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USB4 is Coming - Everything You Need to Know

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it really is quite amazing how much of a mess USB is
 
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How far are we from making monitor power plugs optional? 60 watts should allow a lot of people to clean up the cable clutter on their desk.
A million years away (because monitors still have to work with games consoles, DVD / Blu-Ray players, CCTV recorder units, laptops, etc, and many other devices that all use normal HDMI). Personally I've never even liked the "let's re-route power through other devices" design philosophy for devices that aren't always used in pairs. Eg, many ultra-portable laptop owners who don't use an external monitor will find it a huge step back if compact 35-55w power bricks get replaced with house-brick sized 250w units and they have to lug that around each day for the sake of 5% of other people "saving on a cable" that takes up less space than the size of the newly enlarged brick...
 
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The real question with USB4 is what sort of speeds can be expected from a sub-par cable made of chinesium and given away free with cheap Chinese products?

Whether we like it or not, it's inevitable that we'll end up with those cables in our collection at some point and need to know if they're worthless or still useful but just slower-charging and lower data rates.
 
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How far are we from making monitor power plugs optional? 60 watts should allow a lot of people to clean up the cable clutter on their desk.
Unlikely not for a long time, since the display will end up being the power source for laptops in the near future.

What would be a difference?
Well, at least with regards to the ASM4242, it can do the full 40 Gbps for PCIe, rather than 32 Gbps of Thunderbolt, as there are no PCIe 4.0 Thunderbolt chips, as yet.

A million years away (because monitors still have to work with games consoles, DVD / Blu-Ray players, CCTV recorder units, laptops, etc, and many other devices that all use normal HDMI). Personally I've never even liked the "let's re-route power through other devices" design philosophy for devices that aren't always used in pairs. Eg, many ultra-portable laptop owners who don't use an external monitor will find it a huge step back if compact 35-55w power bricks get replaced with house-brick sized 250w units and they have to lug that around each day for the sake of 5% of other people "saving on a cable" that takes up less space than the size of the newly enlarged brick...
Chargers will still come in several different sizes, suitable for various products. 240 W is a maximum, not a requirement.

The real question with USB4 is what sort of speeds can be expected from a sub-par cable made of chinesium and given away free with cheap Chinese products?
480 Mbps, as it'll fall back to USB 2.0 speeds.
Whether we like it or not, it's inevitable that we'll end up with those cables in our collection at some point and need to know if they're worthless or still useful but just slower-charging and lower data rates.
Well, yes, but without an e-marker, they won't even deliver anything over 5 V, so a lot of them will be disappearing over time.
That said, there will still be a lot of charging only cables around.
 
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As I alluded, but didn't want to spell out in the article, Intel didn't want USB4 to be superior to Thunderbolt 4, despite other members of the USB-IF pushing for USB4 to offer better features. For example, some companies wanted 20 Gbps USB 3.2 to be the minimum supported, but that would've been better than the 10 Gbps that Thunderbolt does, so Intel said no.

Some of the limitations are cost related, some are kind of weird and I don't understand the reasoning behind. Several are related to backwards compatibility and some are related to the fact that USB4 does so much more than just sending USB data.


You mean an external GPU for laptops? Yes.


A lot of it can be ignored by the average user, buy the fact that so many things are optional, is dumb and will indeed cause confusion.
The fact that Intel can effectively dictate the standards and specifications USB 4 can offer really sucks. No one company should have the power to dictate to the USB-IF what it is allowed to offer.
 
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The fact that Intel can effectively dictate the standards and specifications USB 4 can offer really sucks. No one company should have the power to dictate to the USB-IF what it is allowed to offer.
Well, Intel is one of the companies behind USB and outside of Microsoft and IBM, none of the others are still around, except maybe NEC, but they sold that business to Renesas, who is now on the USB-IF board. HP Bought DEC and Compaq and seemingly took over their "seat" at the board. Apple, TI and ST are more recent additions to the board of the USB-IF.
Those are the companies that dictates the direction of the USB standard. The other thousand or so members, can obviously try and influence the direction, but seemingly don't have all that much power when it comes to deciding what goes in to a new version of the standard.

Intel "gave" Thunderbolt 3 to the USB-IF to build USB4 on and apparently got even more say in what should or shouldn't be the the baseline.
I wasn't part of any of the meetings, but it's pretty clear that a lot of the optional parts were made optional to make USB4 less of a "threat" to Thunderbolt.
 
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At this stage we need laptops powered through the Eth port. Just put a PoE injector and you're good to go! :D
I guess it could work for some, but the max output of PoE++ is 71.3 W. Missed opportunity.
 
