USB4 8K and 16K to appear in devices late 2020
What devices will support USB4 8K and 16K?
USB4 has moved from concept to development to implementation much faster than anticipated. The newest version of the USB (Universal Serial Bus), gets a speed boost. This is due to Intel licensing the Thunderbolt 3 protocol to USB Promoter Group royalty-free.
The USB Promoter group includes Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments, and is responsible for shanking USB 1.0 in the back all those years ago (thankfully). They were responsible for, and committed to developing such ingeniously named versions as USB 2.0 and USB 3.2. Creative, right?
Getting down to brass tacks, and what it means to Joe Public, is that USB4 architecture – contributed by Intel Corporation – is based on the Thunderbolt™ protocol. Thunderbolt™ doubles the maximum aggregate bandwidth of USB, enabling rock steady, multiple simultaneous data and display protocols in transfer.
Key features of USB4, outlined by USB-IF
- Two-lane operation using existing USB Type-C® cables and up to 40Gbps operation over 40Gbps certified cables
- Multiple data and display protocols that efficiently share the maximum aggregate bandwidth
- Backward compatibility with USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3
The 40Gbps speeds they speak of are currently available using the Thunderbolt 3 USB cable for laptops like the MacBook Pro and its peripherals. Put another way: you could transfer 14 hours of video footage in one minute using Thunderbolt 3. This is twice as fast as USB 3.2.
There’s more good news. You won’t have to flip over your USB plug five times before you realize you had it the right way in the beginning. USB4 uses USB-C connectors, to ensure users have little chance of finding the HDMI port on their laptop by mistake.
“The USB4 solution specifically tailors bus operation to further enhance this [by] enabling the further doubling of performance.”Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman
The real benefits will be seen when transferring data from external drives, or when connecting devices that require a high speed transfer of data (think external GPUs, multiple UHD displays & DSLR camera storage).
“The primary goal of USB is to deliver the best user experience combining data, display and power delivery over a user-friendly and robust cable and connector solution,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman in a statement last year.
The USB Implementers Forum told CNET that consumers could expect to see devices, including laptops, external hard drives, and dongles with USB4 support in the “second half of 2020”.
USB4 8K And 16K Support
The biggest news is that USB4 will quite happily handle UHD, unlike anything that has come before.
DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 is a new standard from the Video Electronics Standards Association that will allow USB 4 to provide the higher specifications of DisplayPort 2.0 standard without compromising the ability to transmit USB data.
This effectively means support for 8K displays at 60Hz with HDR, 4K displays at 144Hz with HDR. Or even 16K (15360×8460) displays at 60Hz with compression.
This will put a patch on the arm of USB-C connector. It’s patently clear that this standard will set the stone for years to come.
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