Thunderbolt PCIe4.0 tunneling (Intel 12th Gen i7-1260P)


I’m trying to find out whether it’s possible to connect an external PCIe4 NVME SSD to the USB ports on my framework and run it at the same speed as if it were installed internally. Normally it should be possible to achieve almost the same speed minus some protocol overhead.

Intel 12th Gen i7-1260P supports internally PCIe4.0. and each Thunderboald port uses 4 pcie 4.0 lanes.
I want to buy an NVME enclosure with a ASM2464PD chip that supports PCIe4.0 tunneling.
Does anyone know whether the internal Thunderbolt controller of the Intel 12 gen processor also forward pcie 4.0 to external devices?
Or maybe someone has a similar setup and can tell what speeds are possible?

Thunderbolt 4 supports PCIe 3.0 and has a maximum bandwidth 40Gb. It should support an external SSD but it might not be at its full potential.

Thunderbolt 3 and 4 can only use 32Gbit of it’s max bandwidth for pcie tunneling (which coincidentally is the max pcie3x4 can do) and there is some overhead so expect slightly slower than direct pcie3x4 speeds. One of the major advantages of tb4 over 3 (appart from the much faster displayport) is that manufacturers aren’t allowed to half ass the ports anymore (there were a lot of devices that only had a pcie3x2 connection from the thunderbolt controller to the cpu), not that that was really possible with the integrated ports anyway.


Thanks for correction :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for the info that Thunderboalt only supports pcie3. 40 Gbit/s is probably just marketing. It is very confusing because the processor has pcie4 lanes and these cannot be used externally. I would have liked the “Framework Team” to provide some guidance on the specification here.

And what about USB4 and the Ryzen 7 framework. Which USB4 controller is used ? Is pcie4 tunneling possible here?

If I understand correctly, there are no specifications regarding PCIE speeds in USB4.

The asmedia USB4 controllers already support pcie4 tunneling, so it seems to be possible with USB4.

So USB4 would be superior to Thunderboalt3/4.

Until now I had always thought that TB4 had higher requirements than USB4 and that TB4 could do everything that USB 4 could do.

Host Controller ASM4242:

Device Controller ASM2464PD:

Thunderbolt 5 will support PCIe 4.0

Kinda, tb3/4 do have 40Gbit peak bandwidth but you can’t use it all for pcie tunneling and there is overhead. There is a 40GBit link between the tb controller in the host and the device.

Nope also pcie3

Where do you see the support for pcie4 tunneling? It has pcie4 as the uplink but I se no mention of pcie4 tunneling.

The device controllers do indeed say the ports are pcie4 which is interesting, I wonder what’s going on there but there is no mention of a mystical pcie4 tunneling mode.

Maybe TB5/USB4.2 forward compatibility or something?

TB4 is for the most part USB4 with all the optional stuff mandatory, 2 DP links and an intel certification.