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m3n4.net March 21, 2019


USB4 catches up to Thunderbolt 3 with 40Gbps data transfer speeds

05 March 2019, 12:24 | Antoinette Holland

Intel announces USB 4 standard

USB 4 Debuts With Twice the Throughput and Thunderbolt 3 Support

March 4, 2019 - The USB Promoter Group today announced the pending release of the USB4 specification, a major update to deliver the next generation USB architecture that compliments and builds on the existing USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 architectures. USB4 promises to double the transfer speeds of USB 3.2 thanks in part to a critical move made by Intel. Existing Thunderbolt 3 cables should be fine to continue to use with USB4 but if you have a USB 3.x cable with Type-C connectors, you may have to upgrade to make the most of the new options available. The event will provide detailed technical training on the new specification along with USB Type-C cable and USB Power Delivery training.

That 40Gbps speed has been available to users of Thunderbolt 3 for a few years now.

This will be fixed with USB 4.0, which will use one standard connector and bring the multiple connectivity standards together. Which means that next year, in a kitchen sink mashup, shoppers could potentially be looking at a cutting-edge PC with Thunderbolt 3 support baked into the CPU, in addition to USB4 and USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports. If you're still rocking USB 3.0 ports, those top out at 5 GBps throughout (according to Tom's Hardware), which the 40GBps USB 4 will blaze past.

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Firstly, not all devices have it and unless you've got the spec sheet in front of you, it's not really clear what devices do and don't support it.

Intel says that over 400 PC designs have come with Thunderbolt 3 support from the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo, Apple, and Asus, with the number of units shipped doubling each year into the "tens of millions".

What's the USB 4 release date? The release pegs the specification "to be published around the middle of 2019". So, all USB4 devices and ports will support Thunderbolt devices.

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Our expectations of common screen resolution and the fidelity of connected experiences ratchet up every day, but USB4 could very well accelerate those to the point where 4K or even sharper displays are the norm and file sizes in the gigabytes just aren't that big anymore.

Ultimately, relinquishing control over Thunderbolt 3 is indeed a "significant milestone for making today's simplest and most versatile port available to everyone", as Intel General Manager for Client Connectivity Jason Ziller said in a statement.

In recent years, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has developed this freaky habit of releasing specification updates that are often tremendous steps forward but are obscured by confusing, misleading, or downright bad naming.

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However, this expansion of Thunderbolt 3 into USB4 won't be as hugely democratizing as it first sounds - at least at first. "By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we're opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers".



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