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FAQ: Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) Cables

Due to variables like speed, active vs. passive, length, brand, and more, finding the right Thunderbolt 3 cable for your application can be confusing. But don't worry - finding a cable that will be compatible with your Arrow is easy once you know what you're looking for. See the frequently asked questions below for help finding the right Thunderbolt 3 cable for your Arrow. 

Are all USB-C cables compatible with Arrow?

No. Arrow is a Thunderbolt 3 device and requires a Thunderbolt 3 cable. Not all USB-C cables support Thunderbolt 3 - some can only be used for power, or for other data protocols such as USB 3 / USB 3.1. You will need a USB-C cable that specifically supports Thunderbolt 3 for compatibility with Arrow.

For details, see this article.  

I see Thunderbolt 3 cables with different ratings like "20 Gbps" and "40 Gbps." Are these compatible with Arrow?

Yes. These numbers refer to the data transfer rate of the cable. Thunderbolt 3 cables come in two speeds - 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps. Arrow is compatible with both varieties. Note that 40 Gbps cables are typically more expensive than 20 Gbps cables, and there are no differences in performance when using Arrow with a higher speed cable.

Is Arrow compatible with active and passive Thunderbolt 3 cables?

Yes. Active and passive Thunderbolt 3 cables can be used with Arrow. Note that active cables are typically more expensive than passive cables, and there are no differences in performance when using Arrow with an active cable over a passive cable. 

What length of cable should I use with Arrow?

Arrow is compatible with any length Thunderbolt 3 cable as long as the cable is certified by Intel as Thunderbolt 3 compliant. In general, shorter is better when it comes to data cables so we recommend using the shortest length that will suit your particular setup. 

Do I need a particular brand of Thunderbolt 3 cable?

No. Arrow is compatible with any brand of Thunderbolt 3 cable, as long as the cable is certified by Intel to support Thunderbolt 3. We've tested Arrow with active and passive Thunderbolt 3 cables in multiple lengths from Belkin, StarTech, and CableMatters. 

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