Thunderbolt Pinout (Thunderbolt 1, 2, 3, and 4)

Last updated on March 21st, 2024 at 12:37 pm

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.

The Thunderbolt 1 and 2 have 20 pins whereas Thunderbolt 3 and 4 have 24 pins.

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, Thunderbolt 2 gives 20 Gbps speed per channel. (Read more)

Both have a 20-pin connector as shown in the figure below.

Thunderbolt 1 and 2 Pinout
Thunderbolt 1 and 2 Pinout

The table below gives the pinout of the Thunderbolt 1 and 2 connectors.

Pin NumberPinDescription
2HPDHot Plug Detect
3HS0TX+HighSpeed transmit 0 (+)
4HS0RX+HighSpeed receive 0 (+)
5HS0TX-HighSpeed transmit 0 (-)
6HS0RX-HighSpeed receive 0 (-)
9LSR2P TXLowSpeed Transmit
10GNDGround (reserved)
11LSR2P RXLowSpeed receive
15HS1TX+HighSpeed transmit 1 (+)
16HS1RX+HighSpeed receive 1 (+)
17HS1TX-HighSpeed transmit 1 (-)
18HS1RX-HighSpeed receive 1 (-)
Pinout of Thunderbolt 1 and 2

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.

Thunderbolt 3 and 4 pinout
Thunderbolt 3 and 4 pinout
A2SuperSpeed differential pair 1, TX, positiveB11SuperSpeed differential pair 2, RX, positive
A3SuperSpeed differential pair 1, TX, negativeB10SuperSpeed differential pair 2, RX, negative
A4Bus powerB9Bus power
A5Configuration channelB8Side Band Use (SBU)
A6Differential pair 1, positiveB7Differential pair 2, negative
A7Differential pair 1, negativeB6Differential pair 2, positive
A8Side Band Use (SBU)B5Configuration channel
A9Bus powerB4Bus power
A10SuperSpeed differential pair 4, RX, negativeB3SuperSpeed differential pair 3, TX, negative
A11SuperSpeed differential pair 4, RX, positiveB2SuperSpeed differential pair 3, TX, positive
Pinout of Thunderbolt 3 and 4

For a detailed comparison between all 4 types read this article: Difference Between 4 Types of Thunderbolt (1,2,3,4)

Thunderbolt features

Thunderbolt is one of the most 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.
  • It 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.
  • These cables are capable of delivering power up to 100W so that they can charge devices that even require a significant power range, like laptops.
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Blessy C Simon

I'm an AI researcher who enjoys writing. Whether it's crafting compelling blog posts, or optimizing web content for search engines, I have a knack for tailoring my writing style to suit various niches and audiences.

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