It isn’t easy getting excited about a connection standard, and believe me I’ve tried. This is even harder when you’ve got a universal standard already in place—I’m talking about USB for those not paying attention. So Intel has a bit of an uphill struggle on its hands, although it’s making the right noises about Thunderbolt, and has managed to squeeze support for Thunderbolt 3 onto loads of motherboards and laptops with its latest chips, so there is hope. 

Somewhat surprisingly for a new standard, Thunderbolt 4 hasn’t doubled down on the previous iteration in terms of raw throughput. It offers the same 40Gb/s bandwidth as Thunderbolt 3, which is still double that offered by USB4’s 20Gb/s. For reference USB 3.1 Gen 2 offers up 10Gb/s, while straight USB 3.0 will see you good for 5Gb/s.

(Image credit: Intel)

What has doubled though, is the number of 4K displays that the interface can drive, going from a single 4K display up to two, or a single 8K display if you’d prefer. The supported cable length has increased to 2 meters, and hubs with four Thunderbolt connections also get a look in. This is while retaining USB4 compatibility.

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