Apple Thunderbolt vs. USB 3.0: Speed Comparison

By Jamie Pert - Feb 24, 2011

Today there has been a lot of interest surrounding the new Apple Macbook Pro 2011 models which were recently revealed on, these new Macbooks boast a lot of improvements over their predecessors, including faster processors and improved graphics, however one thing which we are excited about is its new high-speed I/O technology called Thunderbolt.

We spoke about this new interface a few days ago, however since then Apple has released fully detailed information regarding this technology, check out this link for full details.

As we previously suggested Thunderbolt offers 10Gbps throughput in both directions, this makes it 12x faster than FireWire 800 and up to 20x faster than USB 2.0, USB 3.0 operates at a maximum of 5Gbps, therefore Thunderbolt is twice as fast, you can see a chart comparing all of the major technologies below, also the image shows a Thunderbolt lead, port and its logo.

One other major advantage it has over USB 3.0 is the fact that the two 10Gbps channels allow you to daisy-chain devices, also as Thunderbolt is based on PCI Express and DisplayPort you can link to a HDTV without the use of a hub and without any reduction in performance.

You can find out fully detailed information regarding Thunderbolt here, it has to be said that this could be a major game-changer especially for video, music and photo editors, let’s just hope that Thunderbolt compliant devices and cables do not cost too much, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that…..

Will you use Thunderbolt? Or is Firewire 800 still fast enough for you?

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