What Is Thunderbolt 4?
Thunderbolt™ technology is a cable connection interface developed by Intel over the last decade. Here are three of the most important features of Thunderbolt™ technology:
Thunderbolt™ ports provide high bandwidth for connecting high-speed devices.
Thunderbolt™ cables help to ensure a quality connection between the device and a PC.
Thunderbolt™ accessories make it easy to expand the capabilities of your PC with docking options and external devices.
While all ports fulfill the basic purpose of connecting input/output devices to a PC, Thunderbolt 4 ports have several distinct advantages:
Flexibility. Some ports power your devices. Others transfer data from devices to the PC. Still others transfer video signals from your PC to an external monitor. A Thunderbolt™ port can do all three. It delivers high-speed data transfer, outputs a video signal, and can deliver power to compatible devices (including charging a lightweight laptop) simultaneously.
Bandwidth. Thunderbolt 4 ports have a 40Gbps (gigabits per second) bidirectional bandwidth. That means data can be moved to and from external storage quickly, and that up to five Thunderbolt devices can be connected for flexible device configurations—all powered by one port.
Versatile connectivity. Thunderbolt 4 ports are compatible with many connection standards, including previous versions of Thunderbolt™, USB, DisplayPort, and PCle. The ports fit standard USB-C type connectors.
What can you connect with Thunderbolt 4?
Thunderbolt™ devices. Connect devices bearing the Thunderbolt™ logo, including docks, displays, storage, and video capture devices. Thunderbolt™ 3 devices and cables are compatible with Thunderbolt 4 ports. Older Thunderbolt devices will work too, but require an adapter.
External monitors. Connect multiple displays. One Thunderbolt 4 port can connect up to two 4K 60hz DisplayPort or HDMI monitors through a compatible dock or an adapter. Thunderbolt designated monitors can be connected directly.
Storage. Connect a high-speed external Thunderbolt™ SSD to expand the storage capacity of your system and achieve speeds on par with internal drives.
USB peripherals. Connect USB devices like mice, keyboards, controllers, and headsets for gaming.
PCI Express (PCIe) devices. Utilize a PCIe expansion chassis to access compatible PCIe devices, such as video capture devices for live-streaming gameplay.
Networking. Connect to a high-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet network via an adapter or use a Thunderbolt cable to connect two computers over a peer-to-peer network. This allows for transferring large volumes of data from one PC to another, which is ideal when upgrading to a new system.
Charging. Connect your phone, a lightweight notebook PC (that requires less than 100W), and other compatible USB devices to charge them quickly.
What’s New with Thunderbolt 4?
Thunderbolt 4 is the latest generation of Thunderbolt. These ports are found on PCs with the latest Intel® Core™ mobile processors, or systems that are equipped with a Thunderbolt 4 controller.
Thunderbolt 4 brings numerous improvements and new features to the table when compared to Thunderbolt 3.
Speed. Thunderbolt 4 ports have the same high-speed 40Gbps bandwidth as Thunderbolt™ 3. However, mini-mum PCIe data requirements have increased from 16Gbps to 32Gbps. This means that high-speed external PCIe devices like storage and external graphics could see significant increases in transfer rates and performance.
Security. VT-d based DMA protection helps prevent security threats by remapping requests from external devices and checking for proper permissions.
Wake from sleep. This feature allows a PC to be brought out of hibernation with peripherals that are connected through a dock.