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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 Apollo X 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 Apollo X Series interface. 

Are all USB-C cables compatible with Apollo X?

No. Apollo X 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 Apollo X.

For details, see this article.  

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

Yes. These numbers refer to the data transfer rate of the cable. Thunderbolt 3 cables come in two speeds - 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps. Apollo X 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 Apollo X with a higher speed cable.

Is Apollo X compatible with active and passive Thunderbolt 3 cables?

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

What length of cable should I use with Apollo X?

Apollo X 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. Apollo X 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 the Apollo X Series interfaces with active and passive Thunderbolt 3 cables in multiple lengths from Belkin, StarTech, and CableMatters. 

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