USB4 Leverages Thunderbolt 3 Protocol Doubling Speeds To 40Gbps

USB4 Leverages Thunderbolt 3 Protocol Doubling Speeds To 40Gbps

That's because the USB-C port can be a Thunderbolt port, but it can also be a standard USB 3.x port.

As of Thunderbolt 3, Intel has made the spec available royalty free, and the USB Promoter Group is pouncing by officially injecting it into USB4.

Intel has already announced that it is baking in support for the Thunderbolt 3 specification directly into its forthcoming 10nm Ice Lake processors, eliminating the need for third-party control chips.

USB4 also offers support for more data and display protocols so you'll be better able to take advantage of that higher transfer rate.

Over 50 companies are now involved in the standard, especially those behind the USB Promoter Group - Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, ST Microelectoronics and Texas Instruments.


The USB Promoter Group revealed information about the upcoming USB4 specification today in a press release.

USB 3.2 has been kicking around since 2017, but recent stirrings at MWC 2019 indicate that we should be seeing the technology actually land on shipping devices soon. The USB Type-C connector is still in use, which has expanded over the years to not only supports devices like smartphones and external storage devices, but also external displays and other peripherals.

When will the first consumer devices with USB4 support be released?

"The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution", said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman.

While it's early days for the USB4 specification - the USB Promoter Group is expected to unveil details later this year - we're now looking at the new protocol bringing 40Gbps speeds and the simplicity of USB-C to the masses. "The convergence of the underlying Thunderbolt and USB protocols will increase compatibility among USB Type-C connector-based products, simplifying how people connect their devices", says Intel.


Considering that the USB-IF and USB-PG are closely related, this new nomenclature will be the new standard and last weeks announcement just a memory. In addition, unlike the USB 3.0/3.1/3.2 era, which uses the color interface for intergenerational differentiation, USB 4 does not have this requirement.

The USB-C connector was created to be future proof and reversible. It is not uncommon, especially for low-end devices, to only support USB 2.0, or include more USB 2.0 ports than USB 3.0 ports.

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.

"The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this [by] enabling the further doubling of performance".


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