This connection was to eventually use fibre optics, although its first implantations used standard copper wires. This interface allows the use of protocols DisplayPort and PCI Express in the same interface. The connector Mini DisplayPort,
which was already present on Apple's computers, was chosen as the standard interface for Thunderbolt.
Version 3 of the Thunderbolt switches to the TYPE C USB connector, and therefore allows the use of the standard USB protocol on the same interface.
This version endorses the use of copper, as the use of cable as a power supply is also an important part of this interface.
The first computers to use it are, in chronological order, MacBook Pros, iMacs, MacBook Airs and Mac minis from Apple. They use Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors running on Sandy-Bridge, Ivy Bridge, Haswell and Skylake micro-architects.
Connectors Thunderbolt 1 and 2 are fully compatible with the standard Mini DisplayPort to be able to connect external monitors.