USB-C vs Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Streaming

USB-C Docks get very hot!

When I added another Magewell Capture Card to my Ecamm Live setup to my USB-C dock – I noticed my video started to drop frames. I had a feeling that two capture cards including HDMI output was throwing a lot of data through the USB-C port.

2GB per second for capture cards

Cam Link uses about 2Gbps of bandwidth (Uncompressed 1080p60 video) and two Cam Links may be overloading the USB controller if you use more than one on a single USB port controller. Cam Link also by default comes in the bulk USB transfer mode. This mode of transferring audio/video over USB is more compatible with Windows systems, but may cause issues on macOS systems. Magewell cards do not need this configuration change.

Full Speed 40GB per second

40 Gbps data transfer rates is fast enough for whatever you plug in. You’ll maintain full speed even when fully loaded and running multiple peripherals at once. You can transfer 3 hours of 4K action camera footage in less than a minute. That’s 8x faster than USB 3.0.

Dropped Frames with USB-C

The reason why I chose the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock is because it had the necessary ports I needed in a small package. I do wish it had two USB 3.1 ports though.

Thunderbolt™ 3 Dock Mini HD

This compact dock connects to your computer via a single tethered cable. Dual HDMI 4K ports at 60Hz allow you to connect two 4K monitors to your laptop, to experience fast, high definition visuals across multiple screens. Use a keyboard, mouse, or other peripherals via the USB-A 3.0 and USB-A 2.0 ports and enjoy a secure and reliable network connection through the gigabit Ethernet port.

Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini W/Thunderbolt 3 Cable

USB-C vs Thunderbolt 3 - What's the Difference?

Thunderbolt has evolved over the years (Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, and Thunderbolt 3). The newest version- Thunderbolt 3- has now integrated USB-C in order to provide consumers with a universal port, making Thunderbolt 3 the internal capability and USB-C the shape of the port . Because of this upgrade, many are confused about the difference between the two.

Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 travels at 40Gbps, making it twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2 for data connection.
Thunderbolt 3 can present video content on two 4K displays or one 5K display at 60Hz.


USB types refer to the shape and design of the cable and port. USB versions refer to their capabilities (such as speed/ power) and cable compatibility. USB-C ports are used by almost all devices that support USB 3.1

USB Type C shares the same shape as Thunderbolt 3

Thunderbolt 3 vs USB-C Ports

Differences between USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 for Live Streaming

Thunderbolt 3 has the capabilities of USB-C, but USB-C does not have the capabilities of Thunderbolt 3. The Thunderbolt 3 port has the same design as the USB-C port. However, if you were to connect a Thunderbolt 3 cable to a USB-C port you would have restrictions on capabilities.


Capture cards require a lot of bandwidth to push data. It's speed allows for quicker access more data when compared to USB-C. Thunderbolt 3 works at 40Gbps while USB-C works at 10 Gbps.

USB-C Hubs are HOT

My USB-C hub gets VERY hot compared to my TB3 Dock. Heat definitely affects performance. The more devices that are connected, the hotter it gets.

USB Hubs may not have enough bandwidth

There could be bandwidth issues if too many devices are connected to the same internal USB hub or controller. Please make sure the USB hub is USB 3.0 compatible. USB ports are controlled by what is called a USB controller. These controllers are used for pairs of USB ports. This isn’t an issue with Thunderbolt 3.

Use different ports

Disconnecting other devices or connecting them to different ports can help.

If both USB ports are occupied by high bandwidth device such as USB capture devices, external hard drives, webcams, etc the available bandwidth may be used up.

Not all USB-C Cables are the Same

USB-C stands for the shape and type of connector, which is the same for all USB-C cables but not all cables support the same kind of protocols and transfer speeds.

Thunderbolt 3 Devices

A Thunderbolt 3 cable is required. For the best transfer rates and to make full use of the Thunderbolt 3 interface, we recommend using a cable that supports 40Gbps.

USB-C Devices

We recommend using either a USB cable that supports 10Gbps or a Thunderbolt cable that also supports USB 3.1 Gen 2.

TLDR (Too Long Didn't Read)

Buy a Thunderbolt 3 dock that has the ports you need

Popular Thunderbolt 3 Dock