Credit: Intel Corporation

Thunderstruck: Intel Announce Thunderbolt 4 Interface Standard

HIGH-speed connection protocol Thunderbolt is getting an update to a new standard, with Intel announcing the arrival of Thunderbolt 4 interface.

The current Thunderbolt 3 standard uses USB-C connections, which is set to continue with the new standard.

According to the official announcement from Intel, Thunderbolt 4 will deliver speeds of 40GB/s as well as being able to support docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to 2m long. Intel have also confirmed the new interface will be fully backwards compatibly with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C accessories, cables and the like too.

The upcoming Intel Tiger Lake laptop processors, due later this year. will be the first to use the new interface.

 Per Intel’s announcement:

“Thunderbolt 4 builds on the innovation of Thunderbolt 3 for a truly universal cable connectivity experience. Thunderbolt 4 always delivers 40 Gbps speeds and data, video and power over a single connection. It is the most comprehensive Thunderbolt specification yet with compliance across the broadest set of industry-standard specifications – including USB4, DisplayPort and PCI Express (PCIe) – and is fully compatible with prior generations of Thunderbolt and USB products.

Thunderbolt 4 certification requirements include:

  • Double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3.
    • Video: Support for two 4K displays or one 8K display.
    • Data: PCIe at 32 Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000 MBps.
  • Support for docks with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports.
  • PC charging on at least one computer port2.
  • Wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock.
  • Required Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection that helps prevent physical DMA attacks.”

Intel client connectivity division general manager Jason Ziller said Thunderbolt provided consumers with “a leading connectivity standard across a range of devices, helping to advance computing experiences and delivering on the promise of USB-C with simplicity, performance and reliability”.

“The arrival of Thunderbolt 4 underscores how Intel is advancing the PC ecosystem toward truly universal connectivity solutions,” he said.