USB4 To Be King Of All Ports At 80Gbps With DisplayPort 2, Dual 120Hz 8K Panels

display port alt mode
The USB4 spec is getting better and better with each new announcement from the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The latest update from the standard body concerns the DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 spec, which is being implemented for USB4.

As you might already know, USB4 continues the use of the USB Type-C connector that we've already grown accustomed to with current Thunderbolt 3 accessories and is featured on the bottom of nearly every new Android smartphone that has been announced over the past few years. Alt Mode 2.0 allows the USB-C connector to shuttle DisplayPort video data -- along 4 lanes -- at 80Gbps downstream. Previously, USB4 data speeds were capped at 40Gbps for upstream/downstream, but Alt Mode 2.0 combines them into a single, supercharged unidirectional connection.

VESA DP Alt Mode

So, what does all of this mean for the end user without getting down into the weed with all the technical mumbo-jumbo? It means that DisplayPort 2.0 compatible devices will thrive with USB4's native Alt Mode 2.0 spec, and we could truly have a versatile, single connection standard to rule the roost for displays and peripherals.

“USB Type-C is becoming the connector of choice in notebooks and mobile solutions. With the new DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 specification, USB Type-C now delivers compelling single-connector solutions for docking, gaming, AR/VR HMDs, and professional HDR displays that combine 80 Gbps of video bandwidth and other important features of DisplayPort 2.0 with the transport of USB data and power delivery,” said VESA board vice chairman Syed Athar Hussain.

DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 can handle at a maximum compressed 16K (1536x8460) 60Hz video (30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR). You can even run dual 8K monitors at 120Hz over USB4, or rock three 10K displays at 60Hz. In other words, you won't be left wanting for display connectivity options with USB4.

VESA says that the first devices supporting DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 will hit the market in 2021.