USB4 Version 2.0 Announced

USB-C Thunderbolt Cable

The USB Promoter Group announced USB4 Version2.0 on Thursday, a specification that will allow for up to 80Gbps to be transferred over the USB-C connector that is commonly in use on PCs and smartphones. The standard will be backwards compatible with USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3 — but not USB 1.0 or Thunderbolt 4.

Until now, USB and Thunderbolt have basically co-existed in parallel worlds. Because of somewhat murky licensing issues, Intel-based laptops have used a Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 port and laptops powered by AMD’s Ryzen have used USB4. As we discussed in our USB4 explainer, Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, and USB4 1.0 were roughly equivalent. Now, with the increase in bandwidth, Ryzen platforms may have a sudden dramatic increase in I/O bandwidth.

I presently don’t use anything USB which requires (or benefits) from a higher bandwidth. However, I could see this being useful for external SSD drives. Furthermore, the higher bandwidth will be great for some users of docking stations.

The difference in bandwidth will allow USB4 2.0 to connect to higher-resolution displays with bandwidth that exceeds that conventional 60Hz, most likely a boon for gamers and content creators, but not the average productivity worker. However, the added bandwidth should allow for a third 4K, 60Hz monitor rather than the currently supported two. For some out there, that will make a difference.

I am pleased to see that current USB-C connectors (cables) will be able to support this higher bandwidth.  The USB Promoter Group said that the new standard will be published in November.  New products supporting this standard might be coming out in the first quarter of 2023.

via PC World