USB4 Version 2.0 announced bringing with it 80 Gbps data transfer

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The USB Promoter Group, the organisation responsible for managing the popular specification and its bewildering number of variants, has announced USB4 Version 2.0, which will enable up to 80 Gbps data transfer rates using some existing USB Type-C cables.

Image: Mike O'Connor

Currently, USB4 can operate at up to 40Gbps and max out at 20Gbps. The new spec enables up to 80 Gbps data transfer rates. In addition, the USB Power Delivery (PD) specs will be updated.

The introduction of USB4 Version 2.0 further complicates an already bewildering number of USB variants on the market. According to Ars Technica, you'll potentially now be able to find "USB-C ports that are USB4 Version 2.0, USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.2 Gen 1, or USB 2.0, plus some will opt for Intel Thunderbolt certification. And in the case of USB4 Version 1.0, you'll still need more information to know if the port supports the spec's max potential speed of 40Gbps" - wow. 

However there's one ray of light - provided you already have USB Type-C passive cables rated for 40 Gbps speeds, you'll be able to take advantage of the new USB4 Version 2.0 specs and achieve 80 Gbps speed without purchasing any new cables.

“Once again following USB tradition, this updated USB4 specification doubles data performance to deliver higher levels of functionality to the USB Type-C ecosystem,” said Brad Saunders, USB Promoter Group Chairman. “Solutions seeing the most benefit from this speed enhancement include higher-performance displays, storage, and USB-based hubs and docks.”

Additionally, the USB Promoter Group has also announced that the new standard includes updates to support the latest DisplayPort and PCIe specs. The updated USB4 solution also includes backward compatibility with USB4 Version 1.0, USB 3.2, USB 2.0 and Thunderbolt 3.

Cover image: Mike O'Connor

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