Intel has just announced Thunderbolt 5 and demonstrated it with a prototype laptop and dock (see the video embedded at the end of this post) with up to 120 Gbps bandwidth when using “Bandwidth Boost”.
Thunderbolt 5 will deliver 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bi-directional bandwidth and the top 120 Gbps bandwidth is achieved through “Bandwidth Boost” to support multiple 8K monitors, which means three times the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 topping at 40 Gbps.
Thunderbolt 5 builds upon Thunderbolt 4 with several improvements and features:
- Two times the total bi-directional bandwidth, and up to three times (120 Gbps) for video-intensive usage
- Double the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics.
- Compatible with USB4 V2, DisplayPort 2.1, and PCI Express Gen 4
- Double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt Networking for high-speed PC-to-PC connections.
- PAM-3 signaling technology to deliver increases in performance with today’s printed circuit boards, connectors, and passive cables up to 1 meter. (So the active cable needed to reach 80 Gbps in USB4 V2 might not be needed… TBC)
Intels says the new Thunderbolt 5 standard will deliver the bandwidth needed by content creators, gamers, and professionals. While Thunderbolt 4 can now be found in many mini PCs, I’m not convinced this will be the case for Thunderbolt 5 anytime soon, until the time when high-resolution 8K displays drop in price, although the need for faster storage and high-performance eGPU may also help drive the adoption of the new standard.
Having said that, Thunderbolt 5 should be found in premium PCs and laptops soon enough, as Intel’s controller, codenamed Barlow Ridge, is expected to be available starting in 2024.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.