Does the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3 have Thunderbolt?
Lenovo’s ThinkPad T14 is one of best business laptops around if you want something that nails the basics without too many bells and whistles. For 2022, though, Lenovo actually upgraded it with some very welcome premium features, including a taller 16:10 displays and P-series Intel Core processors with a higher 28W TDP. Of course, the AMD model was also upgraded with new hardware, but AMD doesn’t have a family of CPUs that competes directly with the P-series. Either way, one of the premium features business users tend to appreciate is support for Thunderbolt, so how does the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 fare on that front? Well, it depends on whether you go Intel or AMD.
Here’s the thing: Thunderbolt is proprietary Intel technology, so for a long time, it was only available on Intel-powered laptops. That’s been changing a bit, and some AMD laptops come with USB4, which can match the specs of Thunderbolt, but that’s not the case with this one. You can get two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the Intel model, or two standard USB Type-C ports (USB 3.2 Gen 2) ports on the AMD variant. Let’s take a look at why that matters.
What is Thunderbolt and why do you need it on the ThinkPad T14?
Thunderbolt is wired connection interface that’s primarily developed by Intel. It uses a USB Type-C port, but beyond the physical appearance, Thunderbolt 4 can usually deliver much more versatility than a typical USB port. You get up to 40Gbps of bandwidth, meaning you can use up to two 4K external monitors at 60Hz, you can connect fast USB peripherals, and charge your laptop, all with a single port using a Thunderbolt dock like the one below.
And there’s something else – PCIe signaling, enabling support for external GPUs. PCIe is the interface that a computer’s components use to communicate with each other internally, and it’s typically a very fast connection. Among those components, GPUs also use PCIe connectivity to work with your laptop or PC. With PCIe signaling, a Thunderbolt port allows you to connect an external GPU enclosure, and thus, get you the power of a desktop graphics card, even if you have a thin and light laptop.
Recently, the USB Implementers Forum launched USB4, which is based on the Thunderbolt 3 spec that was licensed by Intel. In theory, USB4 can match Thunderbolt 4 in many ways, but many of the features that make Thunderbolt special are optional, so you won’t always get those features. Plus, Lenovo opted not to use USB4 ports in the ThinkPad T14, so you only get 10Gbps of bandwidth from them. There’s no support for external GPUs, and while you can use external monitors, you’ll be more limited in terms of resolution, refresh rate, or the number of total monitors.
What other ports do you get with the ThinkPad T14?
Just because it’s lacking Thunderbolt support, that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of connectivity options on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14, whether that’s the Intel or AMD model. In addition to the two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, you get two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, RJ45 Ethernet, a headphone jack, and an optional SIM card slot. You can still connect a decent amount of peripherals and displays if you need them.
And of course, that SIM card slot also means you have the option for optional cellular connectivity, in addition to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. Both models of the ThinkPad T14 support 4G LTE with up to Cat16 speeds, so you can connect to the internet securely from just about anywhere.
If you’re interested in buying the Lenovo ThinkPad T14 Gen 3, you can do so below. At writing time, only the Intel model is available to buy, as it launched in April. The AMD model is planned to be available in June, but you can check out the product page below as well. If you’re interested in something a bit different, check out our list of the best laptops overall to see some other options.