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Next Generation of Thunderbolt Brings 80 Gbps Bandwidth, DisplayPort 2.1 Support, and More

Intel has taken the wraps off the next generation of Thunderbolt and it finally feels like the big upgrade we’ve been hoping for. With double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3, the next generation of Thunderbolt is much more capable and it also supports the latest USB and DisplayPort versions for wider and better compatibility.

next generation thunderbolt

Next Generation of Thunderbolt – What’s New?

Intel unveiled the next-gen Thunderbolt on the same day when USB 4 v2 was also unveiled and that’s because that’s the USB version the Thunderbolt 5 (not yet officially named) platform is built upon. The connector is, of course, USB Type-C. It also supports the newly announced DisplayPort 2.1 specification. These bring multiple capability boosts to the next iteration of Thunderbolt.

Here’s everything new in Next-gen Thunderbolt,

  • A total of 80 Gbps Up (Transmit) and 80 Gbps Down (Receive) bandwidth
  • 120 Gbps Up (Transmit) and 40 Gbps Down (Receive) for video intensive usage
  • 2x PCI Express data throughput for external GPUs and faster storage drives.
  • USB 4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 supported via. USB Type-C
  • Older Thunderbolt cables (Type-C) supported up to 1 meters in length
  • Backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, alongside older versions of USB and DisplayPort.

Compared to the jump from Thuderbolt 3 to Thundebolt 4, which was fairly minimal I may add, the upgrades to the next-gen Thunderbolt (Thunderbolt 5) add significantly more power to the platform.

next generation thunderbolt

Also Read: Apple Announced iPad Pro M2, 10th Gen iPad with USB Type-C, and Apple TV 4K with A15 Bionic

These new improvements bring a huge leap in Thunderbolt performance and unlock new capabilities that weren’t just possible with the previous iterations. Once next-gen Thunderbolt starts shipping in actual products, users will be able to connect two 8K monitors (up to 60Hz each) to supported laptops and even faster 4K gaming monitors will befinit as well as it goes beyond the capabilities of HDMI 2.1.

External GPUs using newer flagship cards will be able to pump out way more performance as the PCI Express bottleneck won’t hold back performance anymore. Also, companies will be able to produce twice as fast external storage (SSD) drives making demanding video edits easier, directly on external storage, and gaming experience on external SSDs will benefit too.

Intel will name the next generation of Thunderbolt (possibly as Thunderbolt 5) in 2023 and it’ll be available on laptops powered by Intel CPUs and Apple Silicon SoCs. Availability timeline is still unknown, but I’m expecting a couple of devices by next year.

Source: Intel

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Ronit Roy

Ronit Roy is a Tech Reviewer, Writer, and Science Nerd from India. He specializes in Smartphones, Laptops, Televisions, Audio, and AI. Ronit has worked with Multi-national Tech OEMs and has a first-person understanding of how Modern Technology is shaping the world.

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