Let’s get this out of the way up front: Intel’s new Thunderbolt 4 connection isn’t technically faster than Thunderbolt 3, at least when it comes to overall throughput. (They both offer up to 40 gigabit per second speeds.) But the company is justifying the new version number other ways: Namely, by cranking up the minimum requirements for systems with the new connection.

Thunderbolt 4 PCs will be able to connect to at least two 4K displays, whereas the previous requirement was just one. Additionally, the new connection supports PCIe data speeds up to 32 Gb/s, twice as fast as before. So you can expect to see incredibly fast Thunderbolt 4 external drives eventually. And you can be rest assured that at least one of your Thunderbolt 4 ports will support laptop charging, which is a bit of a hit-or-miss capability with current systems.


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