USB C and Thunderbolt 3

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Aditya_S, May 1, 2016.

  1. Aditya_S macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2016
    Sorry if this thread is in the wrong place, but I'm hearing a lot about USB C and Thunderbolt 3 being in the new MacBook Pro's but hearing different things about how they will work. Some are saying that they will both be on the same port, and you can use a USB C cable or TB3 cable with that same port. Others are saying that the port will be either USB C or TB3 meaning a TB3 device will not work if plugged into a USB C port despite being the same physical connectors. Which one is it.
  2. Erdbeertorte, May 1, 2016
    Last edited: May 1, 2016

    Erdbeertorte Suspended

    May 20, 2015

    USB-C is just a different connector type for USB 3.0 and 3.1. The MacBook 2015 and 2016 only has USB 3.0 speed.

    Thunderbolt 3 uses the same connector type but even when a port supports the higher speed of USB 3.1 it must not be Thunderbolt.

    It could be that a new MacBook Pro has standard USB-C connectors with USB 3.1 or 3.0 and same looking Thunderbolt 3 connectors that can also be used for USB but not the other way round. Or the USB 3.0 ports stay with type A.

    You will need special cables for Thunderbolt 3, that are more expensive. It's a little like Mini Displayport compared to Thunderbolt 1 and 2.

    It's also a little confusing because USB-C is called USB 3.1 Gen. 1 (5 GB/s) and Gen. 2 (10 GB/s and sometimes also 40 GB/s Thunderbolt). The first generation ist just USB 3.0 with a different connector type and should not be called USB 3.1.

    Edit: Some corrections and additions.
  3. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2006
    Kirkland, WA
    If I remember correctly Thunderbolt 3 builds on top of USB-C 3, and add new features, but anything that uses those features won't work with just USB-C. Basically the Thunderbolt 3 port/cable can fall back to USB-C 3, but a USB-C 3 can't fall forward to Thunderbolt 3

    Basically it means that TB3 ports are strictly better than USB-C ports, and TB3 cables are strictly better than UBB-C cables. TB3 devices will be able to be better than USB-C, at the cost of not working with any devices that are just USB-C. On the flip side, USB-C devices will be able to be used by any device, but you won't get any of the benefits of TB3 (e.g. faster transfer speeds, higher resolution screens)
  4. treekram macrumors 65816

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    As mentioned earlier, USB-C is just a connector. Thunderbolt has never had it's own unique connector. TB 1+2 used Mini Displayport. TB 3 will use USB-C (for now, who knows if it will expand in the future). Thunderbolt has always required more electronics than Displayport (1+2) or USB 3.1 (3). Intel has a chip called "Alpine Ridge" which can handle both USB 3.1 (Gen1 and Gen2) and Thunderbolt 3. If Apple uses that chip, then the USB-C connector will be able to do USB 3.1 Gen2 or Thunderbolt 3. The newest MacBook can only do USB 3.1 Gen1 (USB 3 speeds) on it's USB-c connector, which is pretty lame, if you ask me.
  5. Aditya_S thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2016
    Do you think they will replace MagSafe with USB C?
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    I don't unless they make it to thin for the MagSafe, but no one knows as always with Apple.
  7. danniexi macrumors 6502

    Jan 7, 2012
    As you mentioned, the current processors do not support TB3 unless they have the Alpine Ridge controller. The design of the Macbook predated the Skylake processors + Alpine Ridge, therefore if they wanted to include that into the 2016 model, they would have needed to redesign the entire logic board of the device, which I don't think is possible since there is absolutely NO room in there whatsoever. Kaby Lake supports TB3 natively, so the spec bump of the Macbook (in 2017 I assume) should bring the current USB-C port upgraded to TB3.

    I'm assuming that the redesigned 2016 rMBP will support TB3 (skylake + alpine ridge) which would be freakin awesome.
  8. treekram macrumors 65816

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    The chips used for the 2015 Macbook used the FCBGA1234 socket, the chips used in the 2016 Macbook use the FCBGA1515 socket. To me, the teardowns they did of both seem to show that it doesn't use the same logic board design. Space is tight on that tiny logic board, though.

Share This Page