Thunderbolt 4 Explained

There’s been an update to one of the most pervasive and powerful interfaces in technology today – Thunderbolt. Named Thunderbolt 4, there are some major changes that make it distinct from its predecessor as well as other common interfaces like USB 3.1 or even 3.2.

What’s new – Thunderbolt 3 vs 4

Thunderbolt 4 has improved upon its predecessors by adding display connections, external storage options, and charging ports – while retaining the core features that made Thunderbolt 3 so desirable in the first place.

Speed Though total bandwidth remains unchanged at 40Gbps, specific PCI-e requirements have increased from 16Gbps to 32 Gbps. This means external PCI-e devices like storage and graphics cards will operate much faster with Gen 4.

Security – DMA protection can help protect against external devices that are vulnerable to security threats

Wake from Sleep – A few peripherals can now wake up your PC from sleep when they are connected via Thunderbolt

Docking capability When you factor in Thunderbolt 3, there are even more capabilities that come into play. With the high speed connection and bi-directional functionality, one single TB3 port can manage video output and input concurrently without jeopardizing performance. This versatility makes Thunderbolt an excellent option for those looking for a fast yet flexible solution.

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB C

Previously we’ve discussed the difference between Type-C and Thunderbolt ports for Gen4 computers. For the most part, the story is still similar; with both having a form factor of port connections and supporting interface speeds at various levels such as USB 2.0 or up to ThunderBolt 3/4 – one has an upper limit of 20Gb/s while another can go up to 40Gb/s depending on what specs it was made for.

Supported devices

In addition to its higher speed and cable length, Thunderbolt also has versatility; making it different than other interfaces such as USB. Below are just a few of the devices you can connect via Thunderbolt 4

  • The monitors
  • The external storage device
  • Graphics outside the computer
  • Devices for recording video
  • The peripherals
  • Using a network
  • Devices that charge

Laptops equipped with Thunderbolt 4 ports are all the rage these days. Desktop motherboards adopting this technology may take some time, but it doesn’t matter because Thunderbolt was developed by Intel – so there won’t be any AMD devices using it anytime soon.

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