Intel’s Thunderbolt technology provides a mammoth 1250Mbps data transfer speed.
This speed is 40 times higher than prevailing USB 2.0 ports, and 4 times faster than the second fastest universal standard, USB 3.0.
A Thunderbolt cable, when connected across two computing devices, say a laptop and a hard disk can transfer data at a speed of 1250Mbps. But external data ports never achieve their theoretical maximum speed in real life. The hard disks and controllers slow them down.
CyberPassion team tested Intel’s Thunderbolt against USB3.0, eSATA and USB 2.0. In the test, a laptop is connected with an external storage device and data transfer speed between them is calculated.
Practical speed of Thunderbolt is lower than its theoretical speed. We reached a maximum of 843Mbps as compared to practical point of 1250Mbps. Its largely because of RAID controllers who limit the transfer rate due to delays at its I/O point, that results in bottlenecking problem.
The second best universal standard, USB 3.0 gave a data transfer speed of 270Mbps as compared to its theoretical mark of 500Mbps. USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 port that provides a slow speed of 35Mbps.
Finally we checked eSATA 3.0 that’s slower than USB 3.0 with a speed of 150Mbps.
Thunderbolt is a clear winner of the four universal standards.
In addition to speed, Thunderbolt has some more features that other three are devoid of. Thunderbolt cables can transfer data bidirectionally without slowing down the speed. This means data can be sent and received through the same channel at a huge speed. Also, they can be connected to as many as 7 devices with marginal reduction in speed. Thunderbolt cables can also be used to transfer power to the connected devices.