Apple starts selling three-meter-long Thunderbolt 4 cables for $159

Tudor Cibean

Posts: 98   +6
Staff
In brief: Apple has just started selling its three-meter Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable. Priced at $159, it's currently the longest Thunderbolt 4 cable on the market supporting data transfers up to 40Gbps, DisplayPort video output, and up to 100 watts of power delivery.

Apple's new 3m-long Thunderbolt 4 Pro cable is now officially available to purchase for a steep $159. While that price tag might sound insane, it's currently the longest Thunderbolt 4 cable on the market.

Passive Thunderbolt cables have a maximum length of about 0.8m, but this is an active cable. That means there are chips and retimers inside of it working together to reduce signal jitter. You can check out the teardown of the 1.8m version of this cable here.

The cable supports a bevy of standards, including Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4, and USB 4 data transfers up to 40Gb/s, DisplayPort video output (HBR3), as well as up to 100W of power delivery. It's also braided to prevent tangling, a nice feature to have, considering the price.

Taking a quick look at Amazon, all cables with similar specs top out at 2 meters, although at way more reasonable prices. Now you could opt for one of Corning's optical Thunderbolt cables, which go up to 50m, but those are only data cables without power delivery.

However, if power delivery is all you're after, check out Club3D's new USB Type-C cables that can deliver up to 240W of power. They will probably be priced way lower, although the 40Gbps-capable one is limited to just 1m.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,262
A very inelegant solution: I've now seen a few content creators showing their mac studio set ups and 8 out of 10 times I see the same "Your desk set up is really clean, real nice....Except for the dangling thunderbolt hard drive awkwardly shoved in the side of your brand new box there" A longer cable just means a better chance to put it away but it's still not quite an elegant solution.

Since all of the mac studios have 10gb NICs afaik, I think it might be time for Apple to create an iNAS and unlike all other NAS vendors maybe they can even actually make it secure....Well for a little while longer at least.
 

dirtyferret

Posts: 761   +1,021
Screw that, just buy a one meter thunder cable and use the magic words

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VariableSpike

Posts: 84   +113
A very inelegant solution: I've now seen a few content creators showing their mac studio set ups and 8 out of 10 times I see the same "Your desk set up is really clean, real nice....Except for the dangling thunderbolt hard drive awkwardly shoved in the side of your brand new box there" A longer cable just means a better chance to put it away but it's still not quite an elegant solution.

Since all of the mac studios have 10gb NICs afaik, I think it might be time for Apple to create an iNAS and unlike all other NAS vendors maybe they can even actually make it secure....Well for a little while longer at least.
I don't think it would matter, half the problem with off the shelf nas sokutions getting targeted is that they all run fixed firmwares, which of course are a perfect attack vector, as the attacker can immediately constrain what they are working with and the kind of payloads they make (though the NAS makers are notoriously crap at identifying and fixing security holes before they become an issue) compared to self built ones, where there are way more configuration possibilities (Linux, Windows or some form of BSD, the different tools being used to manage the NAS etc.), and I don't particularly see Apple taking the free and open approach, along with the point that Apple devices haven't been immune to exploits in the past either.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
I don't think it would matter, half the problem with off the shelf nas sokutions getting targeted is that they all run fixed firmwares, which of course are a perfect attack vector, as the attacker can immediately constrain what they are working with and the kind of payloads they make (though the NAS makers are notoriously crap at identifying and fixing security holes before they become an issue) compared to self built ones, where there are way more configuration possibilities (Linux, Windows or some form of BSD, the different tools being used to manage the NAS etc.), and I don't particularly see Apple taking the free and open approach, along with the point that Apple devices haven't been immune to exploits in the past either.
Considering the amount of Apple products out there and the number of exploits, I'd trust them WAY more than any other company in making a NAS.

The M1 processors would be perfect for a NAS - the only flaw would be that they would probably charge double what everyone else would be charging for their systems...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,212   +4,262
I don't think it would matter, half the problem with off the shelf nas sokutions getting targeted is that they all run fixed firmwares, which of course are a perfect attack vector, as the attacker can immediately constrain what they are working with and the kind of payloads they make (though the NAS makers are notoriously crap at identifying and fixing security holes before they become an issue) compared to self built ones, where there are way more configuration possibilities (Linux, Windows or some form of BSD, the different tools being used to manage the NAS etc.), and I don't particularly see Apple taking the free and open approach, along with the point that Apple devices haven't been immune to exploits in the past either.
For the record I agree with pretty much everything you said here. However Apple is usually very adamant about their security claims as a marketing talking point so even if they have avoided most of the severe security concerns by targeting the consumer market almost exclusively (And want you to quickly forget about famous icloud breaches involving stealing compromising images from celebrities) the fact is that I think the way they are building -- their devices they kinda need a NAS to actually function optimally and knowing Apple they might not be happy about just letting others take the lead on that essential functionality.

So basically, I am kind of expecting to see them fumble if they have to enter a higher value target area like personal and small business NASes
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,707   +6,654
The M1 processors would be perfect for a NAS - the only flaw would be that they would probably charge double what everyone else would be charging for their systems...
It would not be an (cr)Apple product if they did not charge double (or more) what everyone else charges for the identical product. That double price is a badge of honor for (cr)Apple and their iSheep. šŸ¤£
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,466   +2,438
Good 3m cables aren't cheap. Add the Apple tax, and $159 isn't so bad.
This is probably one of the only times I'm not mad at Apple over the price of a product.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 512   +976
Good 3m cables aren't cheap. Add the Apple tax, and $159 isn't so bad.
This is probably one of the only times I'm not mad at Apple over the price of a product.

Not only are they not cheap, they did not exist until this one came about.

The article is not exactly accurate when it comes to Thunderbolt cable lengths.

Active Thunderbolt 3 copper cables can be up to 2 meters in length, while passive TB3 cables top out at 1 meter. However, passive Thunderbolt 4 cables extended the allowed length up to 2 meters.

This is the first available active TB4 cable and the first copper cable that is longer than 2 meters. It's a unique cable and almost perfect, except that we need a version that supports extended power delivery for up to 240 Watts instead of the 100 that this one allows.
 
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hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,466   +2,438
Not only are they not cheap, they did not exist until this one came about.

The article is not exactly accurate when it comes to Thunderbolt cable lengths.

Active Thunderbolt 3 copper cables can be up to 2 meters in length, while passive TB3 cables top out at 1 meter. However, passive Thunderbolt 4 cables extended the allowed length up to 2 meters.

This is the first available active TB4 cable and the first copper cable that is longer than 2 meters. It's a unique cable and almost perfect, except that we need a version that supports extended power delivery for up to 240 Watts instead of the 100 that this one allows.
I meant in general before signal/power degradation.
ie: HDMI, DP, USB etc.
 

Mjsun

Posts: 7   +9
Also wanted to comment that as someone who has actually needed to buy a longer TB cable, Apple is about the only game in town. All of you buying from Alibaba: have fun getting your hardware to actually do what is says in the box at full data rate with power delivery. USB C is awesome, but this is not the typical situation where if it plugs in it will work.
 

Dennis83

Posts: 41   +29
If powering devices further than just a few meters away is required, then Power over Ethernet still works and is cheap although wont deliver that bandwidth of course. Since these cables need a decent quality and reliability they can claim that price if they actually can deliver it. Maybe slap a lifelong warranty on it, then there is less ground for complaints about the price.