Are UCB-C and Thunderbolt the same thing?

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The subject is the question. Does the fact that a phone/computer/gadget/etc has UCB-C mean that the device is technically capable of being used as a Thunderbolt device? Or is Thunderbolt an enhancement or specific implementation of USB-C?

I’m starting to see more devices with USB-C, like the low-cost CHUWI devices, and was wondering if that meant those devices could be connected to an eGPU for a performance boost.

Thanks!

Comments (2)

2 responses to “Are UCB-C and Thunderbolt the same thing?”

  1. rameshthanikodi

    Are UCB-C and Thunderbolt the same thing? No.

    is Thunderbolt an enhancement or specific implementation of USB-C? Yes.


    What's been colloquially referred to as "USB-C" is actually three things:

    1) the Type-C port

    2) the USB 3.1 cable with Type-C plug

    2) the USB 3.1 protocol


    Type-C is just the port/plug, not the connection itself. A Type-C port/plug may shapeshift into different types of connections, and Thunderbolt is one of them. Thunderbolt's features are a superset of USB 3.1.


    So Thunderbolt is basically:

    1) the Type-C port

    2) the Thunderbolt 3 cable....which can also work as a USB 3.1 cable when needed

    2) the Thunderbolt 3 protocol


    Thunderbolt 3 requires additional controllers and costs more for OEMs to implement, so chances are, low-cost devices like the CHUWI don't have Thunderbolt. The Type-C ports on these devices are usually just USB 3.1. The easiest way to identify anything Thunderbolt is to look out for the lightning logo, but unfortunately there are makers out there don't bother labelling these proper.

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      This looks correct.

      A USB-C port can just be USB 3.x with a different plug. Meaning it cannot handle Thunderbolt-level performance for things like dual 4K monitors and an external GPU. That's why I always describe it as USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, when that's what it is. It's "USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 through the same port."

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