Thunderbolt 4 brings relevant upgrades over predecessor, USB4: Know more

Topics Intel | USB | Data speed

Thunderbolt 4 supports data transfer rate at 40 Gbps

The first computers and accessories with Thunderbolt 4 ports are expected to be available later this year, Intel said on Wednesday even as Lenovo confirmed that it is working with the chipmaker to introduce such devices.

Thunderbolt 4 is Intel's next generation universal cable connectivity solution, which succeeds four-year-old Thunderbolt 3.

For the first time, Thunderbolt 4 will offer docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to two meters in length, Intel said, adding that its upcoming mobile PC processors, code-named "Tiger Lake," will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4.

"The new capabilities and minimum requirements of Thunderbolt 4 will provide great experiences and increased productivity that our IT customers and end users require," Jerry Paradise, Vice President, Commercial Portfolio, Lenovo PC & Smart Devices, said in a statement.

"Lenovo is excited to work with Intel to expand our support of Thunderbolt with the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 PCs and the expanding portfolio of Thunderbolt accessories."

In terms of speed of data transfer, however, Thunderbolt 4 will hardly score over what yet-to-be released USB4 promises.

Thunderbolt 4 will transfer data at 40 Gbps, the same speed that Thunderbolt 3 offers.

The USB Promoter Group last year said that USB4 which is also expected to debut in products later this year, would incorporate Thunderbolt 3 technology.

Thunderbolt 4: Comparison

Intel also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, compatible with the hundreds of millions of Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories already available.

The chipmaker said it expects to deliver the new Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series later this year. They include JHL8540 and JHL8340 host controllers for computer makers; and JHL8440 device controller for accessory makers.

"Thunderbolt provides consumers with a leading connectivity standard across a range of devices, helping to advance computing experiences and delivering on the promise of USB-C with simplicity, performance and reliability," said Jason Ziller, Intel General Manager of the Client Connectivity Division.

"The arrival of Thunderbolt 4 underscores how Intel is advancing the PC ecosystem toward truly universal connectivity solutions."

Thunderbolt 4 is the most comprehensive Thunderbolt specification yet with compliance across the broadest set of industry-standard specifications -- including USB4, DisplayPort and PCI Express (PCIe) -- and is fully compatible with prior generations of Thunderbolt and USB products, Intel said.

Thunderbolt 4 certification requirements include support for two 4K displays or one 8K display.

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