Intel reveals details on Thunderbolt 4

It'll bring universal ports and cables to computers.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read
Intel Thunderbolt 4

Intel's new Thunderbolt 4.


Intel has revealed details of its Thunderbolt 4 port, saying Wednesday it's "advancing the PC ecosystem" with universal connectivity. It comes six months after Intel first announced Thunderbolt 4 during CES 2020 in January. Now, Intel is calling it "the most complete and future-proof version of USB-C."

Like Thunderbolt 3, it can transfer data at 40Gbps. But it has double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3 -- video support for two 4K displays or one 8K display, as well as PCI Express at 32Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000MBps. And it's USB4 specification compliant.

It's also compatible with previous generations of USB and Thunderbolt products. This means it'll simplify the ports on laptops and PCs, with one Thunderbolt 4 port able to replace multiple USB ports. The same goes for cables -- a Thunderbolt 4 cable can replace multiple USB cables.

Intel's next mobile PC processor, which is code-named Tiger Lake, will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4.

Read more: The best laptops of 2020 

"Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac," an Apple spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon."

Lenovo is expecting Thunderbolt 4 to increase productivity for PC users, said Jerry Paradise, VP of the Lenovo PC & Smart Devices commercial portfolio.

Intel is offering Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification testing now. The Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series will be available later this year for computer makers and accessory makers. The first devices with Thunderbolt 4 ports are expected to launch later this year, including Intel's code-named Project Athena laptops.

Intel Thunderbolt 4

The Thunderbolt 4 port can replace many other ports.