Intel reveals Thunderbolt 4 speeds and specifications

Intel has detailed the performance capabilities and specifications of its Thunderbolt 4 connectivity solution.

The updated USB-C-based connection features the same overall 40Gb/s transfer speed of Thunderbolt 3.

However, Intel has upped the minimum specifications for devices that will integrate the company’s Thunderbolt 4 host controllers.

Among these specifications, it has double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3.

This means computers with a Thunderbolt 4-compliant port will require connectivity support for two 4K displays or a single 8K display.

In addition, devices will need to have increased data storage capability, with PCI Express at 32Gbps for storage speeds of up to 3,000MB/s.

Other minimum requirements include the following:

  • Support for docks with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports.
  • PC charging on at least one computer port for thin-and-light laptops that require less than 100W to charge.
  • 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.

This will address the critical vulnerability dubbed “Thunderspy”, which could potentially allow hackers to steal data from locked devices or encrypted storage through physical access to the Thunderbolt port.

The table below compares the minimum specification requirements for Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4 and USB3.

Thunderbolt 4 minimum specifications


Thunderbolt 4 availability

The company said Thunderbolt 4 complies with the broadest set of industry-standard specifications – including USB 4, DisplayPort and PCI Express (PCIe) – and is fully compatible with prior generations of Thunderbolt and USB products.

Intel expects to deliver its first 8000-series host controllers for Thunderbolt 4 later this year.

This includes the JHL8540 and JHL8340 host controllers for computer manufacturers, and the JHL8440 device controller for accessory makers.

Its upcoming mobile PC processors – codenamed Tiger Lake – will be the first to employ the new specification.

Intel added the first computers and accessories with Thunderbolt 4 ports are also expected to be available this year, including laptops based on Intel’s “Project Athena.”

Now read: AMD launches improved Ryzen desktop processors

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Intel reveals Thunderbolt 4 speeds and specifications