Apple’s $130 Thunderbolt 4 cable may be as valuable as seen on X-ray CT scans – Ars Technica

Zoom in / Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) Pro cable connector with its reinforced, grounded metal shell (left) and its single-piece crimped cable strain relief (right).

When Apple finally moved to USB-C, it did so in a very Apple way. This includes prasadam $130 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) Pro Cable, which is actually $160 if you need the full 3 meters. Could a cable, an object that transmits power and data and is completely overlooked, be worth that kind of money?

Lumafield, a manufacturing-minded manufacturer of industrial CT scanners, He explored this question in three dimensions. After scanning Apple’s top-of-the-line cable, A $10 Amazon Basics sampleAnd with USB-C cables priced at $5.59 and $3.89, Lumafield has no definitive answer other than “we buy cables that meet our needs” and “there’s a lot of room for clever engineering and efficient manufacturing” inside a seemingly limited spec like USB-C. .

But if your goal is to buy a cable that will withstand abuse, today’s power and data speeds, and tomorrow’s work at a reasonable distance, shall we say, and cross cables off the list of things to worry about? Lumafeld’s images show why Apple’s Alpha-Cable might be worth it.

24 pins, 9 layer board, stainless steel

The Neptune Industrial X-ray CT Scanner It’s 6 feet wide and costs $75,000 a year on a standard contract, including advanced imaging and diagnostic software and support. By tucking in Apple’s Thunderbolt 4 Pro USB-C cable, the Neptune was able to see everything that went into it. You can also see it inside Web version of Lumiafield’s Voyager software.

Through radiation and computed tomography, you can see that the Apple’s cable has 24 pins, each mounted on an individual printed circuit board assembly. Those pins go through a “forest of blind and buried vias,” or connection lines that run between components, internal layers (blind) and sometimes across them (buried). Great care is taken to reliably achieve the rated 40Gb/s data transfer rate. Parallel traces running from a line around a curve are set in “wiggles”, the distance to the trace on the inner track is the wreath.

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All these are encased in hard plastic and cast on a stainless steel shield that is fully bonded to the connector and a single-piece strain is crimped on eight sides at the junction of the stem with the connector. The cable is, as Lumafeld says, “a stunning piece of precision engineering.”

About a $5 cable looks like a $5 cable since it was discontinued on Amazon.

About a $5 cable looks like a $5 cable since it was discontinued on Amazon.

Very pro cables

Apple’s cable is rated higher than most other USB-C cables you can buy, supporting Thunderbolt 4, USB 4, 40GB/s and 100 W of power. However, you might be surprised how different a low-rated, low-cost cable can be. Very different, sometimes not in the price/design range you’d think, but it turns out.

see Amazon Basic Cable. There is a metal shield, a very low-strength strain relief and a fully grounded shell. There are parts necessary for its assessment.

And then there are the sub-$10 cables, and, well, they stay the same. A $5 cable—since discontinued on Amazon—has no shields, an ungrounded and unreinforced shell, rubber strain relief, and pins that run straight to the wires, with no board in between. It also doesn’t seem capable of delivering the speed it claims. A nearly $4 cable actually has that cable punch, with 24 full pins, probably a very solid connection, and actually uses only a few of them for a power-only connection.

In-browser software can be used to obtain a full X/Y/Z and 3-D rotation view of each cable On Lumafield’s site. A $130 cable may still seem like a no-brainer to you, but the inside of an expensive cable can sometimes be more than just hot air.

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Lumafeld’s Catalog Fig

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