major shift in policy compared to last month, according to Bloomberg. The new change, expected to go into effect on Tuesday, will no longer require customers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear masks inside Apple Stores in the United States. Bloomberg notes that Apple...
nomad airtag wallet card 2

Nomad's Latest Accessory Makes It Easier to Put an AirTag in Your Wallet

Monday June 14, 2021 12:00 pm PDT by
Nomad, known for its range of accessories designed for Apple devices, today announced the Card for AirTag, which is designed to make it easier for an AirTag to fit inside a wallet for tracking purposes. With Card for AirTag, an AirTag fits inside the middle of a card-shaped holder that's then meant to fit inside of a wallet. According to Nomad, the design offers a smooth, uniform shape that...