Information and alternatives to the Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable

Thunderbolt 4

What is Thunderbolt 4? How is it different from previous generations? Which cables should I buy? Do I absolutely have to use the Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable? Here you will find a brief overview of the features and benefits of Thunderbolt 4 and the appropriate cables that support this standard.

Do I need special cables for Thunderbolt 4?

Thunderbolt 4 uses DisplayPort 1.4a, which supports data transfer rates of up to 40 Gbps. The cable you want to use to connect two devices must support this speed, otherwise the data transfer will work, but not as fast as it could be.

No question: The Apple Thunderbolt 4 cable is worth the money due to the high quality of workmanship, but most customers do not need this quality.
No question: The Apple Thunderbolt 4 cable is worth the money due to the high quality of workmanship, but most customers do not need this quality.

Apple's Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable

The Thunderbolt 4 interface is also based on USB-C in terms of connectivity. However, it differs from the previous generation in several aspects. It offers data rates of up to 40 Gbit/s, just as fast as Thunderbolt 3. It also enables the simultaneous transmission of two 4K video streams or one 8K video stream over one connection.

Apple offers a cable for these transfers that “Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable” means and with a length of 1,8 meters it costs a mere 150 euros. A model with a length of 3 meters is to come, but that is not yet available.

30,00 EUR
Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable (1,8 m)​​​​​
  • Data transfer up to 40 Gbit/s
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 data transfer up to 10 Gbit/s
  • DisplayPort video output (HBR3)

Alternative Thunderbolt 4 cables

The good news is that you don't necessarily have to use this cable. Although it is extremely good in terms of build quality, it ultimately supports the same specifications as other Thunderbolt 4 cables.

However – if you this video If you take a look at the Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable, you will be surprised at what Apple has put into this cable. You will not only find multiple shielding, but also high-quality chips in the connectors.

Anyone who relies on quality and for whom the cable is vital in everyday work will probably be better off with the Apple cable. With the alternatives, you can't be sure that they will last in high-performance operation and offer maximum performance. The creators of the video put it this way:

For most customers, the cable may not be necessary, but for creatives who need high performance, there is currently no cable that can match the quality of the Apple cable.

However, if you count yourself among “most customers”, you can save the money for the Apple cable and access the alternatives here:

Bestseller no. 1
Silkland Certified USB4 cable with Thunderbolt 4 cable, 40Gbps data cable, PD3.1 240W 48V 5A...
  • ⚡【USB4.0 40Gbps Lightning-fast data transfer】USB-IF-certified USB4.0 enables Silkland Thunderbolt 4 ...
  • ⚡ 【240W PD3.1 quick charge and E-Marker】 With their Thunderbolt 4 cable, you can charge your devices with ...
  • ⚡【8K@60Hz & Dual 4K Display】 Experience stunning visual and audio quality with its Thunderbolt ...
Bestseller no. 2
Mcbazel Usb-c 4.0 Thunderbolt 4 fast charging cable 100W and 40Gbps data transfer cable...
  • Thunderbolt 4.0 USB-C cable. It supports 8K@60Hz video display on a screen or...
  • It can transfer and charge data at high speed, with a data transfer speed of up to...
  • The Thunderbolt 4.0 cable with high compatibility works with all Thunderbolt 3 & Thunderbolt 4 devices...
Bestseller no. 3
ANKER Thunderbolt 4 cable 70cm long, 8K display/40 Gbps data transfer/100W USB-C charging cable,...
  • SUPER FAST CHARGING: Supports a maximum charging speed of up to 100W with compatible chargers.
  • RAPID DATA TRANSFER: Transfers films, music and entire TV series with 40 Gbps within seconds.
  • IMPRESSIVE VIDEO QUALITY: Video transmission on one screen with 8K or simultaneously on two screens with ...
Bestseller no. 4
Angusplay USB C Thunderbolt 4 Cable 40Gbps, USB4 Braided Cable, 8K 60Hz Video, 100W TB4 Cable...
  • 【Future-proof backwards compatibility】 The Angusplay Thunderbolt 4 cable supports all fantastic ...
  • 【100W fast charging / transfer up to 40Gbps】 You can effortlessly charge your Type-C devices with this cable...
  • 【8K/5K Video Display】Drive one 8K / 5K @ 60Hz display or two 4K @ 60Hz displays. This makes it a...
4,00 EURBestseller no. 5
Maxonar certified USB4 cable with Thunderbolt 4 cable, 240W charging cable 40Gbps data cable, 8K@60Hz...
  • 【240W fast charging technology】:Maxonar USB-IF certified USB C cable can charge up to 240W (48V/5A) USB PD3.1...
  • 【Transfer rate 40gbps USB 4.0】:USB 4.0 uses the Thunderbolt specification to deliver up to eight times faster...
  • 【8K@60Hz or dual 4K@60Hz monitors】: The cable can connect a single 8K@60Hz monitor with higher resolution and ...

