Intel introduced the newest generation of the Thunderbolt, which is called Thunderbolt 4. This new generation offers increased minimum performance requirements, expanded capabilities, and USB4 specifications. These innovations allow the Thunderbolt connection to support two 4K display, which is double the support that a Thunderbolt 3 connection offers or users can connect a single 8K display!

Some features include:

  • 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
Source: Intel

The bew Thunderbolt connection also enables cables to have a length of up to 2 meters in length. The next generation of Thunderbolt 4 connection allows Thunderbolt docks to feature up to four separate Thunderbolt ports, which allows for not only longer cords but also a larger range of overall connectivity.

While the next-gen Thunderbolt connection offers fantastic new and amazing features but requires nearly double the PCIe speed when compared to a Thunderbolt 3 connection. As the PCIe speed for Thunderbolt 3 is 16 Gb/s while the Thunderbolt 4 connection will require a PCIe speed of up to 32 Gb/s.

One feature that Thunderbolt 4 has that Thunderbolt 3 support at all, Thunderbolt 4, requires Intel VT-d based DMA protection. This software restricts direct memory access, or DMA, of the devices to pre-assigned domains or physical memory regions. This protection is achieved by a hardware capability, which is known as DMA-remapping.

Another feature of the fact that Thunderbolt 4 will also be fully compatible with Thunderbolt 3 peripherals and other Thunderbolt 3 devices. This means that even if you currently have a Thunderbolt 3 dock, you won’t be forced to upgrade your dock if you upgrade to Thunderbolt 4.

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