USB 4 is now official and can deliver up to 40Gbps speed

USB 4 is now official and can deliver up to 40Gbps speed

They're bad, but at least they give you an idea of how fast each "USB 3.2" standard is, which is a lot better than the "1", "2", and "2x2" conventions. Here's what's happening and why.

But Thunderbolt 3 is a proprietary spec that belongs to Intel, which until recently limited PC makers' ability to include it in their products without paying royalties. It works over the USB-C connector these days (although previously worked over DisplayPort before USB-C was common). So, we'll only get our hands on USB4 compatible devices later this year, or early next year. But if the specs of USB4 sound familiar, that's because they're based on the Thunderbolt 3 standard already implemented in most Macs.

Secondly, the same devices can have ports that are Thunderbolt compatible and some ports that aren't Thunderbolt compatible - even though they look the same. Of course, it is much more open than Thunderbolt 3, because the use of Thunderbolt 3 must be strictly certified by Intel (only 463 models so far). Thus, USB4 will offer up to 40Gbps speeds, double the speed of the USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 standard (AKA SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps).

Why it couldn't be called "USB 4" (with a space) versus "USB4" (no space) is another question, but if it ultimately makes things less confusing in the long run, we'll give the USB Promoter Group a pass. Finally. This is a direct result of Intel's push to make Thunderbolt more widely available (without royalties). “The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this experience by optimizing the blend of data and display over a single connection and enabling the further doubling of performance.”.

Thanks to their lack of an obsession over stringing letters and numbers to the back of USB 3 we will end up with a certified standard that provides "two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C cables and up to 40 Gbps operation over 40 Gbps-certified cables" (pdf link).

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The USB4 specification is expected to be published around the middle of 2019 but it will take another year or two for it to show up in consumer devices.

It's worth understanding that the USB Promoter Group is exactly what it says on the tin, a "group" made up of key contributors such as Apple, Intel, HP, and Microsoft, amongst others.

What will happen to the connector?

. And those cables will need to be USB-C cables, so this will hasten the death of the old-style USB-A interface. It will be staying.

In the mean time, the USB Promoter Group promised backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3 peripherals.

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