Thunderbolt device through USB 3.1

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Melodist, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. Melodist macrumors regular


    Sep 30, 2015
    Hello there,

    Will it be possible to connect a Thunderbolt device to my USB 3.1 / C port?

    I know this is not mac related but I'm transitioning from my Mac to a Windows computer.

  2. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    This is the Mac Pro thread, I think you're talking about the newly released MacBook Pro? If you are I'm not sure why you're then transitioning to Windows?!

    Anyway, what you're asking about won't work; Thunderbolt 3 happens to have a USB-C connector and works for USB-C devices, but it doesn't work the other way around.

    USB-C is still just USB to an extent, whereas Thunderbolt is the equivalent of exposing a full PCIe 3.0 4x slot via a cable.

    Also, there are no USB-C ports on any Mac Pro (at the time of writing this).
  3. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040


    Jul 4, 2015
    The answer is no. Thunderbolt devices have their own protocols for communication even if they share the same port design.
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Old-style, non-reversible USB "A" port (2.0, 3.0, 3.1 - lots of PCs and Macs): No.

    Regular USB-C port (e.g. 12" MacBook, Chromebook Pixel, various phones): No.

    Combined Thunderbolt3/USB-C port (e.g. new MacBook Pros, Dell XPS, various PC motherboards): Yes - but you'll need a TB3-to-TB1/2 adapter if its a TB1 or TB2 device - subject to PC/Mac driver issues.

    Note: USB-C (the new reversible ones) and USB3-type-A (the old chunky ones that you have to turn around twice to get the right way up) are types of connector. USB 2/3.0/3.1 are protocols that can run on either type of connector. TB3 is a protocol that uses the same connector as USB-C but isn't supported by regular USB-C ports. USB 3.0 is now called USB 3.1 gen 1 and USB 3.1 gen 2 is the new superfast USB, thunderbolt 3 can run over USB-C cables if they're less than 1m & thunderbolt certified, but USB 2/3 can't run over Thunderbolt 3 cables and DisplayPort can run over both but in subtly different ways, USB-C might support DisplayPort 1.3 but TB3 never will and Chewbacca is a Wookey from Cashyyk but he lives on Endor...

    Yup. USB-C will greatly simplify our data connections. Sigh.

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