Tip #1082: Thunderbolt 4 is Coming!

… for Codecs & Media

Tip #1082: Thunderbolt 4 is Coming!

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Thunderbolt 4 won’t be any faster, but it will be a lot more flexible.

The Thunderbolt logo.

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When Thunderbolt first came out in 2011, it was a niche interface specifically designed for media creators. Why? Because Thunderbolt is optimized for large files, while USB is optimized for smaller files. Since most people using computers are more likely to be browsing the web, word processing or creating spreadsheets, USB was the perfect protocol for them. Plus, it was cheap.

However, Intel and Apple, the two co-creators of Thunderbolt, were not standing still. Currently, all Macs come bundled with Thunderbolt 3. In July, Intel revealed more of what will be in Thunderbolt 4.

As a reminder, Thunderbolt is considered a “universal” solution because it’s capable of delivering fast transfer speeds, charging and video output over a single connection. Thunderbolt 4 is compliant with USB4, DisplayPort and PCIe Express standards, and is compatible with previous-gen Thunderbolt and USB products.

According to LaptopMag.com, “Thunderbolt 4 isn’t any faster than Thunderbolt 3 when it comes to maximum transfer speeds but it brings additional capabilities. Among those is the ability to connect to two 4K monitors or a single 8K monitor as a minimum requirement, an upgrade from the single 4K output offered by Thunderbolt 3. 

“Maximum data transfer speeds remain at 40 GBps but can now be achieved using a 2-meter universal cable. For comparison, USB4 matches Thunderbolt at 40 GBps but has a minimum requirement of 20 GBps. Additionally, Thunderbolt 4 will introduce accessories with up to four Thunderbolt ports.  

“As well, Intel is requiring one Thunderbolt 4 port to drive power to thin and lightweight laptops that need less than 100 watts to charge. PCs will also need to let you wake them from sleep by touching a mouse or keyboard when they are connected to a Thunderbolt dock.”

Thunderbolt 4 devices should be released before the end of 2020.


Sections of this article were taken from LaptopMag.com, written by Philip Tracy.

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