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What we think we know about Apple Silicon and Thunderbolt 4


Apple is migrating Macs from Intel to Apple Silicon. What does this mean when it comes to support for Intel’s all-new Thunderbolt 4 standard? Here’s what we think, know and imagine.

What is Thunderbolt 4?

Intel has introduced what it says is its “truly universal” Thunderbolt 4 I/O specification. At 40Gbps, it’s no faster than the existing Thunderbolt technology used by Apple, but it offers more capabilities and USB-4 spec compliance.

Intel argues that this is the most “future-proof” iteration of USB-C yet. It’s also hoping to introduce certified Thunderbolt 4 cables up to 50 meters long this year – a big improvement compared to the 2-meter length now supported.

Developer and certification kits for the new I/O are available now. Support for Thunderbolt 4 will be integrated into computers that run Intel’s upcoming Tiger Lake processors.

Other platforms will need to use Thunderbolt 4 8000 series host controllers, of which three are available: the JHL8540 and JHL8340 controllers for computers, and the JHL8440 for accessories.

What is it good for?

There are several advantages to Thunderbolt 4, but here’s a very quick tour:

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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