The Thunderbolt pinout shows that Thunderbolt 1 and 2 have 20 pins whereas Thunderbolt 3 and 4 have 24 pins.
In early 2011, Apple became the first manufacturer to use Intel’s Thunderbolt technology; which is an external data port that can be plugged into any computer for high-speed transfers. It was initially called Light Peak because Intel intended it to rely on fiber optics; hence the reference to light in the name. As Intel developed its product, it got a new name: Thunderbolt.
Thunderbolt 1 and 2 Pinout
Thunderbolt 1 was launched in the year 2011, while Thunderbolt 2 was launched in the year 2013. Both Thunderbolt 1 and Thunderbolt 2 have the same connector, which is similar to that of DisplayPort. While the speed of Thunderbolt 1 is limited to 10 Gbps per channel, the Thunderbolt 2 gives 20 Gbps speed per channel. (Read more)
Both have a 20 pin connector as shown in the figure below.
The table below gives the pinout of the Thunderbolt 1 and 2 connector.
|2||HPD||Hot Plug Detect|
|3||HS0TX+||HighSpeed transmit 0 (+)|
|4||HS0RX+||HighSpeed receive 0 (+)|
|5||HS0TX-||HighSpeed transmit 0 (-)|
|6||HS0RX-||HighSpeed receive 0 (-)|
|9||LSR2P TX||LowSpeed Transmit|
|11||LSR2P RX||LowSpeed receive|
|15||HS1TX+||HighSpeed transmit 1 (+)|
|16||HS1RX+||HighSpeed receive 1 (+)|
|17||HS1TX-||HighSpeed transmit 1 (-)|
|18||HS1RX-||HighSpeed receive 1 (-)|
Thunderbolt 3 and 4 Pinout
The upgraded version of thunderbolt, which is Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 uses the USB Type – C connector which has 24 pins. Thunderbolt 3 was launched in the year 2015, while Thunderbolt 4 was launched in the year 2020. Both have a speed of 40 Gbps.
The pinout of Thunderbolt 3 and 4 is given in the figure below.
|A2||SuperSpeed differential pair 1, TX, positive||B11||SuperSpeed differential pair 2, RX, positive|
|A3||SuperSpeed differential pair 1, TX, negative||B10||SuperSpeed differential pair 2, RX, negative|
|A4||Bus power||B9||Bus power|
|A5||Configuration channel||B8||Side Band Use (SBU)|
|A6||Differential pair 1, positive||B7||Differential pair 2, negative|
|A7||Differential pair 1, negative||B6||Differential pair 2, positive|
|A8||Side Band Use (SBU)||B5||Configuration channel|
|A9||Bus power||B4||Bus power|
|A10||SuperSpeed differential pair 4, RX, negative||B3||SuperSpeed differential pair 3, TX, negative|
|A11||SuperSpeed differential pair 4, RX, positive||B2||SuperSpeed differential pair 3, TX, positive|
Thunderbolt is one of the advanced versions among the available ports. Some of the features that make it stand out are discussed below:
- It is designed to support several other standards like USB Type C, DisplayPort, PCIe, etc. Hence the input/output devices in any of these standards are good to interface via Thunderbolt connections.
- It supports two 4K monitors simultaneously with a speed of 10Gbps, which is simply amazing and endorsing, especially for gamers.
- Thunderbolt is the fastest peripheral interface that achieves the data transfer speed in the range of 10Gbps to 40Gbps which is several times larger than the other available peripherals.
- Thunderbolt cables are capable to deliver power up to 100W so that they can charge devices that even require a significant power range, like laptops.