USB 4 Version 2.0: same connector, twice the performance

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 2, 2022
Updated • Sep 2, 2022
Hardware
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The USB Prompter Group has unveiled USB 4 version 2.0 on September 1, 2022. The upcoming standard promises double the performance of the initial USB 4 specification, while keeping the same USB Type-C connector that is seeing more and more adoption.

usb 4.0

Most home users may wonder why they never heard of USB 4, the standard that USB 4.0 version 2.0 aims to replace. Announced in August 2019, USB 4 was designed to double the performance of the widely used USB 3.2 standard. While the standard does support up to 40 Gbit/s throughput, USB 4 devices need to support at least 20 Gbit/s, which is the same maximum that USB 3.2 supports.

It took years, however, before the first USB 4 products became available to the public, and it may take several more to see widespread use. USB 4 cables and products, such as docking stations or external hard drives are available, but most products are still offered with USB 3.2 or even older standards.

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USB 4 version 2.0

The main characteristics of USB 4 version 2.0 include:

  • Up to 80 Gbps operation, based on a new physical layer architecture, using existing 40 Gbps USB.
  • Type-C passive cables and newly-defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.
  • Updates to data and display protocols to better use the increase in available bandwidth
    • USB data architecture updates now enable USB 3.2 data tunneling to exceed 20 Gbps.
    • Updated to align with the latest versions of the DisplayPort and PCIe specifications.
  •  Backward compatibility with USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3.

Thankfully, USB standards look as if they will become less confusing in the coming years. Connectors remain the same, which is good news for users, who up to this day have to cope with cable connector overload in many cases. The focus on USB Type-C should reduce this significantly, once older USB standards fade away.

Closing Words

Realistically speaking. it will take years before the first USB 4 version 2.0 cables and products will become broadly available on the market. If you can get your hands on USB 4 products, it is probably worth it if you need the extra bandwidth or extra features, such as tunneling of DisplayPort and PCI Express, it supports when compared to USB 3.2.

The selected name, USB 4 Version 2.0 may -- again -- cause some confusion among customers. There is USB 2.0, an older version of the standard after all. The new USB4 version 2.0 is a deviation of the previously used USB 3.x naming scheme.

Now You: what is the fastest USB standard that your devices support?

Summary
USB 4 Version 2.0: same connector, twice the performance
Article Name
USB 4 Version 2.0: same connector, twice the performance
Description
The USB Prompter Group has unveiled USB 4 version 2.0 on September 1, 2022, promising twice the performance of its predecessor USB 4.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Paul(us) said on September 2, 2022 at 1:35 pm
    Reply

    Finally, a USB change without having to use another cable.

    Unfortunately, there is no end in sight to the patent infringement that some hardware vendors are still abusing, such as Apple computers.

  2. Clairvaux said on September 2, 2022 at 3:17 pm
    Reply

    > what is the fastest USB standard that your devices support?

    I don’t know. USB is such a mess that it takes days of research to buy one piece of equipment, and then your knowledge is worth zero because they go on moving things — always in a thoroughly obscure way.

    Also, unless you’re a computer professional, you forget what you’ve learned, because it’s so complex.

    Right now, my setup works — sort of. That’s all I need.

  3. Clairvaux said on September 2, 2022 at 3:21 pm
    Reply

    Just an example of that horrendous complexity :

    > While keeping the same USB Type-C cable that is seeing more and more adoption.

    > Type-C passive cables and newly-defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables.

    > It will take years before the first USB 4 version 2.0 cables and products will become broadly available.

    So, do you need new cables, yes or no ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 2, 2022 at 5:26 pm
      Reply

      It appears that you do need new cables to use the full potential. I have adjusted the article to better reflect that.

  4. c said on September 2, 2022 at 5:02 pm
    Reply

    My recent mobile phones are spec’d at usb 2, but have the usb C connector. I think most still are usb 2.

  5. Chumley said on September 2, 2022 at 8:16 pm
    Reply

    Hmm, “USB 4 v2.0”. The confusing naming of USB standards continues. I wonder why they didn’t just call it USB 4.1?

    1. John G. said on September 3, 2022 at 1:49 pm
      Reply

      +1

  6. Eddie said on September 3, 2022 at 2:59 am
    Reply

    USB and all it’s crappy connectors has consigned Billions of pieces of perfectly good hardware into landfill, I myself have several pieces of hardware that I only use infrequently due to the crappy cheapo type c connector it uses.
    This rather feeds into the planned obsolescence strategy as these connectors only last about a year of careful use…
    Rather like the engineering failure that is the laptop hinge, another landfill creator.
    Type B was IMO the best connector in the series so far and I will never understand why manufacturers didn’t stick with, just alter it’s size.

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