Thunderbolt on AMD Laptops and Desktops

This post includes affiliate links, for which we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase using our links. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

This article examines the current state of Thunderbolt support on AMD laptops, the reasons behind its limited adoption, and the potential impact of USB4 on the future of Thunderbolt compatibility. USB4’s close relation to Thunderbolt 3 could change the landscape for Thunderbolt support on AMD laptops, offering potential benefits and challenges for AMD.

Thunderbolt technology has become increasingly important in modern computing, offering fast data transfer rates, support for multiple displays, and external GPU capabilities. Developed by Intel and Apple, Thunderbolt has been primarily associated with Intel-based systems. However, as AMD gains traction in the market, the question of Thunderbolt support on AMD laptops is becoming more relevant. In this article, we will delve into the history of Thunderbolt, its relationship with AMD, and the potential impact of USB4 on the future of Thunderbolt compatibility.

History of Thunderbolt and AMD

Thunderbolt was initially developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple, aiming to provide a high-speed interface for data and video transfer. While Intel-based systems have widely adopted Thunderbolt, AMD has been slow to embrace the technology, primarily due to licensing and cost issues. However, recent changes in Thunderbolt licensing have made the technology more accessible, opening the door for potential adoption by AMD.

Thunderbolt on AMD Laptops: Current Landscape

Currently, there is no Thunderbolt 3 support for AMD Laptops, mainly because of the licensing and cost concerns mentioned earlier.

The lack of Thunderbolt 3 support on AMD laptops is due to licensing and cost concerns. Thunderbolt is a proprietary technology developed by Intel, and any device that uses it must be certified by Intel and pay a licensing fee. In the past, this has made it difficult and expensive for non-Intel devices to support Thunderbolt. AMD, being a direct competitor of Intel, has not shown much interest in supporting Thunderbolt.

AMD Desktops – Thunderbolt Support

AMD desktop PCs have gradually started incorporating Thunderbolt support, particularly in systems using Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs. Specific motherboards and add-in cards can be used to provide Thunderbolt connectivity on AMD-based desktop PCs.

This expanded support caters to the needs of enthusiasts and professionals who require high-speed data transfer and versatile connectivity options. However, it is essential to note that Thunderbolt support is not as widespread on AMD desktops as it is on Intel-based systems.

USB4: Game Changer for Thunderbolt Support on AMD Laptops

USB4, an upcoming standard closely related to Thunderbolt 3, has the potential to change the landscape for Thunderbolt support on AMD laptops. USB4 incorporates many of the key features of Thunderbolt 3, offering high-speed data transfer rates and support for multiple displays. This new standard could pave the way for broader adoption of Thunderbolt-like capabilities on AMD laptops, opening up new possibilities for users and manufacturers.

That being said, not all AMD laptops with USB4 support Thunderbolt 3, as Thunderbolt 3 support depends on the laptop manufacturer’s implementation. While USB4 has incorporated key elements of Thunderbolt 3, the Thunderbolt 3 certification is not automatically granted to all USB4 implementations.

Additionally, there may be potential for future collaborations between AMD and Intel to further advance Thunderbolt implementations on AMD systems. Ultimately, the long-term outlook for Thunderbolt and USB4 technology on AMD laptops appears promising.

Feature USB4 Thunderbolt 3 Thunderbolt 4
Speed 20 Gbps to 40 Gbps Up to 40 Gbps Up to 40 Gbps
Connector USB Type-C USB Type-C USB Type-C
Power Delivery Up to 100W Up to 100W Up to 100W
Video Support DisplayPort, HDMI (via adapters) DisplayPort, HDMI (via adapters) DisplayPort, HDMI (via adapters)
Data Transfer PCIe, DisplayPort PCIe, DisplayPort PCIe, DisplayPort, USB4
Daisy Chaining No Yes (up to 6 devices) Yes (up to 6 devices)
Cable Length Up to 2 meters (40 Gbps) Up to 2 meters (40 Gbps) Up to 2 meters (40 Gbps)
Developed By USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) Intel Intel
Licensing and Royalties Open standard, royalty-free Proprietary, royalties required Proprietary, royalties required
Device Support Wide range of devices Select devices with certification Select devices with certification


While Thunderbolt support on AMD laptops remains limited, the introduction of USB4 and its close relationship with Thunderbolt 3 offers new opportunities for the future of Thunderbolt compatibility on AMD systems. As technology progresses and USB4 becomes more prevalent, enthusiasts and users can look forward to exciting developments in the realm of AMD laptops and Thunderbolt support.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts