Thunderbolt 5 was unveiled on Tuesday (September 12) as the next-generation external connector from Intel. The new technology can transmit data at 80Gbps to meet the demands of content creators and gamers and it is promised to deliver up to 120Gbps bandwidth, three times more than the three-year-old Thunderbolt 4. Built on USB4 v2, Thunderbolt 5 will be compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB. Computers and accessories based on the new Thunderbolt 5 controller won’t debut until 2024.
Intel announced Thunderbolt 5 — the next generation of Thunderbolt — with significant connectivity speed and bandwidth benefits. As mentioned, it will deliver 80Gbps of bi-directional data speeds. In the Bandwidth Boost mode, it is said to transmit data up to 120Gbps speed. This would allow content creators and gamers to connect up to two 8K displays in monitors. These improvements will mark up to three times enhanced bandwidth than the Thunderbolt 4. The Thunderbolt 4 that went official back in 2020 supports up to 40Gbps speeds.
As expected from leaks and rumours, Thunderbolt 5 incorporates the USB4 v2 specifications. It is compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB. It is claimed to double the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics.
Intel has applied a new PAM-3 (3-level Pulse Amplitude Modulation) signaling technology on the Thunderbolt 5 for boosting the speed. Thunderbolt 5 supports the DisplayPort 2.1 and PCI Express Gen 4 standards. It is fully compatible with previous versions as well. It is said to double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt Networking for high-speed PC to PC connections.
“Thunderbolt 5 will provide industry-leading performance and capability for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage and more. Intel is excited to continue our tradition of leadership for wired connectivity solutions”, says Jason Ziller, general manager of the client connectivity division at Intel. “Thunderbolt is now the mainstream port for connectivity on mobile PCs, and delivering the next generation of performance with Thunderbolt 5 will provide even more capability for the most demanding users”, he added.
Computers and accessories like docks, monitors, and storage drives based on Intel’s Thunderbolt 5 controller are expected to be available starting next year.