Show consumer electronics 2020 (CES-2020) opened on January 7 in Las Vegas. And before opening on Sunday, January 6, at the Convention center of the Mandalay Bay, also in Vegas, Intel held a spectacular press conference – speaking from and about a lot, and nothing. But on one of the slides about the processor of the eleventh generation of the clan Tiger Lake one of the lines has caused burning and mass interest. These on-chip processors, judging by the picture, will be placed Thunderbolt 4.

Apparently, contrary to expectations Gregory Bryant, Vice-President of Intel, representing the processors of the 11-th generation, and along the way discovered the world of Thunderbolt 4, this technology has aroused even more interest than Tiger Lake. The reasons for this are several. The main one on the slide, it just catches the eye. Data transfer speeds from Thunderbolt 4 is 4 times higher than that of the USB3.

What is the difference between USB standards

There are three options USB3, which differ from one another is the data transfer rate. This is a USB 3.0 (aka USB 3.2 Gen 1, aka SuperSpeed USB) with a data transfer rate 5 Gbps USB 3.1 (3.2 Gen 2 USB, or SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbit/s) 10 GB/s and USB 3.2 (3.2 Gen USB SuperSpeed USB 2×2 or 20 Gbit/s ) with 20 Gbit/s. Excited reporters were quick to multiply 20 GB/s (USB speed 3.2 Gen 2×2) four, but Gregory Bryant revealed unexpected uncertainty: we are talking about USB 3.1 data transfer speeds Thunderbolt 4 – 40 GB/s. As have Thunderbolt 3. And then the audience rushed from one extreme to the opposite – “it’s a rebranding, with the aim to earn more on certification”, “it’s trying to put the bullets in the eye” and all that. And we will not rush to extremes, we will try to understand.

Which is better — USB or Thunderbolt

It is known that in the industry USB (whatever version) is distributed much widerthan the Thunderbolt. There is even some deep and clever theories explaining why USB wins. If Thunderbolt is less user-friendly and more difficult, and its use in commercial device is much more expensive. Because of the much more expensive components. The latter is true.

More precisely, it was true until recently, until Intel have abolished its own monopoly on Thunderbolt controllers to develop and produce that have only entitled it. The rest is rather true, in any case, those who develop devices that use the USB and Thunderbolt, argue that the complexity for the user, everything is exactly the opposite. Cite both points of view, the device I designed – but as a user have no claims neither to USB nor to the Thunderbolt.

The war between USB 3 and Thunderbolt 3, no problem getting along in the USB type-C, it seems, never ended. They should have been merged. For this, it would seem, simply can not be any obstacles – and all from it only would win. Users and those who create computers, mobile devices, docks, peripherals. The rights to both the trademark owned by Intel. In the spring of 2019 USB4 Intel announced a new version of USB, and in August passed its specification in USB-IF (USB forum-developers) for publication. Read more about USB4 at the end of the article. While we note that the new version (interesting and timely, but flawed) looks like a strategic military campaign against the competitor. Between the units of Intel – war? The absence of reciprocal action by the Thunderbolt division was forced to doubt. Tell us your opinion about it in our Telegram chat.

Released a new Thunderbolt

But on 6 January, the Convention center and the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, albeit vaguely and not without mistakes, has announced that a new version of the Thunderbolt has been developed, details about it will be announced later. And what might these details is still unknown. Maybe the speed of data transmission in a full implementation will be higher (still have it in each subsequent version doubles). But there is a more prosaic explanation of all this. In order to place the housing your coveted device around the lightning USB connector-C announcing support for Thunderbolt, you need to get certified. You need to pay. In order to declare the cables supporting Thunderbolt and put on their treasured icon, you want to go through the real tests. Testing of the cable and its connectors (for strength, durability and security), and nerves (those who receive this certificate). For this you have to pay, regardless of the outcome of the certification. That’s all fairly and impartially.

Those who were willing to go for these tests seem to have passed them. And so, to get them all to pay again, came up with the Thunderbolt 4. Why not? Could be right all the versions given above – they do not contradict one another. More interesting: it really looks like a retaliatory strike from the Thunderbolt division. As for Apple Computer in the early 80’s, before Steve jobs persuaded John sculley to head the company.