USB 4 Officially Announced: Supports Up to 40Gbps Transfer Speed

USB 4 Officially Announced: Supports Up to 40Gbps Transfer Speed

USB 4 Officially Announced: Supports Up to 40Gbps Transfer Speed

"By collaborating with the USB Promoter Group, we're opening the doors for innovation across a wide range of devices and consumer experiences to maximize adoption of Thunderbolt compatible products", said Jason Ziller, Intel's GM for the Client Connectivity division.

Another factor, which is not on the chart, is that the new standard, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, only works with USB Type-C ports. The USB Promoter Group, the standards body in charge of the USB specification, has formally introduced the USB4 specification in draft form today, with hopes of finalizing the standard within the next few months.

"The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution", said Brad Saunders, chairman of USB Promotor. This announcement means future devices and computers can use USB4 to shove files and other information between each other much faster, typically via physical USB-C connectors. The presence of USB 3.2 has also further muddied the naming waters of the USB ecosystem. The new speedy interface blends in Thunderbolt 3 support and offers twice the bandwidth of USB 3.2, meaning it supports up to 40 Gbps of throughput. By uniting USB and Thunderbolt, USB4 – as the promotor group prefers to call it – may also simplify things for users. That's finally happening, with the technology being integrated into USB 4. Another appealing facet is that Intel intends to integrate Thunderbolt 3 into upcoming 10nm processors, code-named "Ice Lake" and beyond.

To ensure consistent performance and quality standards, Intel manages a mandatory Thunderbolt 3 certification program that uses third-party test labs for verification.

The current USB 3.2 standard tops out at 20Gbps. But it seems the days of USB Type-A ports are numbered.

The USB 4 specification will be published in the middle of 2019 and will probably appear in devices in late 2020 or early 2021 - it usually takes around 1.5 years for devices to come to market once a new standard is published for the first time.

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. And those cables will need to be USB-C cables, so this will hasten the death of the old-style USB-A interface. While the specification will be backward compatible with devices as far back as USB 2.0 (using adapters, of course), those faster transfer rates will require "40Gbps certified cables".

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