Earlier today, Intel offered some key insight into Thunderbolt 4, following an initial unveiling at CES back in January. The latest version of the connection standard isn’t actually faster than its predecessor (still offering up the same 40 gbps as its predecessor), but there are some key improvements on-board, including some updated system requirements. Here’s the rundown, per Intel:
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 port.
- 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.
The new version will be compatible with both Thunderbolt 3 and old USB connections, and it’s set to arrive at some point later in 2020 on laptops sporting Tiger Lake CPUs. One big question mark in all of this, however, is whether Apple will continue to support this latest connection on its upcoming line of ARM-based Macs. After all, the move marks a key rift in the longstanding relationship between Apple and Intel.
In a statement offered to TechCrunch, the company restated its commitment to connection it’s been so invested in over the past several years, noting, “Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.”