USB 4 is on the way, and when it arrives it’ll support data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps. At least that’s what we learned when the specification was released last year. But it turns out that speeds actually top out at 80 Gbps when using DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 to drive an 8K display.
That’s because USB 4 supports sending and receiving 40 Gigabytes per second at the same time. The new DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 standard, announced this week by VESA, reconfigures a 4-lane USB 4 connection so that all the data can be sent one-way (since you don’t typically need to receive data from a monitor).
So far there aren’t any laptops, desktops, or other computers with USB 4 support yet. But VESA says we should start to products with support for DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 in 2021, so it sure looks like USB 4 should hit the market by then.
The new technology does mean that you don’t necessarily need a USB 4 controller on both ends of the cable — if your laptop supports USB 4 and your monitor supports DisplayPort 2.0 technology, you should be good to go.
As Anandtech points out, it’s unclear at this point if all USB 4 cables will support this feature. But it certainly looks like we’re inching closer to a one-port-to-rule-them-all future.