Thursday, August 24, 2017

How Some Thunderbolt 3 Cables Underperform With USB-only Drives

Glenn Fleishman:

You can purchase what are effectively four kinds of cables that have USB-C connectors on both ends[…]


The trouble that AppleInsider discovered arises only in a particular set of circumstances:

  • You have a hard drive with a USB-C port that supports only USB 3.1.

  • You’re using a Thunderbolt 3 cable to connect that drive to a Thunderbolt 3-capable computer.

  • The Thunderbolt 3 cable is active, rather than passive.

Instead of carrying up to 5 Gbps of USB 3.1 Gen 1 data, these active Thunderbolt cables throttle down to USB 2.0 speeds, offering about one-tenth as much throughput.

Update (2017-08-29): David Heinemeier Hansson:

Why have a USB-C standard if you need x-ray vision to determine what a given cable is capable of?


Apple’s charger cable has no identifying markers. No clue it only carries power. Some times the computer industry is too smart for itself.

USB-C is giving Bluetooth a good run for its money as The Most Frustrating Standard out there.

Don Wauchop:

This week I watched a genius fruitlessly try 5 USB-C cables to figure out which was Thunderbolt 3.

Jony Ive has taken minimalism too far.

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