USB 4 brings the power of Thunderbolt 3 to everyone

The USB Implementers Forum has announced USB 4 — the newest iteration of the universal connector. It’s expected to boost the speeds of the current version substantially.

Reportedly, USB 4 will double its predecessor’s speeds to 40 Gbps. The current version, USB 3.2, tops out at 20 Gbps. For those of you familiar with the speeds Thunderbolt offers, that number might sound very familiar. Thunderbolt 3 already offers that kind of speed. Despite this, Intel made a resolution back in 2017 to make this standard available to other chipmakers. This would allow anyone to manufacture the tech, without having to pay royalty fees. It looks like USB 4 will accomplish that two-year-old resolution.

USB 4 will still be able to support up to 100W of power and features enough data throughput for external graphics card use. It also has enough juice to power two 4K displays or a single 5K display. You will need to be using a cord capable of 40 Gbps speeds if you want to get the full experience, but any Thunderbolt 3 cables should work with this port.

USB 4 is making this technology more widely available

Now, all of this is old technology. This basically means that USB 4 is playing the catch-up game. This technology is three years old. However, what is huge is that this is most likely going to make this technology more widely available and less expensive.

USB-IF hopes that by using the USB 4 standard, the USB ecosystem will be simplified. Instead of each USB device choosing which aspects of the standard it supports, the group wants to produce a list of features each kind of USB 4 device will have to offer in order to standardize features.

The world is big enough for both

Even though USB 4 will integrate Thunderbolt 3’s features, Intel says that the two standards can both exist together. Intel requires manufacturers to be certified to use Thunderbolt 3 and offers more support with reference designs and tech support. USB 4 will be open and anyone will be able to use it.

When is it coming?

USB 4 should be out sometime in the second half of this year. USB-IF said that it expects it to be another year and a half until manufacturers start producing devices using the new standard.

Sean Berry
Sean Berry
Sean Berry is Videomaker's Managing Editor.

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