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Thunderbolt 3 is twice as fast and uses reversible USB Type-C

Nick Summers, @nisummers
June 2, 2015
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The next laptop you buy with a USB Type-C port could be even more useful than you thought. Intel today unveiled Thunderbolt 3, which uses an identical port design as its USB brethren. So if Apple sticks with its new MacBook design, for instance, it could adopt the port and enable both Thunderbolt and USB Type-C without any adapters. It's a step toward simplifying the messy sea of ports often found on laptops and PCs, and could make Thunderbolt accessible to a larger group of people than before. Thunderbolt 3 offers more than just port convenience, however. It'll support a 40 Gbps connection over Thunderbolt, which is double the speed of Thunderbolt 2, 10 Gbps USB 3.1 and DisplayPort 1.2.

It's not the first time that Thunderbolt has piggy-backed on another port design -- the original incarnation used Mini DisplayPort. With its nipper data speeds, the new Thunderbolt 3 can support dual 4K 60 Hz displays, in addition to blazingly fast file transfers. You'll also be able to use the port for regular USB work, which should come in handy when connecting older accessories. It won't be long before the new standard comes into effect either -- Intel says the first Thunderbolt 3 products should ship later this year.

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