What’s New: Today, Intel revealed new details about Thunderbolt™ 4, the next generation of its universal cable connectivity solution, delivering increased minimum performance requirements, expanded capabilities and USB4 specification compliance. For the first time, Thunderbolt 4 will offer docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Intel’s upcoming mobile PC processors, code-named “Tiger Lake,” will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4. Intel also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, compatible with the hundreds of millions of Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories already available. Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification testing are now available.
“Thunderbolt provides 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.”
–Jason Ziller, Intel general manager of the Client Connectivity Division
Why It Matters: Thunderbolt products deliver a consistent, industry-leading set of capabilities for connecting computers to data, video and power with the simplicity of just one USB Type-C port. Connect to powerful Thunderbolt docks, displays, fast storage or any USB accessory for a clutter-free workspace. To ensure a consistent best-in-class1 experience and ease of use across a wide range of product types and manufacturers, Intel works closely with its ecosystem of computer, accessory and cable partners to employ mandatory certification for all Thunderbolt products.
“We expect Thunderbolt 4 products to be an inflection point for accessory makers who depend on PCs and Macs to offer an industry-leading set of product capabilities for a consistent user experience. The advancements in Thunderbolt 4 will help Kensington redefine the modern workspace of the future,” said Ben Thacker, vice president and general manager at Kensington.
“The new capabilities and minimum requirements of Thunderbolt 4 will provide great experiences and increased productivity that our IT customers and end users require,” said Jerry Paradise, vice president, Commercial Portfolio, Lenovo PC & Smart Devices. “Lenovo is excited to work with Intel to expand our support of Thunderbolt with the introduction of Thunderbolt 4 PCs and the expanding portfolio of Thunderbolt accessories.”
What It Delivers: 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. (Read more in the Thunderbolt Security Brief.)
When It Is Available: Later this year, Intel expects to deliver the new Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, including:
- JHL8540 and JHL8340 host controllers for computer makers.
- JHL8440 device controller for accessory makers.
The first computers and accessories with Thunderbolt 4 ports are also expected to be available this year, including laptops based on Intel’s innovation program code-named “Project Athena.”