What Is a Thunderbolt 3 Hub?

The thunderbolt hub was first developed in 2011 through a fairly new technology between Intel and Apple, making it only available to mac users. However, the thunderbolt 3 dock was manufactured for universal usage, making it compatible with USB C devices. When it comes to cost, the thunderbolt 3 dock is primarily more expensive than a USB C cable. This cost is also transferred to devices that have thunderbolt ports. However, you can avoid the price using a USB C port device because it's compatible and can connect in all instances.

In addition, the thunderbolt 3 docking station is a welcome technology for computer users,  because it enables connection with many devices while still enjoying optimal transfer speeds and fast connectivity. This means you can connect many devices on a thunderbolt 3 docking station with only one port.

thunderbolt 3 dock

Physical Appearance of the Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station

The thunderbolt 3 docking station can be found in different sizes, models, and types. Before deciding on the thunderbolt 3 docking station to buy, ensuring that you check the features and compatiblity.

Thunderbolt 3 Docks Ports

There are several ports on the thunderbolt 3 docking station that are common such as:

  1. USB C

It's common to find around three USB C ports on a thunderbolt 3 docking station with different standards to suit your needs. The USB C ports allow you to connect devices such as phones, storage drives, and monitors.

  1. USB A

The USB A ports are essential in connecting to storage devices, computer peripherals such as mouse and keyboard, and flash drives . The number of USB A ports on the docking device differs, and you can buy one that suits your preference and needs.

  1. HDMI Port

Thunderbolt 3 docks have differing numbers of HDMI ports, and you can buy the one that's best for you. The purpose of the HDMI port is to enable connection to 4K display monitors and extend the computer screen to other screens.

  1. Audio Jack

Another great feature of the thunderbolt 3 docks is that you can connect a microphone and headphones to a computer to record audio and listen. However, this feature might only be common in some thunderbolt devices, and you might have to look for special types with audio-in and audio-out jacks.

  1. Ethernet Port

The thunderbolt 3 docks ensure that poor WiFi connection is no longer a problem for you because you can connect the Ethernet cable without necessarily disconnecting other peripherals.

  1. SD Card Reader

The SD card port allows you to access files, such as RAW image files, from another device, such as a camera, to a laptop.

Evolution of the Thunderbolt Hub

The thunderbolt technology has gone through a lot of growth since its invention in 2011. From the onset, the thunderbolt dock provided a standard computer's fastest data transfer and connection. To improve the initial thunderbolt dock, thunderbolt 2, thunderbolt 3, and thunderbolt 4 were developed. The significant difference between the thunderbolt generations are as follows:

Thunderbolt 1

As mentioned before, this was the first thunderbolt dock to be manufactured in 2011 through a collaboration between Intel and Apple. While the dock offered high transfer speeds, it only worked for mac users. One of the features of the thunderbolt dock is that it uses a mini DisplayPort (MiniDP) connector. The dock also has two channels which each support about 10Gbps making it possible to achieve a total of 20Gbps. Further, it also uses protocol x4 PCI express 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.1a.

Thunderbolt 2

This was the second generation thunderbolt device meant to improve the first one. It was first introduced into the market in 2013 and used a mini Displayport connector. Another improved factor is that the device quickly transfer data at a rate of 20Gbps. The dock also uses a similar PCI express protocol with an improved DisplayPort 2.0.

Thunderbolt 3

The thunderbolt 3 came out in 2015 with an exciting universal connector USB C feature. This was great news for brands other than apple, which could now use the thunderbolt dock. In addition, the connector also supports high transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, which is double its predecessor. Thunderbolt 3 devices use protocol 4 X PCI express 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and USB 3.1 Gen-2.

Thunderbolt 4

This is the latest version of the thunderbolt technology, an improvement of the thunderbolt 3. The improved standards of the thunderbolt 4 include the capacity to daisy-chain two 4K monitors or one single 8K monitors and transfer data at up to 3,000 megabytes per second. The idea behind the improvements in thunderbolt 4 is to double the performance of thunderbolt 3.


Uses of a Thunderbolt 3 Hub

If you spend a lot of  time using a laptop at work, the thunderbolt 3 dock is the best solution. There are many thunderbolt 3 docks to choose from, and you can buy the one that suits your needs. Additionally, the thunderbolt cable can fit into USB C ports, making them compatible with most computers. This is possible because USB C ports in computers and other devices are enabled to connect to the thunderbolt 3 dock.

