Intel this week presents a prototype of Thunderbolt 5, the latest version of the popular standard. Basically, the connection offers faster speeds, as well as improved support for external displays. Among other things, Thunderbolt 5 offers speeds of 80 gigabits per second of bidirectional bandwidth.
So that makes Thunderbolt 5 from Intel twice as fast as its predecessor. So it should take users much less time to move large files back and forth. And when connecting an external display, that number can dynamically go up to 120 gigabits; that’s three times faster than the previous version.
Intel presents Thunderbolt 5
What does that mean in practice? Well, among other things, you can connect displays with screens that support 8K resolution. HDR is no problem either, and latency is also more than fine. As a result, creative enthusiasts and gamers can’t have their fun with the upcoming connection standard.
Intel Thunderbolt 5 (Image: Intel)
Speaking of gamers: Intel additionally promises up to two times faster SSDs for portable gaming sessions. You’ll probably need a new SSD, but you’ll get great speed in return. Furthermore, it offers support for DisplayPort 2.1 and twice the amount of PCI Express data throughput.
Backward compatible with old versions
In addition, the new Intel Thunderbolt 5 connection is backward compatible with older versions of Thunderbolt, USB and DisplayPort. So when you switch to the new standard, you won’t miss anything and everything old will continue to work as usual. Also, the new technology works with existing passive cables up to a meter long.
For now, we’ll have to make do with this information for a while. But that doesn’t mean this is the last we’ll hear about Thunderbolt 5. Intel plans to release more information regarding the connection in 2023. In addition, we’ll have to wait for reaction from Apple; we don’t yet know if that company will embrace the new standard.