USB4 V2 promises twice the speed

Alin Pogan
Alin Pogan

USB4 V2 is an incremental update to the latest version of the device and peripheral interconnection port, the most popular in the technology industry, used by hundreds of millions of PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.

Although the name proposed for this version by the person responsible for the standard, USB Promoter Group, suggests that it is a minor update, it should be noted that it doubles the data transfer performance up to 80 Gbps over USB4 and equals the fastest of the existing ones to date, Intel’s Thunderbolt 4.

The new standard will be backward compatible with the initial version of USB4 and also USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3. It can be used with the same current cables, although new specific ones will also be marketed. The specifications of USB4 V2 will be updated to support USB Type-C (the most modern connector of the standard) and USB Power Delivery (USB PD), the protocol for fast power charging that allows using USB-C cables and connectors to recharge devices with a power of up to 100 watts.

By cons and due to licensing issues, USB4 V2 will not initially be compatible with Thunderbolt 4. Curious once Intel had opened the Thunderbolt specifications and shared them with the USB Promoter Group so that all manufacturers could use it without paying royalties.

USB4 V2, key features

  • Up to 80 Gbps bandwidth thanks to a new physical layer architecture, for use with both new 80 Gbps active USB Type-C cabling and existing 40 Gbps passive USB Type-C cables.
  • Updates to data and display protocols to better take advantage of increased available bandwidth.
  • The architecture update allows for the improvement of previous versions, such as USB 3.2 which will now exceed 20 Gbps.
  • Updated to align with the latest versions of the DisplayPort and PCIe specifications.
  • Compatibility with the original version USB4 USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3.

Interesting improvements considering the absolute importance of USB in today’s industry and that it will be able to be used with existing cabling. Among the negatives, is the lack of compatibility with Thunderbolt 4.

It must be said that despite the “opening” announced by Intel for its port (remember proprietary and originally paid for by manufacturers) it has followed development paths separate from that of the USB Group and it is clear that the convergence has not finished arriving.

Taking into account that AMD does not use Thunderbolt (for obvious reasons), but does support all versions of USB, it will take advantage of the performance of interconnection ports for peripherals and devices with the new Ryzen 7000 processors and their motherboards that will support USB4 V2 from the base.

At least until the release of Thunderbolt 5.0. The ideal for the consumer and the industry, in general, would be a total convergence of both.

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