Intel announces the next generation of Thunderbolt technology, which could be released in 2023

Intel presented the first prototype of the next generation Thunderbolt protocol. It is based on the USBB4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 specifications, which were also recently released. Next-generation Thunderbolt 5 technology will allow users to transfer more data in less time, relay output to high-resolution displays, and take even better advantage of external graphics processors.

Features of Thunderbolt 5

  • Thunderbolt 5 has twice the total bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 and up to three times the bandwidth for heavy video use.
  • It supports DisplayPort 2.1.
  • It doubles the PCI Express data rate for faster storage and external graphics.
  • Thunderbolt 5 also works with existing passive cable up to 1m and is compatible with previous versions of DisplayPort, USB and Thunderbolt.

What does this mean for regular users? Well, since Thunderbolt 5 supports more bandwidth than the previous generation, from 40 Gbps to 80 Gbps bidirectional and, if needed, up to 120 Gbps unidirectional. With this bandwidth, it should be able to handle two 8K displays, as opposed to two 4K displays with Thunderbolt 4. The ability to output two 8K displays simultaneously will benefit professionals and users who work with multiple monitors daily.

Thunderbolt 5 will launch in 2023

Without going into more technicality, the new Thunderbolt 5 improves on all aspects of existing technology, allowing users to do even more with their computers’ tiny USB port. For those using external GPUs, Thunderbolt 5 comes with twice the PCIe bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4. It will allow users to squeeze more out of their GPUs as the latest Thunderbolt standard has more space to carry data.

In the official press release, Intel mentions that “the demonstration of the prototype marks a major milestone in the journey towards delivering next-generation Thunderbolt to the industry.” Indeed, the Thunderbolt 5 will help users meet their needs for high resolution displays, low latency visuals, backup or transfer of large video or data files to computers and much more. More details on the brand name, features and capabilities of the next generation of Thunderbolt will be released in 2023.

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