USB-C has been the darling of connectors in recent years, with all of its benefits of high-speed data transfers and reversible connectivity. But another technology has held the performance crown and at quite a sizeable margin: Thunderbolt 3. Now a new generation of Thunderbolt connection is now available, and while it may not be faster, it might finally integrate the versatile standard into more devices than ever before.
What is Thunderbolt 4? It might be the future connection you end up using without even knowing it.
Thunderbolt 3 vs. Thunderbolt 4
Thunderbolt 3 is a supremely popular and capable connection, offering data transfer speeds at up to 40Gbps (around 5 GB/s). Just as crucial, however, is what else it can do. It incorporates the DisplayPort 1.4 standard, giving it the ability to drive two external displays at up to 4K at 60Hz or a single 5K display at up to 60Hz.
Thanks to its USB-C connector type, it's also reversible, and can even offer USB Power Delivery for up to 100 watts of power, letting you charge devices over compatible Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Thunderbolt 4 is more of a consolidation and an evolution to Thunderbolt 3's revolution. It will maintain the same maximum 40Gbps data transfer rate, but real-world performance may improve as Intel has mandated the minimum data rate and features that OEMs need to implement.