Thunderbolt 4 might not have kicked off big time in the world of desktop PCs yet, with many motherboards not offering support and few client devices existing, but that hasn’t stopped Intel from soldiering on and developing the next-generation version. The newly released Intel Thunderbolt 5 specs show the new connection will triple the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4, more than double its power delivery, and include USB 4 support.
Thunderbolt 5 specs
At the top of the charts for the performance aspects of Thunderbolt 5 is its 120Gbps transfer speed, up from the 40Gbps of Thunderbolt 4. This will allow for either 120Gbps to be transmitted in one direction while 40Gbps can simultaneously be received (using bandwidth boost mode), or both directions can access an 80Gbps connection.
For comparison, USB 3 tops out at 5Gbps while USB 4 (which is also supported by Thunderbolt 5) can peak at 120Gbps but the standard only requires up to 20Gbps. The connection also incorporates PCIe 4 support for directly tapping into internal data links on PCs and other devices, allowing for even better support for applications such as external GPUs for laptops. Thunderbolt 5 will also be fully backward compatible with Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB 4, USB 3, and DisplayPort 2.1.
Meanwhile, Thunderbolt 5 power delivery tops out at 240W, a full 100W higher than Thunderbolt 4. This could allow for seriously powerful gaming laptops, for instance, to be powered by a single Thunderbolt 5 cable. As with the peak speed delivery, it’s not yet clear what length of cable will support these peak figures – or how much those cables might cost – but in theory the support is there.
Thunderbolt 5 release date
The Thunderbolt 5 release date is expected to be in 2024, though it’s possible some early systems supporting the technology will arrive in late 2023.
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