With faster network bandwidth and wireless connections being all the hype and rave in today’s tech world, few pay attention to wired connections, with new technologies in components and parts, developers try to produce wired tech that can also serve a purpose when wireless can’t do it. That’s why the USB Type-C connector is the central object of this post. The ubiquitous, yet versatile connector that becomes confusing to implement when it comes to deciding its use: from power delivery to external display hookups to multiple resolutions, the new Intel standard Thunderbolt 4 technology aims to tackle all sorts of confusing implementations for this connection technology.
While the new Thunderbolt 4 does not bring major capabilities or faster speeds, it does bring a more concise set of requirements and certification guidelines to implement what Intel considers “a complete version of USB-C.”
Thunderbolt 4 shares the maximum capabilities of its predecessor: 15W minimum power delivery for accessories, 40Gbps throughput, two 4K monitors, and the list could go on. Still, Thunderbolt 3 doesn’t land efficiently on PC because of the variety of applications and lack of certification. What Thunderbolt 4 does is create a set of rules for manufacturers so they can best implement the connector port technology in standardized ways.
Intel narrowed down Thunderbolt 4 to three key components for certification:
- Unrivaled Simplicity: Meaning one universal computer port, with universal 40Gb/s cables up to two meters in length, presence in accessories with four Thunderbolt ports,.
- Maximum Performance: Implying minimum PC speed requirements of 40Gb/s, double 4K displays, and a minimum of PC data requirements of PCIe 32Gb/S, USB 3.2 – 10Gb/s. The requirements are even more demanding as for certification there are required computers to wake from sleep when the device is connected to the power source, and with the thunderbolt cable plugged. These wiring must have a minimum 15W PC port power for accessories, and lastly, it must allow for Thunderbolt Networking.
- Reliable Connectivity: Intel wats mandatory certification for all shipping computers, accessories, and cables, they want the cables tested and the cable quality audited for Thunderbolt cable manufacturers. Now Thunderbolt 4 requires Intel VT-d based DMA protection and has to comply with USB4 specification.
Thunderbolt and USB-C implementation hasn’t been successful in the Windows PC environment. Apple’s laptops, on the other hand, show how Thunderbolt implementation works, as their newer models support the maximum throughput, they can run multiple 4K monitors and integrate into multiple applications for different purposes without any hassle.
Despite its resilient behavior in Apple computers, USB-C ports supporting Thunderbolt 3 in all of Cupertino’s laptops isn’t universal: The USB-C port in the iPad Pro supports external displays using the DisplayPort standard, but not Thunderbolt. The discontinued 12-inch MacBook had also a USB-C port and no Thunderbolt.
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