Intel Says Thunderbolt 4 Is On The Way With 4X USB 3.2 Speed

Intel said Thunderbolt 4 will be supported by its processors in an upcoming generation at much higher speeds. No release date was given.

Intel executive vice president Gregory Bryant, in a CES 2020 presentation, referred to Thunderbolt 4 for the first time in public. It was mentioned as part of Intel's announcements for its upcoming "Tiger Lake" mobile processors.

In the comments, Intel was referring to the more recent update of USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, which is capable of up to 20 gigabits per second when using two lanes. This would put Thunderbolt 4 as reaching a throughput of up to 80 Gb/s.

Thunderbolt 3 currently uses four PCI-E 3.0 channels to achieve those speeds. Thunderbolt 4 probably would use four PCI-E 4.0 channels to get a higher speed.

It is also unclear whether Thunderbolt 4 will make it to market ahead of USB 4. Finalized in late 2019, USB 4 offers throughput of up to 40Gb/s, power delivery of up to 100W and backwards compatibility with earlier USB standards, along with Thunderbolt 3 connections. 

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