USB4 announced; it’s based on Thunderbolt 3 and to offer 40Gbps data transfer


The USB promote group has announced the key specifications of upcoming USB4. This new USB standard is based on Intel’s Thunderbolt and can offer data transfer rates of up to 40 Gbps. Detailed specifications of USB4 will be published in the middle of 2019.

The new USB interface will use USB Type-C connectors and will remain backward compatible with USB 2.0, USB 3.2, and Thunderbolt 3 interfaces. It will support various display protocols and power delivery. It can deliver up to 100W of power and has enough data throughput to use in external graphics cards. It can also power two 4K displays or a single 5K display.

The data transfer rate will be up to 40 Gbps over 40 Gbps-certified cables. The high-speed data is accomplished by using two data channels on one cable and port. The USB firmware will split the data into two streams and then put it into the single stream on the receiving end. TO get the advantage of this, both the devices and cables must be USB4 compliant.

Here is the data transfer rate comparison with the previous interface.

USB 1.0USB 2.0USB 3.2 Gen 1USB 3.2
Gen 2
USB 3.2
Gen 2×2
12 Mbps480 Mbps5 Gbps10 Gbps20 Gbps40 Gbps

Even if USB4 is integrating Thunderbolt 3’s features, Intel has confirmed that the two standers will coexist. The reason is that USB 4 is open while Thunderbolt 3 is not.

Over 50 companies are participating in the final stages of the USB4 certification Intel is working with Microsoft to ensure full support on Windows 10 and it is also taking care of support for Linux.

Final specifications of USB4 will be published later this year and devices having USB4 won’t be available until the end of 2020.