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Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4 | Difference between Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4

This page compares Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4 and mentions difference between Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 types.

Both are used to connect computing devices such as laptops, desktops and mobile with display of different interface types.

Thunderbolt 4

This interface supports data, video and power over single cable connection with speeds of 40 Gbps. Thunderbolt 4 is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt 3, 2, 1 and USB versions. The devices will be available from Intel before the end of year 2020. It is the successor to Thunderbolt 3 version.

Thunderbolt 4

Thunderbolt 4 supports following requirements.
• One universal computer port
• Universal 40 Gb/s cables up to 2 meters in length.
• Supports two number of 4K displays instead of one (or supports one 8K display)
• Accessories with four Thunderbolt ports
• Required PC charging on at least one computer port
• Required PC wake from sleep when computer is connected to a Thunderbolt dock
• Thunderbolt networking (10 Gbps ethernet connection between PCs)
• Mandatory certification for all shipping computers, accessories and cables
• Cable testing and cable quality audits for Thunderbolt cable manufacturers
• Required Intel VT-d based DMA protection


It is published in August 2019. It is successor to USB 3.2 version and designed to support higher speed. It is called superspeed+. It uses type-C connector like Thunderbolt. Various speed levels are supported viz. 10 Gbps, 20 Gbps and 40 Gbps.

USB 4 supports two lane operation using existing USB type-C cables. USB PD supported by USB4 can provide up to 100 Watts.

Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4

Following table compares Thunderbolt 4 vs USB 4 and mentions similarities and difference between Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 types.

Features Thunderbolt 4 USB 4
Minimum PC Speed requirements 40 Gb/s 20 Gb/s
Minimum PC Video requirements Two 4K displays One display (No minimum)
Minimum PC data requirements PCIe - 32 Gb/s, USB 3.2 - 10 Gb/s USB 3.2 - 10 Gb/s
Minimum PC port power for accessories 15 W 7.5 W
Cable length 2 meters 2 to 5 meters as per USB version

Thunderbolt and USB Links

Thunderbolt types
Advantages and disadvantages of Thunderbolt
Difference between USB types
USB Type-C Interface
Advantages and disadvantages of USB

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