Intel demonstrated a Tiger Lake system on stage in their CES 2020 keynote yesterday. One of the interesting aspects was the teaser of Thunderbolt 4, with a mention of it offering four times the speed of USB 3. After reaching out to Intel for additional details, it appears that they are not ready yet to share more information.

Intel did confirm that that they were referencing USB 3.2 Gen 2 - the 10 Gbps version - in the keynote presentation. This means that the peak speeds (40 Gbps) are not changing relative to Thunderbolt 3. Given that the Thunderbolt 3 specifications have been donated to USB-IF for USB 4.0, it appears likely that Thunderbolt 4 may be a push for Intel certification of certain Type-C ports. We look forward to receiving more concrete information from Intel regarding the new features, if any, in Thunderbolt 4.

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  • timecop1818 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Yeah but nobody cares what doesn't work on a fucking mac, lol. Reply
  • Santoval - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    "Intel did confirm that that they were referencing USB 3.2 Gen 2 - the 10 Gbps version - in the keynote presentation. This means that the peak speeds (40 Gbps) are not changing relative to Thunderbolt 3."
    In other words there is no point for Thunderbolt 4. If it's intended for "certification of certain USB-C ports" why do they need to change TB3 to TB4?
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    As the TB3 spec is open, other silicon vendors (like JMicron and ASMedia) can also implement it and be the host for certain Type-C ports. TB4 certification will only be for ports enabled by an Intel controller - now, what the extra features offered by the TB4 ports are - we don't know yet. Only thing we know as of now is that peak bandwidth - 40 Gbps - is not changing. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    The USB4 spec is available from the USB-IF, however, interoperability with Thunderbolt 3 is an optional feature and may not be widely supported. Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    And note that USB4 uses slightly different signaling rates and encoding schemes than Thunderbolt 3 does.

    USB4 specifies Gen 2 signaling at 10 GT/s with 64b/66b or RS(198,194) encoding, or Gen 3 signaling at 20 GT/s with 128b/132b or RS(198,194) encoding, with support for Reed-Solomon forward error-correction code (RS-FEC) being optional.

    Thunderbolt uses Thunderbolt/Thunderbolt 2 signaling at 10.3125 GT/s with 64b/66b encoding, or Thunderbolt 3 signaling at 20.625 GT/s with 64b/66b encoding, with channel-bonding being optional.
    Reply
  • lilkwarrior - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Wait, what? If so, I stand corrected: Thunderbolt 4 is pointless. It needs to be significantly faster than Thunderbolt 3 to align w/ Displayport 2.0 & HDMI 2.1 bandwidth increases Reply
  • repoman27 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Thunderbolt 3 is 4 lanes at 20.625 Gbit/s, DisplayPort 2.0 is 4 lanes at 20 Gbit/s. Although a Thunderbolt link can only transport up to 40 Gbit/s of a DP 2.0 link at current rates because it is bi-directional, it could still easily support a native DP 2.0 link at 80 Gbit/s. This is another possible feature of Thunderbolt 4, support for native DP 2.0. Although I kinda doubt that made it into Gen12 / Xe graphics.

    As for HDMI 2.1, it's only 42.66 Gbit/s max, so unless you have a device that requires more than 40 Gbit/s of display data but less than 42.66, you'd be fine with Thunderbolt 3. And Intel is finally touting native HDMI 2.0b with Tiger Lake, so also probably not an issue as far as they're concerned.
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - link

    Because the modus operandi of new Intel is to announce products ever further in the future...

    “Will there be a TB4 one day, say maybe in 2028?”
    “Perhaps.”
    “OK then, let’s announce it as CES along with all our other nonsense, like Foveros 2 (before v1 has even shipped) and EMIB 2, and our ten year fab “roadmap” “.
    Reply
  • Spunjji - Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - link

    Seriously? "It's 4 times the speed of something that Thunderbolt 3 is already 4 times the speed of"

    Screw this nonsense.
    Reply

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