Sep 6, 2019

USB4 to Offer 40GB/s Bandwidth and Better Thunderbolt 3 Compatibility

The USB standard is about to step into a new generation as the USB4 standard has recently been announced. Once it does come out, it's definitely going to change the way people use computers and peripherals for the better.

The USB standard changed the way how computing is done - there was a time where various peripherals that were sold came in various port standards like serial port, parallel port, gaming port, etc. The USB standard essentially united most computer peripherals into using one common port, making it easier for consumers to shop for computer peripherals without fear of incompatibility.

Recently, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has ironed out all the issues about a new standard and are about to unleash a brand-new USB specification, the USB4 standard.

The USB4 standard promises to offer data transfer bandwidths of up to 40 gigabytes per second, which is double the speed of the current USB 3.2 standard. The good news here is that legacy devices using previous USB standards are also going to be backwards compatible as well, thus eliminating the risk of having to buy entirely new hardware in the near future.

On top of the added transfer speeds, the new USB4 standard is going to have better compatibility with Intel's Thunderbolt 3. Initially, companies had to pay for the right to use Thunderbolt 3 on their devices, but Intel has since realized that it's better if they provide the Thunderbolt 3 technology at no cost to the USB4 standard. This news is huge as this will open the way for more Thunderbolt 3 peripherals to be compatible with future devices, which is great since these offer high-bandwidth capabilities as well. An example of a common Thunderbolt 3 device that's highly popular is the eGPU.

Image: Thunderbolt 3 Cable

The new USB4 standard is also better equipped to handle bandwidth allocation for video as the technology is going to be smart enough to allocate the needed bandwidth for video while the rest is going to be used for data transfers. For example, if USB4 is going to be used to drive a Full HD-resolution monitor, it's only going to use 20 percent of the bandwidth, and USB4 will leave 80 percent free for data transfers to an external storage device.

The USB4 standard is going to use the current USB Type-C port, and this will remove the need to buy new peripherals. Since most current devices and peripherals come in USB Type-C, this is going to save a lot of people some money.

The USB4 standard might be unveiled sometime around next year, with some saying that the public will probably see USB4 around the second half of 2020 at the earliest. It's important to note that this technology will not come cheap and will probably be an added premium once supported devices start coming out.