Thunderbolt 3 docks are used for various functions, such as:

  • Charging: An interesting aspect of the thunderbolt 3 dock is that it has about 100 watts of power delivery through the USB C port. The thunderbolt dock can also be connected to an external display using one USB C port when charging a laptop or any other computer. This means that the power supply is in both directions, which is extraordinary.
  • Connect to external displays: The thunderbolt 3 dock can be connected to an external display through the DisplayPort protocol. This allows you to use the thunderbolt 3 dock to send audio and video bandwidth from a laptop to several external displays through HDMI ports and a mini DisplayPort.
  • High-speed data transfer:One factor that you'll often consider when buying a thunderbolt cable is data transfer speeds which are higher and faster. In the ideal sense, the thunderbolt 3 USB C ports transfer about 40Gbps or more, which could be the most rapid transfer speed for any device.
  • Connect to network: You can use thunderbolt docks to connect to network ports. The Thunderbolt port is manufactured to support connection to anEthernet cable or any other network protocol. Thus, the thunderbolt ports allow you to connect to external networks of about 10Gbp
  • Connect to external GPUs:If you're looking to improve the graphical performance of your laptop, consider using a thunderbolt 3 dock to link to a graphics accelerator or external graphics card. The thunderbolt 3 port is also made to support the PCI Express bus system.

Another interesting fact is that all these actions can be carried out using a single hub, making it cost-effective. While the initial cost of buying a thunderbolt 3 dock is high, its multifunctional capacity is worth it. This also eliminates the need to have dongles which would have cost you more money.

Advantages of Using Thunderbolt 3

There's no doubt that the thunderbolt technology is superior in the market because of its features. Here are a few advantages of using a thunderbolt 3:

Universal Connection with USB C

One of the most significant advancements in the thunderbolt 3 is the universal connection because of the USB C port. The universal connection allows it to be used by many devices across different brands. This can be considered a futuristic approach to marketing the connector.

The universal connection is also easy to use across all devices that support a USB C cable. Nonetheless, there's no performance difference between devices that allow USB C connections and those that don't.

High Transfer Speed

The connector is four times faster than most, especially in data transmission and network connection. The transmission rate is about 40Gbps, as mentioned earlier, which is four times higher than an ordinary and the latest USB C port. This means you can transfer a movie with a 4K resolution in a few seconds, which is quite impressive.

Powerful Connection

This device has a powerful connection between monitors because it can combine DisplayPort standards. Moreover, the power is double the one provided by regular DisplayPort cables. If you like gaming or watching movies, this Hub allows you to connect two 4K monitors to have the optimal experience.

In addition, you can connect multiple devices, such as external drives, graphic cards, or another monitor. The interesting thing about connecting various devices is that you require a few cables, such as three for six.

Peer-to-Peer Networking

The peer-to-peer network capabilities of the thunderbolt ports are also fascinating because of the power they provide when you connect two devices or more. For instance, if you combine two computers, you create an Ethernet connection of about 10Gbps, which is approximately 10 times faster than ordinary cables.

Connect with Two 4K Monitors

Another interesting advantage of thunderbolt technology is connecting two monitors with 4K monitors simultaneously. Using the cable, you can also make two connections for the 4K monitors. This means you can display the contents of the two monitors on one screen.

Charging Laptops

Another benefit of the thunderbolt cable is that it can send and receive a power supply of up to 100W. In addition, since the thunderbolt cable is universal, it can charge many devices.

Is the Thunderbolt 3 Dock the Right Choice?

The thunderbolt docks are only necessary for Big Data processing; thus, if you intend to casually use the laptop at home, then there might be better options. This is also because the thunderbolt docks are heavy with big power adapters. Ideally, a dock should be placed on a desk because of its weight.

For smaller files, such as access pictures from a SD card to a laptop or any other device, you can use a SD card reader, which is smaller, lighter and portable.

You must also ensure that the dock has the correct wattage for your computer. When shopping for thunderbolt 3 docks, you might realize that most have a maximum power delivery of up to 85 watts, while other laptops need at least 96 watts to function, such as MacBook Pro 16”. Therefore, the dock might be unable to keep such powerful laptops charged during process huge files. However, for best results, you can always find a dock with high power wattage, such as 100 watts.

Best Thunderbolt 3 Docking Stations

If you're confused about the best thunderbolt 3 docking stations to buy, here are a few to consider:

Thunderbolt 3 Hub USB C to HDMI/RJ45/USB 3.0/Audio/Video for USB C MacBook, Samsung, Huawei

This docking station is manufactured by Vention and requires no external power source. Some of the ports on this device include type c, HDMI, RJ45, USB, and VGA. In addition. It supports Apple, Huawei, Samsung, and more.

4-Port USB 3.0 Hub

This docking hub features 4-port USB C that allows connection to different peripherals such as flash drives, mouse, keyboards, printers, and other USB devices.

Transmission speed of up to 5Gbps makes transfer files such as movies, songs, and pictures easy and fast.

In addition, the dock is fairly easy to use, and the Built-in advanced chips ensure that your data and information are safe. All you need to do is plug in and use the dock. Further, the shape is slim and weight is light to enable portability when traveling.


Thunderbolt technology is a significant advancement in connectivity. The Thunderbolt 3 allows you to connect multiple devices because of its universal feature. Additionally, the dock has high transfer speeds, which makes it the best for transfer data. Don’t miss this thunderbolt 3 hub!


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