The next generation of USB is just ridiculous. According to the USB Promotor Group, the upcoming USB4 2.0 standard will offer data transfer rates up to 80 Gbps—double the speed of today’s USB connectors. And oddly enough, you may reap the benefits of this upgrade without buying new USB cables.
The new USB4 2.0 standard utilizes a USB-C connector, which seems like a given at this point. It supports data transfer rates up to 80 Gbps, which will improve the performance of USB accessories, portable drives, and external GPUs.
Additionally, this increased bandwidth (plus USB4 2.0’s upgraded HDMI and DisplayPort support) should enhance the video output capabilities of USB-C hubs. Current-generation USB-C hubs have trouble juggling high-res video with other demanding tasks.
But the most shocking benefit is for older USB4 cables. When paired with a new USB4 2.0 device, your existing USB4 cables may offer data transfer rates up to 80 Gbps.
“Key characteristics of the updated USB4 solution 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.”
Now, the USB standard is very confusing, and I doubt that every USB4 cable will see this benefit. The USB Promotion Group even specifies that “active USB4 cables” are permanently capped at 40 Gbps transfer rates.
For clarity, “active” cables interact with data, while “passive” cables simply transfer whatever data they’re given. Some extra-long USB4 cables use active circuitry to maintain a strong connection, for example.
We’ll learn more about USB4 2.0 during the USB Developer Days 2022 conference this November. Presumably, USB4 2.0 devices won’t launch until early 2023. Note that today’s USB announcement doesn’t include any info on USB-C PD or the Thunderbolt standard.
Source: USB Promotor Group