Intel releases Thunderbolt 5 initial standard

Intel today previewed the next-generation Thunderbolt standard (tentatively known as Thunderbolt 5), which will enable future Mac and Windows devices to achieve ultra-fast data transfer speeds and launch in 2023 or later. Improved external monitor support in the standard.

The next generation of Thunderbolt will provide up to 80Gbps of bidirectional bandwidth, enabling data transfers between future computer devices and external storage drives that support the standard two times faster than today's speeds. The next generation of Thunderbolt will also add new modes that can provide up to 120Gbps of bandwidth to external displays, which will enable PC devices to support dual 8K displays at 60Hz.

This prototype demonstration marks an important milestone in the journey to deliver the next generation of Thunderbolt to the industry. The bandwidth demands of content creators and gamers for high-resolution displays, low-latency visuals, and backup or transfer of huge video and data files are increasing dramatically. The next generation of Thunderbolt will deliver up to three times the power of Thunderbolt 4 and make creation and gaming more efficient and immersive. In addition to supporting the latest version of USB4, the next generation of Thunderbolt will support improvements in a variety of areas, including:

Twice the total bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 at 80Gbps, while providing up to three times the bandwidth for video-intensive usage at 120Gbps.
  • Supports the newly released DisplayPort 2.1 for the best display experience
  • Twice the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics
  • Works with existing passive cables up to 1 meter with new signaling technology
  • Compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB, and DisplayPort
  • Supported by Intel's Licensing and Certification Program.
That said, the next generation of Thunderbolt is based on the newly released USB4 version 2.0 and DisplayPort 2.1 specifications, and is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB, and DisplayPort. Intel plans to share more details on the official name, features and capabilities of the next-generation Thunderbolt in 2023.

Intel contributed its Thunderbolt protocol specification to the USB Promoter Group in 2019 as the basis for USB4. As a leader in this industry organization, Intel has been working to extend the performance of USB4 to new levels.

Intel has a long history of leading I/O innovation. Intel works closely with PC, accessory and cable partners to deliver the most advanced and complete wired connectivity solutions through dedicated enablement and testing programs. All Thunderbolt products are subject to rigorous certification testing and are free to use the Thunderbolt name and logo in equipment or marketing. The Thunderbolt logo provides a simple, easy-to-recognize indicator of the best-wired connectivity solution for PCs and accessories.

Apple's 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with Thunderbolt 4 / USB 4 ports with a bandwidth of up to 40Gbps.

Currently, no Mac supports plug-and-play 8K displays. The 2021 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models support up to two or three external monitors at up to 6K@60Hz, depending on whether the laptop is equipped with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip

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