Upgrading to USB 4.0 Version 2.0 Will Raise Top Speeds to 120Gbps

A new revision of USB 4.0 now supports data speeds up to 120Gbps, a significant increase from the previous maximum speeds of 80Gbps.

The USB Implementers Forum, a non-profit industry organization that oversees the interface, released the information. The USB 4.0 Version 2.0 specifications were updated on Tuesday by the released (Opens in a new window) group. Version 2.0 was initially unveiled in September.

With the new standard, USB4’s data transmission rates will increase from 40Gbps to 80Gbps. Manufacturers will have the opportunity to boost data transfer speeds even further thanks to the updated specifications, but only in one direction at the expense of the other.

The USB Implementers Forum stated in the announcement that the USB Type-C signal interface can optionally be configured asymmetrically to deliver up to 120Gbps in one direction while maintaining 40Gbps in the other direction for some applications, such as driving very-high performance USB4-based displays.

(Source: USB-IF) This can be done by a manufacturer by rearranging the data channels. There are four total lanes in the conventional USB 4.0 Version 2.0 connector, which are equally divided to allow data to be sent and received at 80Gbps. Three lanes can be set up to transport data in one direction at 120Gbps, leaving the fourth lane free to send data in the opposite direction at 40Gbps.

Because of the faster data rates, USB 4.0 Version 2.0 should be able to power 8K or 16K monitors at the high refresh rates and HDR colors that professional producers and gamers require. An 8K display can now be powered at 60Hz using DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 in USB4, however all display data is delivered in a single path.

The naming of the new specification presents one difficulty: USB 4.0 Version 2.0 is a mouthful and doesn’t communicate anything about the distinctions from USB4.


The USB Implementers Forum is aware of this and has already informed PCMag that it will not be promoting companies to use the USB 4.0 Version 2.0 nomenclature on actual goods. The general consumer simply wants to know the speed/power capabilities when purchasing certified USB solutions, and any use of specification terminology only causes confusion with consumers, a spokesperson said last month. “We’ve learned this through multiple consumer focus group studies and feedback from retailers,” the spokesperson said.

(Source: USB-IF) The group gave a sneak peek of this on Tuesday by unveiling branding logos for the technology that stress the phrase “USB 80Gbps.” Existing USB4 labels also highlight the speeds by utilizing phrases like “USB 40Gbps” and “USB 20Gbps,” which helps users understand the precise advantages.

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