In a surprise announcement, Intel has unveiled Thunderbolt 5 that brings improved speed and bandwidth to appeal to those with top-of-the-line PC setups.
Thunderbolt 5 promises bi-directional bandwidth of 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) and 120Gbps with Bandwidth Boost.
“Bandwidth needs of content creators, gamers and professionals are increasing significantly. These users want high-resolution displays and low-latency visuals while working with increasingly larger video and data files,” a release from Intel reads. “Thunderbolt 5 has been designed to massively improve connectivity speed and bandwidth to ensure modern PC users can enjoy the highest-quality visuals and immersive experiences for years to come.”
Thunderbolt 4 can support two 4K monitors at 60Hz, compared to the “multiple” 8K monitors of the Thunderbolt 5. Intel also says the fifth version of Thunderbolt is capable of up to 540Hz refresh rates “for gamers” and 144Hz across three 4K monitors.
In addition to the increased speed, Thunderbolt 5 promises more “flexibility” when balancing visual performance while working with data and video file storage. The existing Thunderbolt 4 standard, meanwhile, only offers 32Gbps of data bandwidth.
These updates are crucial for people who need to balance the best visuals possible with low latency. Gamers with multiple or larger monitors running the best graphics cards out there are a big use case, especially if they’re streaming. And, of course, anyone working with photos and video, or other visual designs, will benefit from the support.
The higher bandwidth will also make it easier to transfer files to SSD, for example. The improved 4K and 8K monitor support will also appeal to creatives with multiple high-grade displays.
“Thunderbolt 5 will provide industry-leading performance and capability for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage and more. Intel is excited to continue our tradition of leadership for wired connectivity solutions. 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,” says Jason Ziller, Intel’s Client Connectivity Division General Manager.
Thunderbolt 5 is built on USB 4 V2, so it will also be compatible with previous Thunderbolt versions, USB, and DisplayPort 2.1.
Computers and accessories utilizing Thunderbolt 5 are expected in 2024, according to Intel’s release.
Image credits: Intel