Intel announced today that it will succeed the Thunderbolt 3 universal connector with Thunderbolt 4, separately from USB4.
“Thunderbolt provides consumers with a leading connectivity standard across a range of devices, helping to advance computing experiences and delivering on the promise of USB-C with simplicity, performance and reliability,” Intel general manager Jason Ziller said in a prepared statement. “The arrival of Thunderbolt 4 underscores how Intel is advancing the PC ecosystem toward truly universal connectivity solutions.”
For some reason, I had thought that USB4 was the successor to Thunderbolt 3, but Intel’s announcement explains the differences, and that the firm will be pushing forward with both. And maybe the best way to describe it is that USB4 is a subset of Thunderbolt 4 that will offer a data transfer speed of 20 Gbps and 7.5-watts of power for accessories.
By comparison, Thunderbolt 4 will support 40 Gbps of performance, like Thunderbolt 3, but it will also support a minimum of two 4K displays, compared to just one for Thunderbolt 3. It will deliver at least 15-watts of power for accessories and, unlike USB4, will come with a variety of minimum requirements for device makers related to charging, wake from sleep, networking, and more.
Intel expects to ship the first Thunderbolt 4 chipsets later this year and says we can expect to see the standard implemented in PCs, accessories, and other devices by the end of 2020.