What You Should Know About USB4

Since the release of USB 3.0 in 2008, we’ve been waiting for something bigger and better, and it is finally here. Introducing USB4, and everything you need to know about this new technology! USB4 specifications were posted in late 2019 and it normally takes about 18 months for new technology to reach the market, so it is finally time.

For starters, USB4 has faster transfer speed, better port usage and it provides tunneling of display ports and PCIe to external devices.  This new USB port is also able to operate as PCIe devices and graphics display ports, along with many more.  Here’s an overview of what we know so far:

No Space!

First, a funny fact, that because of user habits in search, the protocol is officially titled “USB4” without the space!

USB-C Connector

USB4 utilizes a USB-C connector, which provides numerous benefits that previous USB ports did not have.  This new advancement is supported by Intel’s 11th generation Core processor and Apple Silicon Macs with the new M1 processor (MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini).  I mean look at all the options!

Oh, one last thing, USB4 no longer suffers from superposition and can be inserted in anyway, while also providing greater power while utilizing more connections.

Thunderbolt and USB4

In the past, there has been confusion about Thunderbolt.  It has been unclear about what it supports – you would need to have a clear list identifying what Thunderbolt supports to have an understanding.  Secondly, some devices that say they support Thunderbolt may not come equipped with all ports that support Thunderbolt, there may just be one or two.  Ay-ay-ay! My head hurts just thinking about.

Now, with USB4, all devices and ports will be compatible.  Giving users super-fast data transfer as well as device charging and display across a single cable.  Device makers are also now able to make Thunderbolt devices without having to pay any royalties to Intel.  Overall, just less of a headache! So, you can ditch the aspirin.

For the Speed Demons

The new generation of USB is for the speed demons, and honestly, I have a feeling you are one.  Here’s what we know, due to the new advancements, you can expect double the performance with 40 Gbps, compared to USB 3 that gave 20 Gbps.  This is because with USB Type C cables you are able to transfer through two lanes making for double the speed and efficiency.  Pretty good deal, huh?

USB4 Labeling

Labeling can be confusing for customers. Hi-Speed, High-Speed, SuperSpeed, version numbers, etc. In this protocol manufactures will mention their transfer speed. USB4 20Gbps or USB4 40Gbps. This is aimed to make it easier to know what you’re getting.

Backward Compatibility

As in the past, this version of USB will be backward compatible with USB 3 and USB 2 devices and ports. Obviously, this will damper the transfer rate.


Coolgear is known for our cutting-edge product development and we’re excited to begin developing into the first USB4 devices in the coming months. However, Thunderbolt 3 devices are already on the market and will be compatible with USB4. (as with Thunderbolt 4).

Contact us for more on your project today!

This entry was posted in USB and tagged .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *