USB4 Version 2.0 standard delivers data rates up to 80 Gbps

Tudor Cibean

Posts: 162   +10
Staff
Editor's take: Achieving 80 Gbps of bandwidth over copper cabling is an impressive feat, but passive cables capable of those speeds will be limited to under 1 meter. Meanwhile, the naming convention is as terrible as you'd expect for a USB specification, as less technically-inclined consumers might confuse it with USB 2.0, a standard released over two decades ago that tops out at 480 Mbps.

The USB Promoter Group announced the USB4 Version 2.0 specification, a significant update that will enable data rates up to 80 Gbps over USB-C cables and connectors. For comparison, both Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 Version 1.0 only support a maximum bandwidth of 40 Gbps bidirectionally.

A new physical layer (PHY) architecture enables the standard's increased data rates, which will reportedly work using existing 40 Gbps USB Type-C passive cables and newly-defined 80 Gbps USB Type-C active cables. The new specification will be backward compatible with previous USB revisions, including USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, and USB 2.0, as well as Thunderbolt 3.

Also read: How USB Works (And How It's Remained Ubiquitous and Ever Evolving)

The new standard includes updated data and display protocols to utilize the increased bandwidth better. It also allows USB 3.2 data tunneling to exceed 20 Gbps. The latest DisplayPort and PCIe specifications are supported, which likely means DisplayPort 2.0 and PCIe 5.0 (PCIe 6.0 only came out earlier this year).

The USB Promoter Group, comprised of Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Renesas Electronics, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments, says the new standard should be published sometime before the USB DevDays developer events planned for November. So we probably won't see devices supporting the updated specification until next year.

Due to this update, we might start seeing more docks and hubs opting for USB4 as an upstream connection over Thunderbolt. With up to twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4, it should permit more displays and devices to be connected simultaneously. It also allows charging speeds up to 240W, whereas Thunderbolt is limited to 100W.

In related news, the EU wants to make USB-C mandatory for all phones launched after fall 2024. You can also check out our deep dive on how USB works.

Featured: TechSpot's Quick Guide to Sockets and Ports

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Nanochip

Posts: 110   +153
I wonder if thunderbolt 5 is coming? Also I wonder what controllers are coming that will enable usb4v2 ? A new intel ridge? Something from apple and ASMedia ?
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,455   +1,360
This is a cluster fcuk and the USB standards committee need to be sacked. You could not make up this level of stupidity and and anti-consumer naming if you tried. Imagine how much time we'll need to spend researching cables now before we buy. I certainly don't trust labels as there's little enforcement. Bunch of oxygen thieves.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 849   +1,363
This is a cluster fcuk and the USB standards committee need to be sacked. You could not make up this level of stupidity and and anti-consumer naming if you tried. Imagine how much time we'll need to spend researching cables now before we buy. I certainly don't trust labels as there's little enforcement. Bunch of oxygen thieves.
Just noticed it’s USB 4 2.0. I think they just smoked a bunch of weed when publishing this.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 758   +732
This is a cluster fcuk and the USB standards committee need to be sacked. You could not make up this level of stupidity and and anti-consumer naming if you tried. Imagine how much time we'll need to spend researching cables now before we buy. I certainly don't trust labels as there's little enforcement. Bunch of oxygen thieves.

It's about as bad as HDMI's cable certification program.
 

zamroni111

Posts: 372   +216
"Seriously, who came up with the naming scheme?"

Somebody with a blood-alcohol level that was way over the legal limit at the time.
Usb standards have been like that since 1.1.
Version 1.1 has 2 speed ratings: 12 mbps full speed and 1.5 mbps low speed.
Version 2.0 added 3rd rating: high speed 480 mbps
And so on
 

rmcrys

Posts: 296   +239
Usb standards have been like that since 1.1.
Version 1.1 has 2 speed ratings: 12 mbps full speed and 1.5 mbps low speed.
Version 2.0 added 3rd rating: high speed 480 mbps
And so on

the stupidity is:
USB 3.0 = USB 3.1 Gen 1 = USB 3.2 Gen 1x1
USB 3.1 Gen 2 = USB 3.2 Gen 2x1
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 = USB 4.0 (at least on bandwith)

HDMI standards the same... you can have a new TV/Device with "HDMI 2.1" but using just the standards from HDMI 2.0! So you think "great! If it uses HDMI 2.1 then it supports 4K 120 fps or 8K 60 fps, VRR, ALLM, QMS and QFT !" ... ehhh no. It may be that the manufacturer just supports the HDMI 2.0 functions under the name HDMI 2.1 because, well, it is allowed.

what the h.......

It's about as bad as HDMI's cable certification program.

yes, exactly.

Well, the group makes money "working" on those new names, etc. while playing golf and eating in good restaurants.
 

neeyik

Posts: 2,265   +2,739
Staff member
Usb standards have been like that since 1.1.
Version 1.1 has 2 speed ratings: 12 mbps full speed and 1.5 mbps low speed.
Version 2.0 added 3rd rating: high speed 480 mbps
And so on
That's not Avro's criticism, though. It's about how the USB consortium repeatedly just mess about with the naming schemes used:

USB 1.0
USB 1.1
USB 2.0
USB 3.0
USB 3.1

Not bad, yes? But then it got silly because of the naming of the signalling types. USB 3.0s fastest mode became labelled USB 3.1 Gen 1, before eventually being labelled SuperSpeed. USB 3.1's fastest rate was labelled USB 3.1 Gen 2, and then changed to SuperSpeed+

USB 3.2 came out and then all hell broke loose with the signalling names:

USB 3.2 Gen 1 > SuperSpeed Architecture (same signal as USB 3.0's fastest mode and USB 3.1 Gen 1)
USB 3.2 Gen 2 > SuperSpeed+ > SuperSpeed Plus Architecture
USB 3.2 Gen 1x2 (also SuperSpeedPlus Architecture)
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (and this one is SuperSpeedPlus Architecture too!)

USB4 was no better:

USB4 Gen 2x1
USB4 Gen 2x2
USB4 Gen 3x1
USB4 Gen 3x2

And now we have USB4 Version 2.0 -- it's an absolute mess and the USB Group deserve every iota of criticism one can muster.

Edit: Ah, rmcrys beat me to it!
 

takaozo

Posts: 423   +650
Would have been a lot better if it was:
3.0
3.1
3.2
3.2.1
3.2.3
3.2.4
But hey that's just me.
 

wiak

Posts: 90   +35
And now we will get USB 4.2.1.1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9, hope they learned from the shitty old (new) naming scheme, lets just ignore it and call it USB 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80
 
And now we will get USB 4.2.1.1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9, hope they learned from the shitty old (new) naming scheme, lets just ignore it and call it USB 5, 10, 20, 40 and 80
Yeah, good call. Maybe we'll let them use ONE number, like USB 3or4 then max bandwidth.
 

Fulljack

Posts: 103   +95
Another day, another USB-IF marketing team working day and night making the absolute worst specification naming-scheme possible.

you think this is their worse? maybe wait in 2 or 3 years where they decided to make USB4 version 3.1 Gen 2 like an absolute brain smart they are. Jesus H. Christ.
 

comnut

Posts: 77   +30
Do a search for 'mechanical properties of USB4' and you will find an informative PDF..

mechanically the plug is very similar, it is the chips and software used that changes..