USB4 version 2.0 is twice as fast as Thunderbolt 4

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256 GB SSD Faster than HDD
256 GB SSD Faster than HDD
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USB remains the industry standard for transferring data and power between devices over a cable, even if the physical ports keep changing. Now USB4 version 2.0 has been announced, and it’s another significant boost for USB devices.

The USB Promoter Group, a consortium of companies including Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft and others, announced the “pending release of the USB4 version 2.0 specification.” The upgrade won’t be finalized before November, so don’t expect to see PCs and other devices with USB4 version 2.0 before the end of the year.

Data speeds are the main improvement this time around, as with most USB upgrades. The maximum speed is now 80 Gbps, thanks to a “new physical layer architecture”, which is expected to be compatible with existing 40 Gbps cables. That’s faster than Thunderbolt, which tops out at 40Gbps in Thunderbolt 3 (which USB4 is based on) and Thunderbolt 4. That could lead to upgraded external GPUs and other hardware that requires a blazing-fast data connection.

The new standard, at least on paper, can also provide a speed boost with older hardware. Devices using USB 3.2 can only reach 20 Gbps at most, but data tunneling updates in USB4 version 2 will push it to higher speeds (unspecified). USB4 version 2 is also backward compatible with the “latest versions of the DisplayPort and PCIe specifications” and is fully backward compatible with USB and Thunderbolt 3 standards.

Unfortunately, the USB Advocacy Group still uses confusing names for new standards. It’s not as ridiculous as previous updates, where older standards were retroactively renamed (for example, USB 3.0 became USB 3.1 Gen 1, then USB 3.2 Gen 1), but there’s no reason why “USB4 Version 2.0 ” could not have been “USB 5 . ” USB Group has not finalized branding and marketing guidelines for 80 Gbps certified products and cables.

While most devices need 80Gbps data speeds right now (or 40Gbps, for that matter), it’s great to see USB becoming more future-proof. Intel is also working on Thunderbolt 5, which according to leaks will also offer 80Gbps speeds with a similar physical layer (PHY) connection. Intel may be waiting for USB4 version 2.0 to be finalized before revealing Thunderbolt 5, so the two may be fully compatible.

Source: Business Wire