Intel has unveiled Thunderbolt 5, introducing remarkable features such as speeds of up to 120Gbps, theoretical support for 540Hz gaming monitors, 240 watts of charging power, and more.
While the Thunderbolt 5 specification is now official, devices and PCs equipped with Thunderbolt 5 support are expected to debut in 2024.
Built upon USB4 v2, Thunderbolt 5 maintains compatibility with previous Thunderbolt and USB versions.
It doubles the PCI Express data throughput, resulting in faster storage and external graphics capabilities.
Thunderbolt 4 supported speeds of up to 40Gbps, but Thunderbolt 5 can transmit data at 80Gbps, or up to 120Gbps in Bandwidth Boost mode, provided you have a high-bandwidth display. Otherwise, Thunderbolt 5 supports 80Gbps bidirectional speeds.
This significant boost allows content creators and gamers to connect up to two 8K displays simultaneously.
These enhancements offer up to three times the bandwidth compared to Thunderbolt 4, which was introduced in 2020.
Intel has introduced a new PAM-3 (3-level Pulse Amplitude Modulation) signaling technology to Thunderbolt 5 to enhance speed.
Thunderbolt 5 also supports DisplayPort 2.1 and PCI Express Gen 4 standards while doubling the bandwidth of Thunderbolt Networking for high-speed PC-to-PC connections.
Thunderbolt 5 promises industry-leading performance for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage, and more. Jason Ziller, general manager of the client connectivity division at Intel, stated,
"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."
With Thunderbolt 5, achieving up to 540Hz panels for gamers and the potential for external GPUs to thrive due to improved bandwidth with PCI Gen 4.
Gaming laptop manufacturers could also opt to eliminate separate power ports on future devices thanks to support for up to 240W. Thunderbolt 5 will also support DisplayPort 2.1.
The tech world is now eagerly awaiting news on which accessories will support Thunderbolt 5, with docks, monitors, and storage drives anticipated to be among the first to offer Thunderbolt 5 connectivity when it arrives in 2024.