New M1 Mac Models Feature Thunderbolt 3 Ports, Not Newer Thunderbolt 4

The new M1-equipped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini are each equipped with two USB-C ports that support USB 4 and Thunderbolt, but as it turns out, Apple is continuing to use Thunderbolt 3 rather than upgrading the new models to Thunderbolt 4.

macbook pro thunderbolt 3 ports
Intel in July shared details on Thunderbolt 4, which is coming out in new PCs with Tiger Lake processors. Thunderbolt 4 offers the same 40Gb/s maximum speeds available through Thunderbolt 3, but it does bring some notable improvements, such as support for docks with four downstream Thunderbolt ports. From Intel:

  • Double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3.
  • Video: Support for two 4K displays or one 8K display.
  • Data: PCIe at 32 Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000 MBps.
  • Support for docks with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports.
  • PC charging on at least one computer port.
  • Wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock.
  • Required Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection that helps prevent physical DMA attacks.

Intel has also designed new cables that support Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4, with longer lengths that don't compromise the 40Gb/s speeds. Thunderbolt 4 uses the same physical USB-C connector design, and Thunderbolt 4 ports and cables are backward and cross-compatible with USB 4, Thunderbolt 3, and other USB standards.

Apple's M1 Macs, which include the MacBook Pro, ‌MacBook Air‌, and ‌Mac mini‌, are available for purchase today and will begin arriving to customers on November 17.

Related Roundups: Mac mini, MacBook Air
Related Forums: Mac mini, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

jayducharme Avatar
45 months ago
Anyone get the feeling that these were rushed? They're more like proof-of-concepts. I guess I'll wait a bit to see what's in store for 2021. Or maybe 2022. Or I bet there'll be big improvements for 2023.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
matt_and_187_like_this Avatar
45 months ago
Don't worry, M1 chip will improve TB 3 just as it improves the facetime camera.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
45 months ago

Anyone get the feeling that these were rushed? They're more like proof-of-concepts. I guess I'll wait a bit to see what's in store for 2021. Or maybe 2022. Or I bet there'll be big improvements for 2023.
Not at all.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
genovelle Avatar
45 months ago

The Mac mini ('https://www.macrumors.com/roundup/mac-mini/') models with M1 chips, priced at $699 and $899

Overpriced, underpowered garbage.
Hey. Watch you mouth. I have a mini that runs fairly well. I realized it feeling slower lately, but then it hit me that it was 8 years old. In the world of PCs with a 2-3 year lifespan, that is amazing
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kalafalas Avatar
45 months ago
Well duh. USB-4 supports the TB3 spec natively. They aren’t going to add intel thunderbolt controllers to Apple silicon, and will probably only gain TB4 support when it trickles down to the USB stack
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CWallace Avatar
45 months ago
Rushed? Not really. When Apple first moved from PowerPC to Intel, the form factors were identical, just the guts were changed. That we're seeing the same with the first models moving from Intel to ASi is not surprising to me.

Intel is just releasing TB4 with Tiger Lake so Apple staying with TB3 for the moment is not much of an issue, IMO. I imagine these uses an off-the-shelf TB3 controller tied into the M1 (which looks a fair bit like an A14X).
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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