The Difference Between Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4 and USB3.2

The Difference Between Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB4 and USB3.2

The latest Intel standard is the Thunderbolt 4 but what is the advantage? Thunderbolt, USB4 and USB3.2 are all based on the USB-C connector and therefore have similiraties - but what is the difference between them all?

Computers, laptops etc with Thunderbolt 4 interfaces can run two external 4k screens from the same port, both at 40Gbps speeds, whereas a Thunderbolt 3 port can only run one 4k screen. Additionally, a USB4 port can run one screen but there is no accepted minimum video requirement that the computer has to meet. This is where Thunderbolt 4 spec is clear - a TB4 port must be capable of running two 4K screens down one cable.

Pi-Cables  USB4 / TB4 compatible cables support speeds to 40Gbps and a charging capability of 240W. This is the same as Thunderbolt 4 capability.

To be able to use these Thunderbolt 3/4 computer ports for 4k screens, a Thunderbolt 3 or 4 compatible cable must be used (3 for one screen and 4 for two screens). Also, only Windows based computers can run MST video (Multi Stream Thread). Where two video streams can be sent down one Thunderbolt-capable cable to a Thunderbolt 4 dock where the two screens will be connected. This then gives the three different screen solutions at 4K.

Macs on the other hand only have SST (single stream thread) capability. For Macs two separate ports have to be used for two external screens showing different streams.

The Pi-Cables Thunderbolt 3/4 compatible cables are great value for the serious performance capability.

USB-C3.2 gen2X2 supports speeds upto 20Gbps and is capable of power delivery to 100watts for charging. It is more than capable of running a 4k60Hz display and more than one display if DSC (display stream compression) is used. 

Pi-Cables USB-C3.2 gen 2x2 cables are the great value cables that will do most charging and display jobs that are commonly required in the professional workplace. Value and performance at the same time.

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