Intel announces Thunderbolt 4, but it's not faster than Thunderbolt 3

Peter, 08 January 2020

Intel announced the Tiger Lake family of mobile processors. Besides the AI accelerator and integrated Intel Xe graphics, the new CPU family will debut with Thunderbolt 4 support – the latest iteration of Intel’s external connector.

Strangely, it seems that the new standard will not be faster than Thunderbolt 3. Details are scarce, but Intel says its four times faster than USB 3.1 (10Gbps), meaning it tops out at 40Gbps – the same speed as v3.

The new Thunderbolt standards use the same plug as USB-C and are compatible with it. It’s not clear if the new standard is based on PCIe 4.0 or not (Thunderbolt 3 used PCIe 3.0) or what other advantages v4 might bring – Intel will announce the full details at a later date.

Note that the upcoming USB 4 is based on Thunderbolt 3 and can reach the same speeds. Also, it’s royalty-free, so it should gain wider adoption than Thunderbolt (which is mostly found on Apple computers).

Intel announces Thunderbolt 4, but it's not faster than Thunderbolt 3

Anyway, Tiger Lake chips will be built on a 10nm+ process, the first computers to use it will ship later this year. The Xe graphics architecture will also be used for a discrete GPU, known only as DG1 for now.

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Reader comments

  • JRS

If it has the same 40Gbps of the v3 what's the fuc**** point?

Well looks interesting, We in next 1-2 years we will reach charging speeds of 1000W :-) I mean from 0 to 100% in less than 30 seconds even on 20k mAh batteries.

It's only royalty-free within the Intel ecosystem. Otherwise you'll have to buy the controller chips from Intel to get it royalty-free.

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