There was a time when the USB 2.0 port on our PCs was fast enough to transfer countless songs and video clips. Now, we are in 2019 when we actually don’t need to transfer all that stuff (thanks to the streaming services) but the USB port has become a lot faster.
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has just announced the newest USB 4 specification that takes the speed numbers to 40Gbps, theoretically speaking. And that’s almost double the speed of the previous version, USB 3.2 that delivers up to 20Gbps.
However, it’s not something that Intel has done for the first time. USB 4 is a just a rebranded version of the Thunderbolt 3 interface that we’re seeing since the last three years. It’s just that Intel has made the technology royalty-free to promote its adoption.
Apart from the speed, USB 4 would support over 100 watts of power, run up to two 4K displays at the same time, and support external GPUs. Obviously, for achieving such high data transfer speeds one will require USB 4 compatible cables.
Just like it happens, USB 4 will be backward compatible with USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3. But an important thing to keep in mind that the new interface will be only be built into the Type-C ports (not for Type A) that have now become the latest trend on most of the laptop devices.
Also, one question that would need an answer is the naming, whether USB-IF would choose a confusing name. Like it did for the recently launched USB 3.2 specification, or as it’s called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2.
The development of the specification is currently going on with around 50 companies working on the final draft. The official launch of the USB 4 specification is expected to take place somewhere in the middle of 2019.