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What's the Difference Between USB-C dock station vs Thunderbolt 3

by peng gui 27 Dec 2022
USB C Dock Station

USBs and Thunderbolts have been available for years. Apple and Intel introduced Thunderbolt. On the other hand, USB C is an industrial standard for transferring data. Both Thunderbolt and USB had previous models. However, Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 were only available on Apple devices. Comparatively, USB is commonly found in radios, lamps, and cars.

There needs to be more clarity regarding purchasing Thunderbolt 3 and USB C dock stations. This article will educate you about their uses so you can understand the two types in detail. 

What is USB-C?

USB Type C is also known as USB C. The advanced connector is becoming an acceptable mode of transferring data between devices. USB C is the latest evolution from its initial model, USB A. The updated USB C is globally recognizable thanks to its new appearance—val with curved edges. 

Furthermore, USB C is also symmetrical, which means there is no wrong way to insert it into the port. The design has successfully eliminated the frustrations the individuals faced caused by twisting and turning the previous models. The symmetrical design is a standard way to connect computers and phones. Furthermore, it can also help you connect with gaming consoles.

Laptops and smart devices have different USB ports divided into three categories.

  1. Firstly, USB 3.1 will transfer data at a super-fast speed of 10 gigabytes per second.

  2. Secondly, USB 3.2 will transfer information at a blazing speed of 20 gigabytes per second.

  3. Lastly, Thunderbolt 3, a part of an Apple Computer, will transport information at lightning speed of 40 gigabytes per second.

You can connect computers to a USB C dock station to build a computer network. The feature is present in hospitals, companies, schools, and other commercialized entities.

What is Thunderbolt 3?

Thunderbolt 3 is presently the most updated solution for transferring information between computers. It delivers results eight times faster than USB 3.0. You can connect it to numerous monitors and LCDs at the same time. However, it has other features too.

Thunderbolt 3 is based on the USB C connector. As a result, it connects easily to personal computers. The connection does not lag, and data is shared promptly.

Secondly, Thunderbolt 3 will transfer information at 40 gigabytes per second. Surprisingly, the port will reserve a section for exchanging videos, such as 5K monitors. There is still sufficient bandwidth to maintain storage devices or supervise other peripheral connections.

Have you heard of Daisy Chaining? Thunderbolt 3 will connect up to six devices through one port. A typical example is a combination of storage, network, power, and output device. As a result, the devices leave others ports vacant for additional connections if the circumstances seek it.

A Thunderbolt 3 cable is highly versatile too. It will transmit high-speed data and supply power up to 100 watts. In addition, Thunderbolt 3 provides 15 watts of energy when connected to bus-powered devices. You will need the ability for G-Drive Pro SSD and other high-performing machines.

Differences between USB-C Dock Station and Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 and USB C dock station look similar to an untrained eye. However, there are apparent differences that make the two very unique. In other words, there are features that a USB C has but a Thunderbol3 does not. 


The first difference is the transfer speed. Thunderbolt 3 will perform better because of its blazing data transfer rate. On the other hand, you will have to wait longer for a USB C to transfer data between the same devices. In addition, a Thunderbolt 3 can output video on two 4K displays and one 5K screen. Unfortunately, USB C is restricted to a single 4K display.


Thunderbolt 3 and USB C are inversely compatible. As a result, when you use a USB C dock station in a Thunderbolt port, the data will shift to a different terminal at 10 gigabytes per second. 

The operation is unsuccessful if you connect the thunderbolt cable to a USB C port. Even though it will charge the laptop, it will not work well with output devices. The user is greeted with a message saying the computer cannot recognize the device.

No daisy chaining 

USB C does not offer daisy chaining. As mentioned above, the feature is only limited to Thunderbolt 3 cables. Unfortunately, each device requires a USB-C port connection. This adds to the cost, and the individual is greeted with tangled wires.

Verdict: USB-C Dock Station is the Best Choice

Even though fast transferring speed and versatility convince you to purchase Thunderbolt 3 over a USB C dock station, the decision contains many layers. You do not need to pick one over the other in certain circumstances. For example, there is no differentiation between the two ports charging a battery as the laptops have both ports.

Another example where you can use a USB instead of Thunderbolt 3 is when an individual connects a Thunderbolt 3 terminal to an incompatible device. For instance, a phone or a remote storage device with a USB C cable. You can connect the two devices. Unfortunately, the data transfer will happen slowly. And since output devices such as a mouse, keyboard, scanner, and printer do not need the full power of a USB, the connection is undisturbed. The operations run as usual.

However, there are instances where we insist you pick Thunderbolt 3 over a USB C dock station. It is a reality for media professionals and editors who constantly interact with pictures and videos. Even if Thunderbolt 3 is expensive, it does not compromise their creativity output. These experts usually purchase Thunderbolt 3-enabled computers for quick data transfer.

With the above practical examples, there is no clear winner in the Thunderbolt 3 and USB C dock station race. Both are different, with unique advantages which facilitate a specific target niche. The bitter truth is that these data-transferring ports will be replaced with new models that will make them obsolete. 

Visit DockTeck today

DockTeck is a one-stop shop for video cables, docking stations, and converters. Our products are secure and easy to use. The owners are passionate about providing cost-efficient options to their customers. We ensure that the product will arrive at the shipping address within three to seven days.Join us to expand your laptop's versatility.

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