Thunderbolt 3 and USB Converge With New 40 Gbps USB4 Specification

The USB Promoter Group standards body today announced the pending release of a new USB4 specification.


USB4 converges the Thunderbolt and USB protocols as part of Intel's goal to make Thunderbolt available on a royalty-free basis, which should result in wider and cheaper availability of Thunderbolt accessories like docks and eGPUs.

As USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3, it offers data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps, which is twice as fast as the bandwidth of the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 specification. USB4's underlying Thunderbolt 3 protocol also means the specification supports up to two 4K displays or one 5K display over a single cable.

The simplest way to view USB4 is as Thunderbolt 3, but royalty free for manufacturers. Intel will continue to offer Thunderbolt 3 on a standalone basis with a few advantages over USB4, including more support with reference designs and technical issues for manufacturers, according to The Verge.

USB4 will use the USB-C connector design and will be backwards compatible with USB 3.2 and USB 2.0 specifications.

The USB4 specification is on track to be published around the middle of 2019. Over 50 companies are actively participating in the final stages of review of the draft specification, which should include Apple, Intel, and Microsoft, but it might take a few years until the first USB4 devices are released.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

10 months ago
USB4.0 Gen 1 = USB 3.0 = USB 3.1 Gen 1
USB4.0 Gen 2 = USB 3.1 Gen 2
USB4.0 Gen 3 = USB 3.2 20Gbps
USB4.0 Gen 4 HyperSpeed 40 = Thunderbolt 3
Rating: 40 Votes
10 months ago
Watch Apple will get confused and come out with another cable standard again.
Rating: 31 Votes
10 months ago


Rating: 22 Votes
10 months ago

I find it hard to believe that apple will continue down this road for much longer.


They'll drop all the ports entirely first...
Rating: 14 Votes
10 months ago

Seriously I said this in 2016 and 2017. ( I need to big that up ) And said we need USB 4 instead of all the mess we have with USB 3.2

Finally they are doing something about it!.

Edit:

This means USB-C will now be the only option. No more USB 3.0 / USB 3.1 ( Or as they are now called USB 3.2 Gen1 / Get 2 ) with Type A Connector. Every USB 4 will be USB-C.

And since USB 4 will mandate the 40Gbps and Thunderbolt 3, it means there is certain quality assurance to USB 4 cable.

Finally, there will be a possibility that iPhone will switch to USB 4, may be just USB 4 with 5Gbps Speed. And I am happy to see this change. ( That is assuming they don't mess up the USB 4 Spec )

Can’t believe they ignored you for 2–3 years! Who do they think they are?! :eek:
Rating: 13 Votes
10 months ago
What a cluster.
Rating: 12 Votes
10 months ago
This is wonderful news! Of course, by mid-2019, Thunderbolt 4 will be ready. I wonder if Thunderbolt will always be one generation ahead of USB, or if they'll full merge the two standards?
Rating: 11 Votes
10 months ago
No worries. Many on this forum just want good ol' USB-A on thick laptops.
Rating: 11 Votes
10 months ago
I guess this is the demise of the SCSI. ;)
Rating: 11 Votes
10 months ago
can we just merge it and go one thing?
Rating: 10 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]