Thunderbolt™ 3 Takes CES 2016 by Storm

Posted on January 8th, 2016

This year’s CES in Las Vegas is bigger than ever, and there are a lot of exciting things happening with Thunderbolt™ 3 here this week.  Highlights include the first external graphics gaming solution over Thunderbolt 3 from Razer, demonstrations of the first single-cable docking solutions over Thunderbolt 3 from Dell and HP, announcements of the first Thunderbolt 3 devices, and continued momentum of 6th Gen Intel® Core™ notebooks shipping with Thunderbolt 3 from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others.  Thunderbolt 3 brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at speeds up to 40 Gbps, creating one compact port that does it all – delivering the fastest, most versatile connection to any dock, display, or data device.

In fact, we are proud to proclaim that Thunderbolt 3 was a 2016 Honoree of the prestigious CES Innovation Awards.  A Thunderbolt 3 single-cable docking solution can be found on display in the Innovations Awards Showcase in the Sands Expo at CES Tech West from January 6-9, 2016.

Thunderbolt™ 3 CES Innovation Awards 2016 Honoree plaque

Thunderbolt™ 3 Computers

To date, more than 40 PCs and motherboards have announced featuring Thunderbolt 3, many of these shipping already.  These consist of consumer and business notebooks and motherboards from leading OEMs - click here to view the list.  These range all the way from 2-in-1’s and ultrathin clamshells, to gaming notebooks, to powerful mobile workstations, meeting the needs of many audiences.  One of the new use cases we are thrilled about is the announcement by Razer with the first external graphics solution with Thunderbolt 3 that has been highly anticipated by the gaming community.  Thin and light notebooks or tablets with Thunderbolt 3 will empower gamers to experience more realistic gaming when connected to an external graphics device.  It uses a standard compact USB-C port, thin cable, and high-speed data, and supports plug n play and notebook charging to deliver a better overall solution and enabling ever thinner and lighter notebooks.  A demo of the Razer solution is in the Intel booth #7252 in the CES Central Hall and the Razer booth #30225 in the South Hall.  More information about this solution can be found at the Razer Blade product webpage and the AMD blog.

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook and Razer Core with Thunderbolt™ 3

Other exciting announcements for commercial systems, geared for business users rather than consumers, include Dell’s Latitude 12 2in1, Latitude 13 and Latitude E5570, the HP EliteBook Folio, and Acer Travel Mate P624 – all featuring Thunderbolt 3 technology.  In the corporate environment, cabled docks, versus the traditional mechanical docks, are expected to start taking over offices for the convenient single-cable docking experience.  One compact port provides 40 Gbps data transfer, support for two 4K 60 Hz displays, and quick notebook charging up to 100W with a single cable.  The Dell Thunderbolt™ Dock and the HP ZBook Dock with Thunderbolt™ 3 are the first two cabled docks available delivering on this experience.

Dell Latitude 12 2in1

HP EliteBook Folio

Acer Travel Mate P648

A number of consumer systems have been announced in recent months, as previously noted and displayed here.  The latest announcement is from Acer being their Acer Aspire Switch 12S which is a detachable 2-in-1 that is highly-portable for your life on the go.  The other available Thunderbolt 3 detachable 2-in-1 is the Dell XPS 12 that launched in October 2015.

Acer Aspire Switch 12S

Thunderbolt™ 3 Devices:

The first ecosystem devices – storage, docks, and adapters - were also announced at CES to connect to all of those computer ports.

  • Akitio Thunder3 Duo Pro - Industry’s first hardware RAID and display dock solution designed to unleash the groundbreaking speed and simplicity of Thunderbolt™ 3. Developed to handle the data protection and performance requirements for today’s ever-growing media libraries, the Thunder3 Duo Pro offers fast transfers with the added flexibility of a DisplayPort video output in a form factor small enough for a desktop.

Akitio Thunder3 Duo Pro

  • Plugable Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DP and HDMI Adapters - The DisplayPort model offers revolutionary video bandwidth and simplicity by supporting two uncompressed 4K 60HZ (4096 x 2160) monitors. That’s nearly 16 million more pixels than an HDTV, from a single Thunderbolt 3 port. A second HDMI model offers support for two uncompressed 4K 30HZ (3840 x 2160) monitors.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DP and HDMI Adapters

  • Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock - this dock’s beautiful anodized aluminum enclosure and black bezel design can be positioned horizontally or vertically. Connect two uncompressed 4K 60HZ (4096 x 2160) displays, three USB 3.0 devices, Gigabit Ethernet, and Stereo audio in/out all while creating a more productive and clutter free workspace.  The second Thunderbolt 3 port on the dock operates the same as a Thunderbolt 3 computer port by supporting Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 (10Gb/s), and DisplayPort devices.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

  • Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DP Adapter – This adapter offers revolutionary video bandwidth and simplicity by supporting two uncompressed 4K 60HZ (4096 x 2160) monitors. That’s nearly 16 million more pixels than an HDTV, from a single Thunderbolt 3 port. Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DP Adapter

Thunderbolt™ 3 Cables

To support all of these new systems and devices, Thunderbolt 3 certified USB-C cables are available now from Kanex and StarTech.  Cable lengths of 0.5m (40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3) as well as 1m to 2m (20 Gbps Thunderbolt 3) cables are being offered.

Thunderbolt™ 3 Cables

Even with all of the amazing news revolving around Thunderbolt 3 at CES, this is just the tip of the iceberg for 2016.  Expect to see a ramp in systems launching throughout the year, not to mention all of the new Thunderbolt 3 devices, cables and, adapters that are expected to hit the market this year.  Stay tuned for many more announcements by visiting our Thunderbolt Community website or for the latest list of certified products that are shipping go to our Learn More About Thunderbolt website often and follow us on our social media channels – Facebook, @GetThunderbolt, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Intel, the Intel logo, Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the United States and other countries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Speed comparison:  As compared to other PC I/O technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394/Firewire.  Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used.  Must use a Thunderbolt-enabled device.

Thunderbolt 3 provides DisplayPort, which can natively connect to all displays with DisplayPort and mini-DisplayPort, and via adapters can connect to all other modern display interfaces, including HDMI, DVI, and VGA.

Tags: CES 2016, Intel Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 3 cables, Thunderbolt certified, Thunderbolt networking, USB Type-C