ThunderBolt 3 Accessories For Mac And PCWelcome to the brave new world of ThunderBolt 3 peripherals! Utilizing the same reversible Type-C mini connector that is becoming familiar to USB-C enabled computing devices, ThunderBolt 3 promises easy, universal connectivity to provide BOTH data and power nearly every convceivable type of ThunderBolt and USB 3.1 Type-C computer gadget. It supports BOTH protocols using ONE kind of interface to connect everything.
ThunderBolt 3 MacBook ModelsHere's the newest 13 and 15 inch Apple laptops with TBolt 3 ports. Expect the iMac and Mac mini to get a Thunderbolt3 upgrade in their next product refresh.
With Dual ThunderBolt 3 Ports
MacBook Pro 13" Laptop with TouchBar & 4 ThunderBolt 3 Ports
MacBook Pro 15" Laptop with TouchBar & 4 ThunderBolt 3 Ports
IMPORTANT! The new 13" & 15" Late 2016 ThunderBolt 3 MacBooks use SECOND-Generation Intel ThunderBolt 3 chipsets. Some of the initial products on the market using First-Generation ThunderBolt 3 chips currently DO NOT WORK on the new Macs!
Until Apple releases a patch or fix to MacOS Sierra - or until manufacturers update to 2nd generation chipsets in their drives, docks, enclosures, dongles and adapters you will have compatibility issues. Make sure any TB3 devices you're considering are certified, tested and supported under MacOS!
ThunderBolt 3 DonglesTo ease the transition, ThunderBolt 3 dongles, adapters, converters and multi-port docking stations will help keep your legacy computer peripherals useful.
*NEW* Apple ThunderBolt3 Adapter
Bi-Directional For Older TBolt Macs
Technically speaking, these are 'Bridge' devices that physically and electrically convert and adapt one I/O interface to another.
Apple's own $29 USD Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 3 dongle lets you connect to Thunderbolt 1 (10Gbps) and 2 (20Gbps) devices such as external drives, docking stations, and Thunderbolt displays. Also, because it's a BIDRECTIONAL adapter, you can also connect new Apple compatible Thunderbolt 3 devices to an older Mac with a 10Gbps Thunderbolt or 20Gbps Thunderbolt 2 port IF you're running MacOS Sierra. Note: In bi-directional mode you obviously will not get 40Gbps T3 speeds when connected to older Macs.
ThunderBolt 3 Certified Device CablesTo sustain the ultra-high-speed bandwidth potential of ThunderBolt 3 and USB 3.1 Gen 2, cables are going to need to be built to exacting Intel and USB-IF certified specifications. Many devices weill ship with the properly-rated T3 cable - while others will not and need to be purchased separately.
Type-C ThunderBolt/USBC Cable
Like existing ThunderBolt 1 & 2 cables, a tiny microchip embedded in each cable end is needed to detect and correct errors. Cabling can be rated as 20Gbps or 40Gbps depending on the devices you intend to connect. As such, expect 40Gbps-rated ThunderBolt 3 cabling to be essential in specific setups and far more expensive than USB-C cables both in the near and long term.
ThunderBolt 3 Multiport Docks And HubsWhile a dongle or adaptor is fine for a single device, to accomodate all of your legacy peripherals may require several. The appeal of multi-port ThunderBolt 3 hub - docking stations can consolidate video, audio for speakers, headphones, headsets and microphones, SD-SDHC-SDXC card reader, data ports for USB 3.0 / 2.0 / 1.1 devices, USB-C USB 3.1 type devices and even older interfaces like Ethernet, eSATA, or FireWire if needed.
The newest generation of ThunderBolt 3 docks often support a dozen or more various ports in total for comprehensive legacy device connectivity. For example, the OWC ThunderBolt3 Dock has yet to ship, but offers 13 ports in total.
ThunderBolt 3 Drives And EnclosuresExpect wide adoption of ThunderBolt 3 in the storage market - particularly for data intensive tasks like Ultra HD video production, storage and editing. With solid-state drives moving beyond the limits of SATA to PCIe, multi-module PCIe SSD drive arrays are best suited to maximize ThunderBolt 3's 40Gbps potential bandwidth.
That said, for the average consumer who owns a Mac, 40Gbps is OVERKILL and isn't needed. Many single-drive external SSD ThunderBolt drive products won't use a fraction of the available bandwith. The same will apply to many USB 3.1 USB-C drives as well. Given the added expense of licensing ThunderBolt chipsets, the vast majority of folks are going to find 10Gbps USB 3.1 gadgets far, far more affordable - and just as fast in real-world use anyways.