If you’ve ever used a USB drive or a FireWire cable, you already have a great insight into what Thunderbolt is all about.It’s an input and output medium for your computer, sending and receiving data to any Thunderbolt-compatible device.
This could be anything from an external hard drive to a new monitor.
It might sound redundant. Your FireWire drive captures digital video without any problems and your USB drive has a huge capacity.
What makes Thunderbolt any different?
It’s a raw speed demon. Check out the chart below from Apple, comparing Thunderbolt’s speeds to that of similar technologies:
With a transfer rate of 10 gigabits per second, you can move a collection of movie files weighing in at 20 GB in roughly 20 seconds. (This is actually a faster read/write speed than most hard drives can accommodate.) Compare this to USB 2.0, which would require significantly more time to move the same amount of data.
Thunderbolt also has the capability to provide a generous 10 watts of power to a peripheral device.
So, in a quick nutshell, Thunderbolt does the same things that USB and FireWire do. It simply does them much more quickly, and all while providing more electricity to whatever device it’s connected to.
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