Finally, a long, active Thunderbolt 3 cable is available.
Originally released in 2015, Thunderbolt 3 as an interface has grown leaps and bounds in the past 12 months. In 2016, Apple released their professional line of laptops (the MacBook Pro) with only USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports for connectivity. It is a proprietary hardware interface developed by Intel that can transfer data up to 40 Gbps, halves power consumption, and can simultaneously connect two external 4K displays at 60 Hz (or a single external 4K display at 120 Hz).
Until recently, I have not been seeking out extra Thunderbolt 3 cables because I was receiving them with docks and other external devices. I purchased my current laptop in 2016 and at the time, there were two types of Thunderbolt 3 cables — active (up to 40Gbps) and passive (up to 20Gbps). The active cables were limited to a specific length — 0.5m — with the longer cable options having the slower speeds. Today, active cables are also available as the longer lengths. XCELLON has a nice line of Thunderbolt 3 cables including the TB3-540-2 Thunderbolt 3 Cable, which is 6.6 feet long.
The XCELLON TB3-540-2 Thunderbolt 3 Cable is an active Thunderbolt 3 cable for user with Thunderbolt and USB devices. As an active cable it features transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps and power delivery of up to 100W for laptops and high resolution displays. Users can also daisy-chain up to 6 Thunderbolt devices. It supports up to 5K 60 Hz or dual 4K 60 Hz displays and also acts as a reversible USB Type C connector. This particular cable is 6.6-feet in length (2m) but there are other cables in varying lengths that are also active.
The cable comes in a simple retail package. It’s a clear package with a simple cardboard topper that has a cutout for use when hanging it on a rack with other packages. The package is labeled with the length, speed, and power delivery capabilities. The back of the cardboard topper does highlight the fact that the cable has a one-year limited warranty. While the packaging is simple, I think it’s more than effective for this type of product.
The Thunderbolt 3 cable feels like a heavyweight cable even though it’s flexible. There are no cable wraps or twist-ties included with the cable, but it stays wrapped up pretty well on its own. I compared it to other Thunderbolt 3 cables that came with various docks and accessories and it feels very similar in quality. In addition to simply observing the quality of the cable I did do a disk speed test using a flash drive connected to a Thunderbolt 3 dock. I ran the test twice — once with a short cable and the second time with the XCELLON 6.6-foot cable. I ended up getting the same speed results with both cables. I can also comment that all the other devices connected to the dock were useable (keyboard, monitor, power delivery to the laptop) and worked quite well.
I am very excited to have a longer cable for use with Thunderbolt 3 compatible devices. It’s been a struggle trying to plan desk set-ups with a short cable. I have been making the shorter TB3 cables work for the past couple of years, but I’m glad to be graduating to a long, active cable.
For more information, visit XCELLON