The History of Thunderbolt

Originally developed by Intel and Apple under the codename "Light Peak," Thunderbolt has been adopted by several PC manufacturers. Technically, it is a combination of DisplayPort and an interface based on PCI Express. Thunderbolt was introduced in 2008 as a high-speed connection standard between computers and peripherals. The latest version (Thunderbolt 4) has doubled its bandwidth capacity compared to Thunderbolt 3 and supports USB 3.1 Gen 2. This means faster data transfers and better energy efficiency.

Currently, Thunderbolt 4 can be found in the latest Apple MacBook Pro models and in the Apple Studio, but Apple will certainly be adding Thunderbolt 4 to other devices over time.

Thunderbolt 4 adapts to USB 4 and will no longer be developed separately in the future, but will run under USB.
Thunderbolt 4 adapts to USB 4 and will no longer be developed separately in the future, but will run under USB.

Specifications of Thunderbolt 4/USB 4

With Thunderbolt 4, Apple decided to stop developing Thunderbolt as its own standard and instead focus on making it compatible with USB 4. Therefore, Thunderbolt 4 does not bring new levels of speed, but allows better compatibility with USB 4 devices. Thunderbolt 4 makes all optional USB4 features mandatory for all devices. The connection remains the same, but with new cables (USB-C).

Here are the specs, which I copied from the Wikipedia page:

  • Thunderbolt
    • 40 Gbps (like Thunderbolt 3)
    • 4 PCI Express 3.0 lanes (= 32 Gbit/s), e.g. for external graphics card (eGPU)
    • Thunderbolt Network - 10 Gbps Ethernet between computers
  • USB - Compatible with existing USB devices and cables
    • supports USB 4 with all functions
    • USB-C connectors and cables (small, rotationally symmetric)
  • DisplayPort - Compatible with existing DisplayPort devices and cables
    • 8 DisplayPort lanes (HBR2 (High Bitrate) and MST (Multi-Stream Transport))
    • supports two 4K displays (4096 × 2160 30bpp @ 60 Hz) and now one 8K display (7680 × 4320).
    • connects DVI, HDMI– and VGA displays via adapters
  • Power supply (based on USB Power Delivery)
    • up to an output of 100 watts
    • 15 watts for bus-powered devices
  • HUB support instead of just looping through. backward compatible.
  • Lowest latency for PCI Express audio capture
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4 comments on “Information and alternatives to the Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable”

  1. No offense, but one could have written that a normal USB-C cable can also be used for video transmission. Unless it's supposed to be 40GBit/sec, which isn't the case for 99,9% of uses anyway.

    1. Hello Falk! No offense, but what is a “just regular” USB-C cable? There are USB-C cables that are only used for charging and that otherwise support USB 2.0. Is that a "normal" cable? Or one that doesn't charge, but gets USB 3 speeds? I think you have to first talk about what a USB C cable is, because there are many variants.

    1. PS:
      I have been buying from Aliexpress for a long time (my grandma always said: if you don't honor the million, you don't deserve the billion) and I have good experiences.

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