First announced last month, USB4 Version 2.0 now has official specification documents for developers to follow. The USB-IF (USB Implementer's Forum), the governing body for USB, published the new documentation (opens in new tab) on its website, at the same time releasing new "USB 80 Gbps" certification logos that can be used on USB cables and devices that reach the 80 Gbps speed.
USB 4 (technically USB4 but commonly spelled with a space) was announced in 2019 and supports up to 40 Gbps connections while offering cross-compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 and 4. USB 4 version 2.0 doubles the maximum speed to 80 Gbps but can go even higher, up to 120 Gbps in one direction (with 40 Gbps downlink) to power high-resolution monitors.
Using USB4 v2.0's bandwidth, the standard is fully compatible DisplayPort 2.1 and can power a 4K display at up to 240 Hz, or up to a 10K display at 60 Hz, without the need for compression.
"This updated technical specification extends USB4 speed and data protocol performance, enabling manufacturers to develop products that can deliver USB 80 Gbps in addition to existing USB 40 Gbps and USB 20 Gbps to end users," USB-IF CEO Brad Saunders said in an official statement.
USB4 version 2.0 will work over both existing USB4 40 Gbps passive cables and new, active 80 Gbps cables. In addition to being compatible with DisplayPort 2.1, it will be, according to USB-IF, "closely aligned" with PCIe 4.0.
Considering that the original USB 4 spec was announced in 2019 and we've just started seeing USB 4-branded products in the past few months, we don't expect any USB4 v2.0 devices to hit the market for a year or two. However, when USB4 v2.0 devices go on sale, you may see the new USB 80 Gbps logo on their packaging or even on their ports.
USB-IF has told Tom's Hardware on several occasions that it doesn't want consumers to have to think about version numbers when they're shopping for products. Instead, the group wants manufacturers to promote the maximum speed of all USB products, using monikers and logos such as USB 5 Gbps, USB 10 Gbps, USB 20 Gbps, USB 40 Gbps, and now USB 80 Gbps.
Products that go through the organization's official certification process will be able to use a "Certified 80 Gbps" logo on packages.
Other devices or even computers that support 80 Gbps connections will be able to use the 80 Gbps port logo if they are certified.
Cables that are certified will carry an 80 Gbps, 240W logo if they can output 240 watts, or an 80 Gbps, 60W logo for 60 watts.
It's important to note that most USB products are not certified so, even when 80 Gbps devices and cables come out, you may not see these logos. And though the USB-IF would like manufacturers to talk about speeds and power output in their marketing materials, you will still see product listings that only mention USB 4 v2.0, USB 4, or USB 3.2, without listing the Gbps.