Intel demos next-gen Thunderbolt prototype

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Intel demos next-gen Thunderbolt prototype

Users can expect even higher speeds for peripheral interconnects next year, as Intel and the Universal Serial Bus Implementers' Forum have released new specifications.

USB4 version 2 promises to double the current bidirectional 40 gigabit per second physical layer speed to 80, using three level pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM3) and Type-C cables with active electronics built-in.

Furthermore, the new interconnect can be configured asymmetrically, providing 120/40 Gbps bandwidth for applications such as high resolution and colour depth USB4 displays.

USB4 Type-C cables will be able to deliver 60 and 240 Watt of power for charging and accessories, the industry forum said.

Backwards compatibility with all previous versions of USB is also part of the new specification, which aligns with DisplayPort revision 2.1 and PCI Express revision 4.

Intel meanwhile has released an early prototype of the Thunderbolt protocol which aligns with USB4v2 and supports existing passive cables up to one metre in length, using new signalling technology.

The new protocol offers double the performance of Thunderbolt 4, including twice the PCI-E data throughput.

Peripherals using the new interconnect specification will appear in 2023, Intel and USB-IF said.


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