USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4: What Are The Key Differences?

Thunderbolt 4 Vs USB 4

You may not realize it, but you’ve likely crossed paths with USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, two digital highways that power our modern tech-driven lives. Picture this: You’re at your desk, connecting your laptop to a monitor, charging your smartphone, or transferring files between devices. What you’re using are not just cables and ports; they’re the gateways to the digital world, and one of these might be the USB 4 or Thunderbolt 4.

These two technologies make your digital interactions smoother and more efficient. But what sets them apart, and how do they influence the way you work, play, and connect in our tech-savvy era? Let’s take a closer look at USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4, demystifying the intricacies and helping you understand which road is the right one for your tech journey.

Advertisement - Continue reading below

What Are USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4?

Imagine USB and Thunderbolt as two different highways for data and power to flow through your devices. USB 4 and Thunderbolt 4 are two types of roads with some key differences.

USB 4 is like a wide, open highway that almost every device can use. It’s a standard that allows your gadgets to talk to each other and share information. Think of it as the main street in your neighborhood, accessible to everyone.

Thunderbolt 4, on the other hand, is like a special express lane on the highway. It’s super fast and can handle a lot of traffic. But there’s a catch – you need a special pass to use it, and not all devices have that pass. This express lane is built for high-end stuff like gaming, professional video editing, and super-fast data transfers.

USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4: Speed and Power

One of the big differences between these two roads is how fast they can go and how much power they can deliver.

Thunderbolt 4 is the speed demon. It can move data at 40 Gbps (that’s like driving a Ferrari on the highway). It can also deliver a whopping 100 watts of power, which means it can charge your laptop or power-hungry gadgets quickly.

USB 4, while not as fast, is still pretty speedy at 20 Gbps (more like driving a solid sedan). It can deliver power too, but usually not as much as Thunderbolt 4.

Advertisement - Continue reading below

Related Articles:

USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4: Compatibility

Now, let’s talk about how these roads work with your devices.

Thunderbolt 4 is like a fancy road that some devices are built to use. If your laptop or monitor has a Thunderbolt 4 port, you can connect high-end accessories like external graphics cards or super high-resolution displays.

A multiport Thunderbolt 4 dock connecting via a Thunderbolt 4 cable to a Thunderbolt 4 port (Source: Intel)
A multiport Thunderbolt 4 dock connecting via a Thunderbolt 4 cable to a Thunderbolt 4 port (Source: Intel)

USB 4, on the other hand, is like the regular road that almost all devices can use. You’ll find USB 4 ports on many laptops, smartphones, and other gadgets. It’s great for everyday tasks and most peripherals like printers, keyboards, and mice.

USB 4 vs Thunderbolt 4: Cables and Cost

Thunderbolt 4 cables are like the premium option. They are faster and can handle more power, but they can also be more expensive.

USB 4 cables are a budget-friendly choice. They’re widely available and more affordable, making them suitable for most devices.

AspectUSB 4Thunderbolt 4
Maximum Data Transfer20 Gbps40 Gbps
Power DeliveryUp to 100WUp to 100W
Peripheral SupportCommon peripheralsHigh-end peripherals
LicensingOpen standardIntel licensing required
Cable AvailabilityWidely available and affordablePremium, potentially more expensive
CompatibilityCommon across devicesCommon but more specialized
Backward CompatibilityUSB-C and USB 3.2 devicesThunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices

In a nutshell, Thunderbolt 4 is like a high-speed express lane for your high-end gadgets, while USB 4 is the everyday road for most of your devices. Your choice depends on what you need to do and what your devices support. So, next time you’re shopping for tech gear, keep these differences in mind, and you’ll be better equipped to make the right choice for your needs. Happy tech travels!

Advertisement - Continue reading below


Sign up to our Newsletter for expert advice and tips of how to get the most out of your Tech Gadgets

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.