It seems that Intel has gotten serious with its Thunderbolt connector, with the new version Thunderbolt 4 intends to unify in the same platform all the specifications of the previous versions and the future USB 4. In the specifications of this new format we have much more clear the minimum requirements, we have double 4K video output and the cables can be up to 2 meters, no doubt a simple and clear strategy away from the chaos of USB.
The new specification of Thunderbolt 4 marks a minimum transfer of 40 Gb/s without the possibility of making it optional, something that with Thunderbolt 3 was quite confusing. On the other hand it allows for a cable length of 2 meters and the option to create peripherals with up to 4 Thunderbolt ports.
It also allows charging on one of the ports controlled by this technology and allows waking up from sleep mode. In the same way as in Thunderbolt 3 we have a power supply of up to 15 W although in Thunderbolt 4 we have Intel VT-d security protections and full compatibility with USB4 specifications.
With Thunderbolt 4 we have the possibility to connect any peripheral compatible with Thunderbolt 3, and we add the option to create connection docks of up to 4 ports with this technology which before was limited to only two ports. To simplify the adoption of the manufacturers Intel already has prepared its family of controllers JHL8540 and JHL8340 for computers, the JH8440 for accessories and the Intel Tiger Lake processors will be the first to integrate a Thunderbolt 4 controller.
Apple will also continue to use Thunderbolt 4 in its new Apple Silicon computers with ARM architecture. For now, it seems to be the connection platform that unifies more manufacturers and offers more specifications, something good to fight against connector fragmentation.