Intel reveals Thunderbolt 4, native support with Tiger Lake

Intel revealed its next-generation cable connective solution Thunderbolt 4. As you’d expect, there will new devices and docks which will comply with Thunderbolt 4 standards in the future. What’s interesting is that Intel named its upcoming ‘Tiger Lake’ processor for its notebooks. It didn’t name any desktop CPUs but Rocket Lake-S and LGA-1700 based Alder Lake is something that’s been talked about. Its also not known if Tiger Lake-U based NUCs would support Thunderbolt 4.

Connectivity and Backwards CompatibilityIntel Thunderbolt 4 Features

According to press updates, the Thunderbolt 4 will use Type-C, making it easier to have near-universal compatibility. The upcoming standard will provide consistent 40 Gbps up and down throughput, making it easier for data, video and power via a single cable. These have backwards compatibility with the previous Thunderbolt and USB standards. The following are the requirements to meet its standards, which shows what to expect from it:

  • 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.

How about that! They’re not calling it ‘4.0’. These will include but not limited to docks, monitors, external storage, external power supplies, adapters, audio and video interface and external graphics. It will be interesting to see if new external GPU docks will adopt this. The whole presentation is as follows:

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Thunderbolt 4 Controllers

Intel 8000-series Thunderbolt 4 Controller

Intel also did confirm the provision of new controllers, which will provide compatibility for chipsets with no native support. Its 8000 series controller will also have the same compatibility and support. It also confirmed Thunderbolt 4 developer kits and certification to be available for manufacturers.

The JHL8540 and JHL8340 host controllers for computer makers, while the JHL8440 device controller is made for accessory makers. Like before, expect Thunderbolt devices and cables to carry a premium. The only positive out of this is no special connectivity is needed.

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