Home Tech News Apple’s $130 Thunderbolt 4 cable could be worth it, as seen in X-ray CT scans – Ars Technica

Apple’s $130 Thunderbolt 4 cable could be worth it, as seen in X-ray CT scans – Ars Technica

by Norman Scott

Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) Pro cable has been the subject of much debate since its release. With a price tag of $130 (or $160 for the 3-meter version), many have questioned whether a single cable, whose purpose is to transfer power and data, could really be worth such a high cost. To shed some light on this issue, Lumafield, a manufacturing-focused industrial CT scanner maker, conducted a comprehensive study comparing Apple’s cable with other cheaper options.

Using their Neptune Industrial X-Ray CT Scanner, which costs $75,000 per year, Lumafield was able to analyze the inner workings of Apple’s cable in great detail. The images obtained from the scanner, which can be viewed on Lumafield’s Voyager software, provide valuable insights into the construction and engineering of the cable.

One of the key findings of the study was that Apple’s cable features 24 pins, each mounted separately on a printed circuit board assembly. These pins are connected through a network of blind and buried vias, which are connection lines running between components. This intricate design allows the cable to reliably achieve the rated 40Gb/s data transmission rate. Additionally, the cable is encased in hard plastic, with a stainless steel shield bonded to the connector. The strain relief is also crimped on eight sides, ensuring durability and longevity.

In comparison, cheaper cables like the Amazon Basics model, which is priced at $10 and rated for 60W power and 480Mbps data transfer, have fewer pins and less robust construction. These cables often utilize metal shielding and strain relief that are not as sturdy as those found in Apple’s cable.

There are also sub-$10 cables available on the market, which, as expected, tend to have lower build quality. These cables lack shielding, have less reinforcement, and may not provide the advertised data transfer speeds.

While the high price of Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) Pro cable may deter some consumers, the study conducted by Lumafield suggests that there are significant differences in construction and engineering that justify the cost. The precision engineering and attention to detail found in Apple’s cable ensure its durability and reliability.

Ultimately, the choice of which cable to purchase depends on individual needs and preferences. If you want a cable that can withstand heavy use, support current and future power and data requirements, and minimize the chances of encountering cable-related issues, Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) Pro cable may be worth the investment.

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