Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4: Key Differences

USB 4 Vs Thunderbolt 4 banner

Intel enthusiastically introduced Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 with Tiger Lake CPU in 2020 by improved features and compatibility.

Today’s technology is developing very rapidly, and we will see many advanced technical features in the future.

So at this time, all companies have their equipment to provide some advanced functions. Intel is not far behind, and new versions of USB and Thunder ports are also being released every day.

It reports that we are more confused because both the port made using the same type of USB Type C round reversible connector.

You need to know that USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 is exactly not same, there is some difference, which we will discuss in this article.

What is Thunderbolt 4?

The Thunderbolt 4 is a special cable USB port, which is the successor to Thunderbolt 3. You can use Thunderbolt for cable connection. There are some special types of devices, and they can also be used as a Thunderbolt 3 USB Type C port.

If you prefer to use an external monitor, then this Thunderbolt port is essential on your laptop or personal computer. Through this Superfast port, you can transfer up to 40GB of data and charge your laptop with 100 watts of power.

The earlier port is Thunderbolt 3, where you cannot connect a 2-meter USB type c monitor and other peripherals. But now with this Thunderbolt 4, you can easily connect longer than Thunderbolt 3 external monitors, external GPUs, etc.

With this Thunderbolt, you can connect a high-resolution monitor with a Type C cable that supports up to 8K. In addition to this DisplayPort, there are many benefits to having the fastest port.

Thunderbolt 4 has some special features, such as support for UHD (7680 × 4320) external screens, and high-speed devices can be connected to obtain high bandwidth.

If you want to connect a device to share data with someone, you can easily connect through it.

Features of Thunderbolt 4

It provides high bandwidth for connecting high-speed devices like CPU, 8K Monitor, etc.

Thunderbolt cables help ensure a high-quality connection between external peripherals and the PC.

Thunderbolt accessories can easily extend the functionality of your PC through docking options and external devices.

Improved Security:

Security is greatly improved. If you use Thunderbolt 4 to connect peripherals, you must obtain appropriate permissions to transfer specific types of data.

Add Wake from sleep feature:

This feature allows peripherals connected through the docking station to take a Thunderbolt 4 laptop or PC out of sleep.

What is USB 4?

USB 4 is a special type of USB port, it is the successor of USB 3.0 and sp 3.2. You can use USB 4 to transfer 20 to 40 GB of data per second. It uses the same reversible type-c connector as Thunderbolt 4 and 3.

USB 4 does not guarantee that you can transfer at a rate of 40GB/s. Sometimes even the second part of the 20GB data transfer occurs.

If your laptop has a Thunderbolt 4 port, it can be used as Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, USB 3, etc., but if your laptop has a USB 4 port, it cannot be used as Thunderbolt 4, 3, etc.

This is why Thunderbolt is more recommended than USB 4 ports.

Thundebolt 4 Vs USB 4: Key Differences

According to the Intel Official Website, we have put some of the key differences of USB 4vs Thunderbolt 4. For more information visit Intel Newsroom Official Site.

ParametersUSB4Thunderbolt 4
Universal PortNoYes
Data Transfer speeds 40GBps cables up to two metersNoYes
Accessories with up to 4TB portsNoYes
Minimum PC/laptop speed requirement20Gbps (optional – 40Gbps)40Gbps
Minimum PC/laptop video requirementOne display with no minimum resolutionTwo 4K displays or one 8K display
Minimum PC/laptop data requirementUSB 3.2 10GbpsPCIe 32Gbps, USB 3.2 10Gbps
Laptop charging portNoOne required
PC Wake up from sleep with TB dock connectedNoNecessary
Minimum PC/laptop port power for accessories7.5W15W
Thunderbolt NetworkingNoYes
Mandatory Certification for PCs and accessoriesNoYes
Intel VT-d based DMA protection necessaryNoYes
USB4 specificationCompliantCompliant
Table Source: newsroom Intel

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4 Speed:

Two ports 4 may share the same bandwidth, but in terms of data transmission, Thunderbolt 4 can transmit a minimum and a maximum of 40GB/s, while USB 4 can transmit 20GB/s or 40GB/s of data.

In addition, there is no guarantee that USB will transfer peak data at a speed of 40GB/s.

USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4 Connectivity:

Thunderbolt 4 also guarantees that you can run a pair of 8K displays with a resolution of UHD (7680 × 4320) pixels. Through USB4, we can connect a single 4K external monitor.

Therefore, the Thunderbolt 4 port can be more versatile than USB4.

Both Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 cables are fully interchangeable and backward compatible.

Advantages of of Thunderbolt 4

The basic purpose of Thunderbolt 4 is that you can easily connect input and output devices to any personal computer or laptop.

There are many advantages, such as-

1. It is flexible

Thunderbolt 4 can perform different tasks at the same time, such as connecting to an external display, transferring data, and powering compatible devices.

2. Support different connections

As I said before, if your laptop has a Thunderbolt 4 port, it can be used as a lot of additional ports, such as Thunderbolt 3, USB, DisplayPort, and PCle.

You can use Thunderbolt 4 to connect the following External Components

External GPU

We can connect an external GPU to improve game performance, and it should be compatible with PCle devices.

External storage

If your laptop has less internal storage, then you can easily increase it, if your laptop has a Thunderbolt port that supports external SSD and solves the system storage capacity.

Monitor

Through the Thunderbolt 4 port, two different displays can be connected via an adapter or cable, up to the 8K resolution system DisplayPort.

The external Thunderbolt monitor can be directly connected to a laptop or personal computer.

Peripherals

You can connect external USB peripherals, such as USB keyboards, gaming headsets, mice, etc.

Networking

It is also very useful in networking, you can connect to the computer in this way, through an adapter or use a Thunderbolt cable to connect to a high-speed 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

In addition, through the Thunderbolt 4 port, you can quickly transfer large amounts of data from one laptop/PC to another.

In terms of Fast Charging

Thunderbolt is also very useful for charging another device. If your mobile phone, laptop, and other electronic devices support less than 100W of power, you can easily charge it all in the shortest possible time.


FAQs about USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4

Q1. What is Thunderbolt Hubbing

In 2021, Intel provided Thunderbolt 4 for Thunderbolt Hubbing. This advanced feature was missing in the previous version, but it is provided.

It allows you to connect 4 ports in a hub independent of each other. If you disconnect the device in this Thunderbolt Hubbing, it will not affect any other devices.

For Apple’s MacBook users, Thunderbolt is nothing new, but to realize the Thunderbolt hub function, you need to upgrade the operating system.

Apple provided a Thunderbolt port for MacBook many years ago, so almost every user can use this technology.

Q2. Are Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 the same?

No, there are many differences between these two ports, but use the same connection Type C port.

The difference between Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4, such as-

Data transfer: Thunderbolt 4 has a capacity of 40GB/s, while USB 4 20GB/s or 40GB/s depends on compatibility.

Connection: You can connect 4 hubs in Thunderbolt 4, but not in USB 4.


Final Words

We hope that all your doubts have been cleared by this article, which was the difference between Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 port.

If you want to know more and give us some advice, then write in the comment box below we will try to reply as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: All information, logos, and images used on this page were not created by Guidetocart. We copied features and data from the official Intel and ThunderBolt websites. We only use it for educational purposes.

  • “Thunderbolt and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.”
  • “Thunderbolt is a trademark of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.”

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