The features of the USB4 have been unveiled. This new generation of USB is based on the Intel Thunderbolt 3 and promises to be the ideal protocol for many uses.
USB protocol managers have a busy agenda. After introducing the USB 3.2 and its designation choices a bit curious, the USB-IF group now announces the features of the USB4. This is a first base of work, whereas the standard should be finalized in mid-2019.
USB4 or USB 4.0
You have read correctly, the new USB protocol that will succeed USB 3.2 is called USB4. Its promoters like decidedly jokes, but it remains to know if this name will evolve or not until the finalization of the protocol. It will also be interesting to see if the manufacturers will follow, or rather prefer to name it USB 4.0.
Flow, compatibility and format
Intel's Thunderbolt 3 as the basis for work
The announcement that interests us in this article was mainly made to formalize the use of the Thunderbolt 3 developed by Intel as a basis for work. However, the USB4 will remain compatible with USB 2 and USB 3, it will thus be possible to connect a USB 2.0 device to a USB4 port, using a compatible connector of course.
This allows the USB 4 to benefit from the advantages of the Thunderbolt 3, which has become widespread on high-end PCs in recent years:
rate up to 40 Gb / s (instead of 20 Gb / s for USB 3.2 2 × 2)
USB Type-C format
compatibility with DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, Thunderbolt 3, and other protocols
As such, the USB 4 will finally allow the USB to become the universal format through USB Type-C already widespread.
Native integration in Windows
Intel is the first concerned by this announcement, since it is this actor who pushes the Thunderbolt 3 for several years. Now it will be possible for other manufacturers to develop chips incorporating the Thunderbolt 3, without paying royalties to Intel. This should help to explode the number of compatible devices and devices, and remove a big drag on the adoption of this technology.
This is also why the Thunderbolt 3 will be natively integrated into Intel Ice Lake, the next architecture expected by the end of the year.
On its website, Intel announced to work with Microsoft for a better native integration of Thunderbolt 3 in Windows 10. This would prevent manufacturers from installing additional drivers to manage the protocol, and ensure optimal management by the system.
Output of devices in 2021
The Verge reports that after the publication of the final version of the protocol before the end of 2019, it will take between 1 year and 18 months for the first compatible devices to come into production. We can estimate the output of the products in 2021.
The USB-IF consortium also promises to talk again about USB Type-C and USB Power Delivery, which makes it easy to charge our smartphones, during the USB Developers Day 2019 at the end of the year, without any more precision. for the time being.