The next generation of PCs and mobile devices with USB-C ports will soon be able to offer the same data transfer speeds as Thunderbolt ports.
USB4 will be able to deliver data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps (Gigabits per second) when connecting compatible devices with USB-C cables. USB4 has been based on Thunderbolt 3, which Intel just contributed to the USB group and made available for royalty-free implementation.
The announcement comes after a press release from the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) stated what the next generation of Universal Serial Bus technology would be.
The built-in Thunderbolt means that it will become cheaper for device makers to include certain technology in their products. According to Android Central, these could include 100 watts of power on demand, those 40Gbps transfer rates and support for eight lanes of DisplayPort data. This will mean that two 4K HDR displays at 60 Hz or one 5K display would be fully supported. With it becoming cheaper to include, it could help to bring the costs down of purchasing devices that support USB4.
Speaking about Thunderbolt, Jason Ziller, General Manager of Client Connectivity at Intel said that the move would benefit users:
Releasing the Thunderbolt protocol specification is a significant milestone for making today’s simplest and most versatile port available to everyone.
By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we’re opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and increasing compatibility to deliver better experiences to consumers.
In order to hit the maximum speed, you’ll have to use 40Gbps-certified cables to hit the maximum speed which are USB-C to USB-C cables only. More good news is that USB4 will also be backward compatible with all USB specifications and also all Thunderbolt 3 devices.
While this all sounds incredible, you’re probably not going to reap the benefits of USB4 until next year. The USB-IF, which manages the specifications of the USB, says that 50 tech companies are currently participating in a final review of the USB4 tech. Based on their opinions and analysis, the full specifications are set to be published around the middle of the year.
Among the companies reviewing the technology are Apple, Microsoft, Intel, HP and many more. It is expected that the manufacturers testing USB4 will go on to use the new specification whenever it becomes available.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.