Intel has prepared the latest version of the Thunderbolt interface ─ Thunderbolt 5. The new technology provides an increase in data transfer speed and transmitted power.
The Thunderbolt 5 standard provides increased throughput up to 120 Gbps using Bandwidth Boost technology. In the default configuration, the interface provides a bidirectional connection at 80 Gbps. However, when needed (for high-resolution, high-refresh-rate displays or multi-display configurations), devices can utilize the full 120 Gbps speed. In such scenarios, the reception speed can be flexibly adjusted between 80 Gbps and 40 Gbps.
The Thunderbolt 5 interface is compatible with DisplayPort 2.1, USB v4, USB 3 20G and PCIe Gen4. This standard also includes support for charging up to 240W, eliminating the need for separate charging cables for many laptops. PCIe Gen4 support provides sufficient bandwidth for external graphics cards, potentially eliminating one of the major limitations of the Thunderbolt 3 and 4 standards. However, to be fully supported, systems must be equipped with PCIe-compatible links running at 64 Gbps.
The first Thunderbolt 5 devices are expected to appear in 2024. Laptops based on the upcoming Intel Meteor Lake processors may be among the first to receive it.