Intel has officially released information on the new Thunderbolt 4 standard which aims to push the universal connectivity to a new level. Announced first at CES 2020, the new standard continues to rely on the USB Type-C connector and will be backward compatible with Thunderbolt 3.
The new Thunderbolt 4 will offer the ability to transfer data along with power delivery over a single connection and complies to USB 4, DisplayPort, and PCI Express (PCIe) standards as well. Similar to Thunderbolt 3, It is claimed to deliver 40Gbps data transfer speeds. What’s new is that it is now upgraded to support two 4K display connectivity as well as PCIe support at 32Gbps. It will also allow docks to now offer up to four ports, whereas hardware OEMs were earlier limited to a maximum of two Thunderbolt ports.
For security, Thunderbolt 4 also requires Intel VT-d based direct memory access (DMA) protection to prevent physical DMA attacks. PCs featuring the new Thunderbolt 4 ports are expected to arrive later this year. Intel has also made it mandatory for manufacturers to have charging support on at least one Thunderbolt 4 port provided that the system requires less than 100 watts for charging.
Intel’s Tiger Lake mobile processors will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4, although Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series will also bring the new experience to various existing Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories. Apart from Intel’s own Project Athena, Lenovo has confirmed that it will be one of the early adopters of the new Thunderbolt 4 standard.