Hardware / News

USB 4 Version 2.0: 80 Gbps with older cables

  • The most impressive thing about USB4 Version 2 is the ability to run at 80 Gbps on “older” USB 4 passive cables.
  • The new USB 4 v2 standard will be officially announced in November, with expected market arrival sometime in 2023.
  • USB 4 devices are still pretty rare, but we’re already talking about USB 4 version 2.0.
usb cable

USB is cool, and USB-C is even better, but recent versions were plagued by a silly issue: the weird naming scheme of the standard, something that caused a lot of confusion in the past. USB4 was supposed to fix this, but now we’re hearing talks about USB 4 version 2.0.

The official announcement is expected this November by the USB Promoter Group, so we’re in the advanced rumor phase right now.

What we do know is that this new USB4 v2 will offer up to 80 Gbps transfer speeds, double what USB 4 offers right now. That’s impressive, considering Thunderbolt 4 kept the same 40 Gbps transfer speed as Thunderbolt 3.

I personally want to see Thunderbolt gone. Why? Because it’s a closed technology it never caught the public attention, as USB did. Thunderbolt devices are expensive, cables are really expensive, so I want USB 4 with the Type C connector to take over.

USB is just as capable as Thunderbolt now, even more so with the new speedy version. Power Delivery will go soon up to 240 Watts, and eGPU support might be just around the corner. DisplayPort tunneling is already supported, so what we’re missing is a finalized standard.

USB 4 version 2.0 could be it. It will also work with older passive 40 Gbps certified cables, it seems, at the full 80 Gbps speed. This highlights the strong points of USB: backward compatibility is better than any other standard currently on the market.

I’m still dreaming of a portable laptop that I can connect to an eGPU at full speed, not at a measly PCI-E 4x, using a single cable that will also charge my laptop. This dream could become a possibility soon.

Update: it’s possible that the new USB 4 v2 standard will be capable of one-way transfers up to 120 Gbps, enough for nice things like DisplayPort 2.0 with Ultra High Bit Rate (UHBR20) protocol, enough for an 8K display running at 144 Hz.

The downside? While you transmit at 120 Gpbs, you’ll only receive data at 40 Gbps. This is possible because the four high-speed lines of USB (2 upstream, 2 downstream) can be configured in 3 + 1 mode (120 Gbps + 40 Gbps).

All this info is yet to be confirmed.

Avatar for Ionuț-Alexandru Popa
I'm a writer and Editor-in-Chief at BinaryFork. I am passionate about technology, science, space exploration, and movies. I started writing about tech more than 20 years ago, after graduating in Computer Science.
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