While all ports serve the basic purpose of connecting input/output devices to a computer, Thunderbolt 4 ports offer several significant advantages:
Some ports can provide power to your device. Other ports transfer data from the device to the computer. There are also ports that carry video signals from your computer to an external monitor. And Thunderbolt™ ports can do all 3 of these functions. It provides high-speed data transfer, outputs video signals, and can simultaneously power compatible devices (including charging lightweight laptops).
Thunderbolt 4 ports have 40 Gbps (gigabits per second) bidirectional bandwidth. This means data can be quickly moved to and from external storage, and up to 5 Thunderbolt devices can be connected for flexible device configurations—all from 1 port.
Thunderbolt 4 ports are compatible with many connectivity standards, including earlier versions of Thunderbolt™, USB, DisplayPort and PCle. These ports are compatible with standard USB-C type connectors.
What connections can you make with Thunderbolt 4?
Connect Thunderbolt™-branded devices, including docking stations, monitors, storage devices, and video capture devices. Thunderbolt™ 3 devices and cables are compatible with Thunderbolt 4 ports. Older Thunderbolt devices will also work, but will require an adapter.
Connect multiple monitors. One Thunderbolt 4 port connects up to 2 4K 60hz DisplayPort or HDMI monitors via compatible docking station or adapter. You can also connect Thunderbolt-specified displays directly.
Connect an external high-speed Thunderbolt™ solid-state drive to expand your system's storage capacity and match the speed of internal drives.
Connect USB devices such as mice, keyboards, controllers, and headsets to play games.
PCI Express (PCIe) device.
Leverage the PCIe expansion chassis to access compatible PCIe devices, such as video capture devices for live streaming games.
Connect to high-speed 10 Gb Ethernet via an adapter, or use a Thunderbolt cable to connect 2 computers via a peer-to-peer network. This allows large amounts of data to be transferred from one computer to another, which is ideal when upgrading to a new system.
Connect phones, lightweight laptops (requiring less than 100 W) and other compatible USB devices to quickly charge them.