News & Analysis

Intel reveals Thunderbolt 4 – Everything you need to know

Image source : Gizmodo

With Thunderbolt 3 becoming a standard feature in all the new premium laptops and other devices, Intel has yet again raised the bar higher by announcing the new Thunderbolt 4 standard that aims to take connectivity to a new level altogether.

Even though it was first announced in CES 2020, laptops and computers equipped with Thunderbolt 4 will only be commercially available in the latter part of the year. Compared to Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 4 comes with an unchanged maximum speed of 40 Gbps, however, it can support two 4K displays simultaneously making it ideal for users who use multiple high-resolution displays. 

It will also support one 8K display while Thunderbolt 3 could only support one 4K display. Additionally, with Thunderbolt 4 you’ll get ultra-fast storage speeds of 3000 megabytes per second.

Image source : Gizmodo

With Thunderbolt 4, Intel aims to increase the compatibility and support between the new standard and the ever-increasing number of gadget sporting USB Type-C. Intel has also revealed that the Thunderbolt 4 works on the same underlying protocol spec as USB 4 and as USB 4 is backwards compatible up to USB 2.0, new Thunderbolt 4 will also support any USB-C device up to USB 2.0.

In terms of security features, Thunderbolt 4 also requires Intel VT-d based direct memory access (DMA) protection to prevent physical DMA attacks. Intel has also mandated manufacturers to provide charging support to at least one Thunderbolt 4 port for systems that require less than 100 watts for charging.

Lenovo apart from Intel’s Project Athena laptops will be the first ones to feature Thunderbolt 4 ports and are expected to arrive later this year.

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