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Phones also use USB-C and most only have USB 2.0 for data and most phones don't support features like DP Alt Mode and most rely on an external DAC for audio. So it's really no better.
Yeah, that crap pisses me off too! Why are phones mostly all stuck at USB 2.0? I was thinking more about the just turn it on and go mentality of phones versus our beloved PCs. The more complicated we make them, the less they are relatable to the everyday person. If they can do the same thing on their phone or tablet with less hassle, they will. Things like USB transfer speeds only matter to people like us and when they matter to non-technical people, try explaining it to them. Well mom, you could spend half as much time moving those files to your PC for editing if you bought a USB4 40Gbps cable, that cable only will do 20Gbps. Oh wait, maybe not, let's check to make sure the device and your PC support USB4 40Gbps too. It gets too complicated, too fast! Most people are just going to say you know what, I can just record the video and edit it on my phone. Yeah, it takes twice as long and it is harder to navigate but I don't have to figure out this transfer stuff and speeds because it is already there. This logo crap is better than the gen1, gen2 crap they did with USB3.x .
 
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Yeah, that crap pisses me off too! Why are phones mostly all stuck at USB 2.0? I was thinking more about the just turn it on and go mentality of phones versus our beloved PCs. The more complicated we make them, the less they are relatable to the everyday person. If they can do the same thing on their phone or tablet with less hassle, they will. Things like USB transfer speeds only matter to people like us and when they matter to non-technical people, try explaining it to them. Well mom, you could spend half as much time moving those files to your PC for editing if you bought a USB4 40Gbps cable, that cable only will do 20Gbps. Oh wait, maybe not, let's check to make sure the device and your PC support USB4 40Gbps too. It gets too complicated, too fast! Most people are just going to say you know what, I can just record the video and edit it on my phone. Yeah, it takes twice as long and it is harder to navigate but I don't have to figure out this transfer stuff and speeds because it is already there. This logo crap is better than the gen1, gen2 crap they did with USB3.x .
For several reasons. Lower-end SoCs don't always have USB 3.0 built in, to save cost and die space, which again saves cost.
Then it seems like some extra components are needed and for whatever reasons, the device makers seem to think no-one will notice, so they save 10 cents per device and call it a day.
Now that fewer and fewer phones have memory card slots, USB 3.0 is kind of important if you want to load some content on your phone, or for that matter, offload content from your phone.
USB 2.0 would taka more than 10x as long to transfer the same files as it would over USB 3.0, but it seems like a lot of people are oblivious to this or simply don't care.
Just like some people don't seem to care about their internet connection, "as long as it works".

USB4 won't show up in phones any time soon, as it's simply not needed there. However, in something like a laptop, especially if you buy one with non expandable/replaceable internal storage, it'll matter, since at some point you're going to need to offload stuff to an external drive. Then again, something of a similar problem here, but I can't say I have seen a single notebook with a Type-C port that doesn't do USB 3.0 or faster. Then again, unless you get an external SSD or a high-end flash drive, it won't matter much.
 
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Oh and for those interested, VLI has a keynote about USB4 and the market segmentation that they expect will happen, especially versus Thunderbolt.
You might've notice I borrowed a graphic from their video. It also cover some related topics in a bit more detail.


They also make the first USB4 based solution that's available in a retail products, as mentioned.
This is one such example.
 
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Now that fewer and fewer phones have memory card slots, USB 3.0 is kind of important if you want to load some content on your phone, or for that matter, offload content from your phone.
Increasing number of phones have 3.0 usb-c ports. Yesterday, I moved one movie file of ~26GB within several minutes on Galaxy Note 20.
But true. It seems phone vendors think that folks can move media files over WiFi home network, which is faster these days. Connect phone to home NAS or Plex and download files.

They also make the first USB4 based solution that's available in a retail products, as mentioned.
This is one such example.
Does this HyperDrive support HDMI 2.1 at 40 Gbps? It reads 8K/30 HDR
 
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I don't understand why the USB-IF still allows so many variations, do they not see the consumer-side mess.
 
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Increasing number of phones have 3.0 usb-c ports. Yesterday, I moved one movie file of ~26GB within several minutes on Galaxy Note 20.
But true. It seems phone vendors think that folks can move media files over WiFi home network, which is faster these days. Connect phone to home NAS or Plex and download files.
High-end devices, yes, but even phones that have SoCs that can support USB 3.x, are still getting USB 2.0 ports.
WiFi isn't really any faster than USB 2.0, even on a good day, unless you have WiFi 6 router or better, which a lot of people haven't invested in (myself included).
However, I don't doubt people use WiFi for their data transfer, as it's "easy".
Does this HyperDrive support HDMI 2.1 at 40 Gbps? It reads 8K/30 HDR
It can do 4K120p if that's what you're asking.
Review here.

I don't understand why the USB-IF still allows so many variations, do they not see the consumer-side mess.
Read my replies to earlier comments. It's pretty much comes down to Intel not wanting USB4 to be competitive with Thunderbolt 4.
 
