USB 4 merges with Thunderbolt 3 and Intel wants to integrate it into all its hardware


It seems that the future of USB connectivity is shaping up and from an announcement by Intel regarding the integration of Thunderbolt 3 in all its future devices we get information about the next USB 4 protocol. Within the chaos of the new USB 3.2 nomenclatures we find the introduction of the USB specification 4 that equates in specifications to its most powerful rival.

A few weeks ago we knew the new definition USB 3.2 that will unify the current conventions to new ones making them quite confusing. The future nomenclature will cancel the previous one so we have to familiarize ourselves with it.

  • USB 3.1 Gen1 = USB 3.2 Gen 1 = 5 Gbps
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 = USB 3.2 Gen 2 = 10 Gbps
  • USB 3.1 Gen3 = USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 = 20 Gbps

For now the announcement of the new specification USB 4 is somewhat ambiguous and we only know that it will reach up to 40 Gbps which equates it Thunderbolt 3 in this aspect, it remains to define the level of electrical power that supports but is supposed to reach up to 100W. On the other hand we have backward compatibility with all previous USB 3.2 modes and alternative connection modes such as HDMI video output (we expect 2.0), MHL and DisplayPort are assumed to be version 1.4.

We hope that in the coming months the USB-IF will release more details of the future USB 4, for now the integration with Thunderbolt 3 is good news and maybe Apple can use the USB Type-C connector as a global standard. We will also see to what extent Intel will integrate USB 4 / Thunderbolt 3 in all devices or only in the high range.

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