Intel reveals new details about Thunderbolt 4

Today, Intel revealed new details about Thunderbolt 4, the next generation of its universal cable connectivity solution, delivering increased minimum performance requirements, expanded capabilities and USB4 specification compliance.

For the first time, Thunderbolt 4 will offer docks with up to four Thunderbolt ports and universal cables up to 2 meters in length. Intel’s upcoming mobile PC processors, code-named “Tiger Lake,” will be the first to integrate Thunderbolt 4. Intel also announced the Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, compatible with the hundreds of millions of Thunderbolt 3 PCs and accessories already available. Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification testing are now available.

“Thunderbolt provides consumers with a leading connectivity standard across a range of devices, helping to advance computing experiences and delivering on the promise of USB-C with simplicity, performance and reliability. The arrival of Thunderbolt 4 underscores how Intel is advancing the PC ecosystem toward truly universal connectivity solutions,” Jason Ziller, Intel general manager of the Client Connectivity Division, said in a statement.

Thunderbolt products deliver a consistent, industry-leading set of capabilities for connecting computers to data, video and power with the simplicity of just one USB Type-C port. Connect to powerful Thunderbolt docks, displays, fast storage or any USB accessory for a clutter-free workspace. To ensure a consistent best-in-class experience and ease of use across a wide range of product types and manufacturers, Intel works closely with its ecosystem of computer, accessory and cable partners to employ mandatory certification for all Thunderbolt products.

Intel reveals new details about Thunderbolt 4

Thunderbolt 4 builds on the innovation of Thunderbolt 3 for a truly universal cable connectivity experience. Thunderbolt 4 always delivers 40 Gbps speeds and data, video and power over a single connection. It is the most comprehensive Thunderbolt specification yet with compliance across the broadest set of industry-standard specifications – including USB4, DisplayPort and PCI Express (PCIe) – and is fully compatible with prior generations of Thunderbolt and USB products. Thunderbolt 4 certification requirements include:

• Double the minimum video and data requirements of Thunderbolt 3.
 – Video: Support for two 4K displays or one 8K display.
 – Data: PCIe at 32 Gbps for storage speeds up to 3,000 MBps.

• Support for docks with up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports.

• PC charging on at least one computer port2.

• Wake your computer from sleep by touching the keyboard or mouse when connected to a Thunderbolt dock.

• Required Intel VT-d-based direct memory access (DMA) protection that helps prevent physical DMA attacks. (Read more in the Thunderbolt Security Brief.)

Later this year, Intel expects to deliver the new Thunderbolt 4 controller 8000 series, including:

• JHL8540 and JHL8340 host controllers for computer makers.

• JHL8440 device controller for accessory makers.

The first computers and accessories with Thunderbolt 4 ports are also expected to be available this year, including laptops based on Intel’s innovation program code-named “Project Athena.”


  1. I nearly spit my coffee all over my Macbook Pro at the point in the video where he explains how thinner cables makes for a cleaner desktop. I was thinking what a rats nest that desk is.

    I understand why Apple goes for wireless design where possible, but with that said, we will need cables for the foreseeable future and this is a helpful upgrade.

    Given Apples departure from Intel based processors, I’m wondering if they will start making their own cable standards moving forward.

  2. I am wondering what the implications are with Apple moving away from Intel CPUs and non-Apple GPUs regarding TB AND USB connectivity and compatibility for peripherals, including drives, displays, eGPUs, etc.

    1. i once wondered aloud if apple shouldn’t just create a new wire straight to the brain of the apple silicon for carefully being able to connect at core speeds (once fully vetted in apples language) so banks of servers could mind meld faster than terrabit ethernet ever could

  3. Just another example of Intel’s stagnation.

    DisplayPort jumped to an 80 Gbps total bandwidth over a year ago when the DisplayPort 2.0 standard was officially released. Thunderbolt 4 could easily have followed suit.

    It makes me wonder if it is tied to the fact that Intel is still stuck at PCIe 3.0. Thunderbolt is an extension of PCIe after all.

    1. I was just thinking this yesterday as I was yanking my USB-C cable out of my iPad Pro. Apple’s cables aren’t even long enough to trip over so that’s not the problem, it’s feeling like you’re going to snap the damn connector off inside your iPad. It’s even worse with the port to the Magic Keyboard.

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