Intel has been producing these USB 4 standards for a long time and while we have seen some astonishing progress in terms of backwards support and GBps speeds, Intel has been really poor recently, in terms of the branding efforts. When a company releases a product with ‘3’ in it, the next product in line is…you guessed it, supposed to be’4’. But Intel had other plans.

After the world was introduced to USB 3 standards, what followed was a rather peculiar name, with the 3.2. Was that the next generation of USB standards? or just an iteration of the USB 3 brand? Or maybe Intel was now planning on moving to decimals instead of whole numbers? All these questions came up when the 3.2 was announced. Since it wasn’t all that much different than the USB 3, very few batted an eye. However, with the USB 4, Intel has made a statement, a concrete one!

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With the release of USB 4, Intel will be fulfilling its promise of making Thunderbolt 3 royalty free. Even though the final draft of standards has not been made public, an initial draft has been released showing us what the USB 4 standard will offer. its transfer rate will be double the transfer rate of USB 3.2 Gen, which means 40 Gb/s, and it will also enable multiple data streams. Apart from this, USB 4 will ditch the type-A connector and use the type-C connector only. This means that your older USB devices will need an adapter to work with it, which is a bummer.

Moreover, Thunderbolt 3 is also added to the list of specifications, this means, all the Thunderbolt 3 devices will be supported by USB 4 products.


The first draft states the release date of the new USB type to be mid-2019, but that seems like a bold claim with the hardware to take an expectedly long time and shall be more common in 2020, even that date’s feels a bit hurried. Bottom line, whenever the new standard comes out, it will be giving Intel some breathing space after the ‘USB 3.2 Conundrum’.

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