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External GPU enclosures have been found to be limited in performance by PCIe 3.0 x4 connection used in TB4. It's like putting GPU into motherboard in x4 slot.
So a match made in heaven for the RX 6400
 
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So a match made in heaven for the RX 6400
Exactly. Imagine running 6800XT or 3080 via external enclosure with TB port. Silly, no?

It can do 4K120p if that's what you're asking.
Hmm, strange. 4K/120 can work over HDMI 2.0, as 8-bit 4:2:0 signal. This needs 18 Gbps.
In the review, I did not find any information suggesting that this HDMI 2.1 port can trasmit in FRL mode, which is real 2.1 ultra-high speed, beyond 18 Gbps in TMDS mode.

In fact, I checked all Synaptics VMM chips and I could not find one single chip that officially supports FRL data protocol from HDMI 2.1 spec. Therefore, my conslusion is that all HDMI ports on those docks and dongles are older 2.0 ports with 18 Gbps. HDMI Licencing Administrator allows all companies to rebrand 2.0 devices into 2.1 devices without adding any new features, which makes marketing of HDMI port speed a completely meaningless and absurd affair... as revelaed by TFT in one article from December.
 
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Exactly. Imagine running 6800XT or 3080 via external enclosure with TB port. Silly, no?


Hmm, strange. 4K/120 can work over HDMI 2.0, as 8-bit 4:2:0 signal. This needs 18 Gbps.
In the review, I did not find any information suggesting that this HDMI 2.1 port can trasmit in FRL mode, which is real 2.1 ultra-high speed, beyond 18 Gbps in TMDS mode.

In fact, I checked all Synaptics VMM chips and I could not find one single chip that officially supports FRL data protocol from HDMI 2.1 spec. Therefore, my conslusion is that all HDMI ports on those docks and dongles are older 2.0 ports with 18 Gbps. HDMI Licencing Administrator allows all companies to rebrand 2.0 devices into 2.1 devices without adding any new features, which makes marketing of HDMI port speed a completely meaningless and absurd affair... as revelaed by TFT in one article from December.
Good luck with that info! It's so rare that you'd have the winning Powerball numbers easier.

It's due to this exact same reason I had to deploy some custom optical HDMI for 8K in some houses. These cost north of $100 per meter.
 
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It's due to this exact same reason I had to deploy some custom optical HDMI for 8K in some houses.

It's about vendors hiding the information about FRL speeds of HDMI ports on any device. They tell us "HDMI 2.1" or "4K/120", but they really do not tell us anything about FRL. Apart from several TVs and monitors, new consoles, Ampere and RDNA2 GPUs and several AVRs, none of devices on the market support FRL over HDMI. And those that can do FRL speeds have vastly different implementations, anything from 24 Gbps (Gigabyte monitor), 32 Gbps (PS5), 40 Gbps (XboxSX, AMD RDNA2, AVRs, TVs) and 48 Gbps (Ampere, LG 9 and 2, etc.). It's a mess out there...

For this HyperMobile USB4 dock to transmit FRL signal over HDMI port, there needs to be a separate converter chip DP-HDMI between the main SoC and HDMI port. There is no such chip in this device. The only currently available DP-HDMI FRL converter chip on the market is from Parade Tech PS196. This chip can output up to 12 Gbps per lane, meaning up to 48 Gbps on HDMI port.

The simple fact is, if there is no explicit information about FRL in any spec, that HDMI port is 2.0.
 
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As I alluded, but didn't want to spell out in the article, Intel didn't want USB4 to be superior to Thunderbolt 4, despite other members of the USB-IF pushing for USB4 to offer better features. For example, some companies wanted 20 Gbps USB 3.2 to be the minimum supported, but that would've been better than the 10 Gbps that Thunderbolt does, so Intel said no.

Some of the limitations are cost related, some are kind of weird and I don't understand the reasoning behind. Several are related to backwards compatibility and some are related to the fact that USB4 does so much more than just sending USB data.


You mean an external GPU for laptops? Yes.


A lot of it can be ignored by the average user, buy the fact that so many things are optional, is dumb and will indeed cause confusion.
Yeah, More or less that, I wonder if it would be feasible to create an external GPU the size of a USB stick, just think how small and efficient smartphone GPUs are with only 4-8w.

It would be awesome to use as a render accelerator on older or ultra low end machines.
 
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Yeah, More or less that, I wonder if it would be feasible to create an external GPU the size of a USB stick, just think how small and efficient smartphone GPUs are with only 4-8w.

It would be awesome to use as a render accelerator on older or ultra low end machines.
You mean something like this?
 

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In the end, it feels like USB4 is just Thunderbolt 3/4 without all of the fancy features. The tunneling bit seems to be the biggest change that brings USB into alignment with Thunderbolt.
 
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In the end, it feels like USB4 is just Thunderbolt 3/4 without all of the fancy features.
No, it's just an upgrade from USB 3.0 with some new features. This is the kind of thing they need to do with SATA. SATA needs an update to 4.0 as much as USB did.
 
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