Thunderbolt vs USB-C: Let’s compare and contrast.

Thunderbolt vs USB-C: Let’s compare and contrast.
In today’s era of hybrid work and remote professionals, content creators and anyone else using a desktop setup have come to rely on two major connectors: Thunderbolt, and USB-C. And as the technology of connection advances, users have a lot of questions about these two types— which is faster? Which is better? Which is right for me?

First off, if we’re getting technical (which, of course we are) the -C in USB-C refers to the connector at the end of the cable. The connector for both USB-C (or USB Type-C) and Thunderbolt are exactly the same. So what we’re really talking about is, what’s the difference between this most recent version of USB vs Thunderbolt. It’s the protocols that set these two apart. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s get into the fun stuff!

Thunderbolt™ 4 Sets Higher Minimum Requirements

Thunderbolt™ 4 certification requires support for power, data, and video with constant 40 Gbps bandwidth. USB cables, devices, and ports may be limited to a variable range of data speeds, with no guarantee of display quality. The Thunderbolt™ logo is a simple, surefire indicator of what a connection between devices can do.


No one wants to lose half their day transferring large files at painfully slow speeds. While USB’s speeds are improving with every new iteration, Thunderbolt generally transfers data faster (Thunderbolt 4 transfers up to 8x faster than USB 3.2) and is overall better at handling video files—making it an obvious choice for creative professionals and film production.


Overall, Thunderbolt and USB-C are interchangeably compatible (Thunderbolt is technically a subset of USB-C technology). If you plug a USB-C cable into a Thunderbolt port, it will still work and vice versa, however while all Thunderbolt equipment will work with USB-C, not all USB-C will get the advantages of working with Thunderbolt.

When it comes to peripherals like keyboards and cameras, Thunderbolt and USB-C are also mostly interchangeable, but the latest version of Thunderbolt can support two 4K monitors simultaneously (or one 8K monitor on its own) while the most current USB-C can only support one. Thunderbolt also has the capability to daisy-chain monitors, which USB-C does not. Both connectors are fully compatible with Mac and PC as the oval-shaped connector quickly becomes more ubiquitous.


The capacity and selection of both technologies is rapidly improving and expanding, bringing prices down across the board. While there’s no way to predict what future generations of these docks will cost, right now Thunderbolt is generally a little more expensive.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, Thunderbolt can handle the same volume of data and number of peripherals as USB-C at faster speeds, however, you’ll pay a little more for it. It’s also important to remember that Thunderbolt and USB-C can be used interchangeably, so integrating Thunderbolt’s superior speed into your existing system doesn’t mean tossing your current setup out.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade your system to Thunderbolt, you can get started in the Hyper Shop with our full line of Thunderbolt docks and hubs.

HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub with Integrated GaN Power Source
Designed for the most advanced video editors, designers and creatives, the Thunderbolt™ 4 Power Hub is the World’s first Thunderbolt 4 hub with an integrated GaN power source. 

HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Dock
The Thunderbolt 4 Dock is designed for enterprise businesses, PC gamers and video editors looking for an advanced connectivity solution that delivers maximum bandwidth and epic display resolutions.

HyperDrive Thunderbolt 3 Mobile Dock
The HyperDrive Thunderbolt™ 3 Mobile Dock is a slim, portable, 7-port TB3 Dock that allows MacBook and Thunderbolt users to get the most out of their desk setup in a minimalist design.

HyperDrive GEN2 Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station
The HyperDrive GEN2 14 Port Thunderbolt™ 3 Dock is a powerful, enterprise-level Dock featuring 14 ports and boasts 2X faster refresh rate, 2X faster data transfer speeds and 2X faster power delivery charging.

HyperDrive 2M Thunderbolt 4 Cable
The HyperDrive 2M Thunderbolt™ 4 Cable is your all-in-one cable for any connection needs. It provides ultra-fast data transfer, charging or video support to your MacBook or any Thunderbolt enabled devices.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.