Practical speed of Thunderbolt technology

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Intel’s Thunderbolt interface is the fastest technology for data transfer across computing devices.

It provides a data transfer speed of 1250Mbps between device connected through a Thunderbolt cable.

This is the theoretical speed, and like many other interfaces, there was substantial fall in the practical speed when we tested the Thunderbolt technology some days back.

In our test, we connected a MacBook Air with an external Seagate storage device through a Thunderbolt cable. And then we transferred 2 Gb data from laptop to the hard disk and calculated the data transfer speed to get the practical speed.

As expected, the maximum achievable speed in our test is just 843Mbps. This is much smaller as compared to theoretical speed of Thunderbolt, which is much higher.

Practical speed of Thunderbolt technology

Our finding might appear a bit disappointing but Thunderbolt is still many times faster than USB 3.0 and eSATA. Its 4 times faster than practical speed of USB 3.0 and 7 times to that of eSATA.

Thunderbolt cable transfers data at a staggering speed of 10 GB per second.

The limiting factor for the practical speed of Thunderbolt is slower RAID controllers and Thunderbolt ports.

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