USB 4 Debut Brings Thunderbolt 3 Speeds to Everyone, Royalty-Free

Essentially mimicking the current spec for Thunderbolt 3, the USB Promoter Group has today announced the spec for its USB 4 standard, offering twice the bandwidth of USB 3.2 with up to 40 Gbps of throughput.

According to The Verge, USB 4 can deliver up to 100W of power and has enough data throughput for the use of external graphics cards, and to power two 4K displays, or a single 5K display.

Users will need to use cables that are capable of 40 Gbps speeds to enjoy the standard’s full benefits, although any existing Thunderbolt 3 cables and accessories will also work with the new port.


However, although USB 4 will integrate Thunderbolt 3’s features, Intel says that the two standards will coexist. While USB 4 is open, Thunderbolt 3 is not, and Intel requires manufacturers to be certified to use it.

“Outside of its specs, the USB-IF is also hoping to use the USB 4 standard as a means of simplifying the USB ecosystem. Rather than each USB device picking and choosing which aspects of the standard it supports, the group wants to produce a list of features each kind of USB 4 device will have to offer, which could standardize features such as display out and audio out.”

While the USB 4 standard is essentially just catching up with the three-year-old Thunderbolt 3 technology, by becoming an open standard it’s likely to become both more widely available and cheaper.