USB4 2.0 specification and new logos released, offering 80GBps bandwidth

Daniel Sims

Posts: 762   +30
Staff
Recap: When the USB Promoter Group revealed the latest USB specifications last month, they anticipated they would publish the final spec before November. Now the full sheets are here. As the new standard competes with the upcoming Thunderbolt update, the groups behind the interfaces are becoming more careful with potentially confusing naming and labeling (to no avail).

The USB Promoter Group published the final specifications for USB4 version 2.0 this week. The specification's main improvement is that it doubles bandwidth from 40Gbps to 80Gbps.

Using PAM3 signal encoding, 80Gbps connections are possible over newly-defined 80Gbps USB-C active cables or existing 40Gbps passive cables. Technically, 80Gbps isn't the maximum bandwidth, however. High-performance USB4-based displays and other specific situations might allow for asymmetrical connections reaching up to 120Gbps in one direction and 40Gbps in the other.

Also read: TechSpot's Quick Guide to Sockets and Ports

The USB group first talked about the new standard last month, revealing the upgraded data protocols, display protocols, and physical layers that allow both increased bandwidth and the technology to smartly utilize it. Because the specification is brand new, consumers shouldn't expect USB4 2.0 products to appear until 2023.

An interesting new feature of USB4 2.0 is the ability to tunnel USB 3.2 connections beyond their original 20Gbps bandwidth. The standard is also compatible with PCIe 4 and the newly-established DisplayPort 2.1. Expectedly, USB4 2.0 is backward compatible with USB4 1.0, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3.

Thunderbolt 4's 40Gbps bandwidth matched that of USB4 1.0 since the specifications are related. Not willing to fall behind, Thunderbolt is also upgrading to a new 80Gbps-capable specification which Intel demonstrated in Israel last month. Interestingly, it isn't called Thunderbolt 5 (for now).

It also hasn't gone unnoticed that USB4 2.0's name isn't very straightforward. Less knowledgeable users might confuse it with the 20-year-old USB 2.0 specification which tops out at a mere 480Mbps. To counter the issue, USB4 2.0's logos – released alongside the final specification – emphasize the bandwidth figure over the specification number.

None of the logos say USB4 2.0 at all. The packaging logo reads "Certified USB 80Gbps," while the others simply say 80Gbps, sometimes along with wattage indicators like 240w or 60w.

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Geralt

Posts: 1,320   +2,149
USB 4 2.0?!? -facepalm-
Why can't we do normal version numbering?

Seriously? Who thought this dumpster fire of a system was better and/or less confusing for normal customers than increment numbers in order?
And 10GBps would be more practical than 80Gbps. That's the speed of the current Pcie 5 Nvmes. Ah yes, 80 is bigger than 10. This marketing sucks.
 

EdmondRC

Posts: 451   +657
I like the idea of one cable connection can do it all. However, the average consumer will have no idea which cable they need. The $5 usb C charging cable for your phone is not going to allow you to get 4K @240Hz which usb 4.2 has the bandwidth to deliver. It won't even allow you to get 5Gbs. So, they need to figure out how to label cables and inform customers on what is required. It's already confusing enough with HDMI, one cable to rule them all is only going to make things worse.
 

PEnnn

Posts: 1,011   +1,361
USB 4 2.0?!? -facepalm-
Why can't we do normal version numbering?

Seriously? Who thought this dumpster fire of a system was better and/or less confusing for normal customers than increment numbers in order?

Those are the same creative minds who proudly throw names like PCMCIA, WYSIWYG and SCSI (this one is easier to digest though), etc at consumers.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,984   +6,471
I just don't think trying to use USB-c for everything is a great idea. There are too many cables needed for too many standards. While I don't think everyone is stupid, there are plenty of people who are that won't be able to troubleshoot why something doesn't work with a cable. For phones and cameras, USB-C is great but I don't believe it should be used in things like monitors or for audio. Displayport and HDMI is fine. USB is a good option to have if you, say, only have one HDMI port on your laptop and need to connect another display.
 

Slappy McPhee

Posts: 257   +162
I just don't think trying to use USB-c for everything is a great idea. There are too many cables needed for too many standards. While I don't think everyone is stupid, there are plenty of people who are that won't be able to troubleshoot why something doesn't work with a cable. For phones and cameras, USB-C is great but I don't believe it should be used in things like monitors or for audio. Displayport and HDMI is fine. USB is a good option to have if you, say, only have one HDMI port on your laptop and need to connect another display.

I am all for smaller, yet perfectly functional connectors myself. Sure, HDMI/DP connectors aren't huge like a Parallel connector (showing my age now), but if they can be reduced in size and therefore footprint then why not?
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,984   +6,471
I am all for smaller, yet perfectly functional connectors myself. Sure, HDMI/DP connectors aren't huge like a Parallel connector (showing my age now), but if they can be reduced in size and therefore footprint then why not?
There was something satisfying plugging and unplugging those big connectors
 

NikoBB

Posts: 105   +66
I have already written many times that it is time to abandon the *****ic copper cables that sharply limit the length of the signal cable. It's time to switch to optics, where even 250Gb/s at 50 meters is an easy task.

It’s not clear to me why the industry is pulling with this, except for just one thought - ordinary people have not yet learned how to wash their hands with soap under running water, where should they be before careful handling of optical cables...this is an impossible task for most. Forgive me for possible snobbery, but the only reason that still somehow explains the lack of progress with the transition to optics in everyday life.

As for the stupid cable markings, the Chinese are happy to rivet any markings in your basements. Therefore, cables must always be checked. And you should not order such sensitive equipment remotely, even from "brands".
 

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 82   +112
USB 4 2.0?!? -facepalm-
Why can't we do normal version numbering?

Seriously? Who thought this dumpster fire of a system was better and/or less confusing for normal customers than increment numbers in order?
It's not too tough. Basically..... USB 3.0 is now USB 3.2 gen 1, USB 3.1 is now USB 3.2 gen 2, USB 3.2 is USB 3.2 gen 2x2, USB 4 2.0 will eventually become USB 4 2.0 gen 1.0, to make way for USB 4 2.0 gen 2.0 and USB 4 2.0 gen 2.0x2.0...... see? easy /s