Intel's Thunderbolt 5 has twice the speed of Thunderbolt 4

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Intel has previewed an early prototype for its next-generation Thunderbolt, showcasing faster speeds and improved external display support.




The next generation of Thunderbolt will deliver 80 gigabits per second of bidirectional bandwidth, double that of Thunderbolt 4. The increased speed would be beneficial for transferring large files from one device to the next.

Intel says that it will dynamically enable up to 120 Gbps bandwidth for external displays, which is three times higher than that of its predecessor. This will allow for 8K HDR displays with lower latency, ideal for creative professionals and gaming enthusiasts.

The company also promises "2x faster SSDs for portable gaming" with the technology. This will require new enclosures, as existing external drive controllers are limited to the existing 40 gigabit per second speeds.

"Intel has always been the industry pioneer and leader for wired connectivity solutions, and Thunderbolt is now the mainstream port on mobile PCs and integrated into three generations of Intel mobile CPUs," Intel's General Manager of Client Connectivity Jason Ziller said in a statement. "We're very excited to lead the industry forward with the next generation of Thunderbolt built on the USB4 v2 specification, advanced to this next generation by Intel and other USB Promoter Group members."

In addition to increased speeds, Next Gen Thunderbolt provides support for the newly released DisplayPort 2.1, two times the PCI Express data throughput, and is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB, and DisplayPort.

Intel says that the new technology will work with existing passive cables up to one meter in length with a "new signaling technology." It's not clear yet what longer cables will need, but Intel was specific about existing passive cables, and not active, longer ones already on the market.

Nothing Intel is discussing alters the existing cable confusion inherent in the USB-C physical connector. Instead, it is another variant using the same cable connector Without USB-IF mandates, it will likely exacerbate the problem.

Intel will share more information on the next generation of Thunderbolt, as well as its capabilities and features, in 2023. It's not clear when Apple might introduce the spec -- but it is typically on the forefront of Thunderbolt releases.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    Just in time for graphics cards to become bandwidth hungry enough that 80Gbps isn't enough to handle them. :(
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 13
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,257member
    Not sure NVMe single blades will max out that projected speed and I can guarantee you that TB5 hardware will not be inexpensive. Article talks about 8K displays and only a bit about faster SSDs (for gaming? what about for real work like video production), which also will cost more. Higher bandwidth also ends up meaning people will want larger storage because, conceivably, faster speeds will allow more data to be pushed and stored. There is a usable limit to these speeds, which always has to do with money. You got it, you can buy it. Most consumers will never see the speed of TB5, same as now because most consumers only use USB3.x speeds instead of TB3/4 speeds because of the extra cost in making the interface hardware.
    williamlondonAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Since Apple has sold their own USB-C cables, are they all thunderbolt 3 or do they have sold different standards as well?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 13
    swat671swat671 Posts: 150member
    I’ll be interested to see what Apple does, because I’m under the impression you need actual hardware from Intel to make Thunderbolt work. I still have an Intel MacBook Pro, so it’s a non issue for me. I’ve read that the new Apple Silicon Macs have an Intel chip for TB 4 in them. Will Intel (or the USB Implementers Forum or whoever’s in charge) license the tech so companies like Apple can implement it in their custom hardware? Like, any company can license the USB tech and build their own hardware, cables, etc. Will the same thing happen with TB5?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 13
    swat671swat671 Posts: 150member
    2morrow said:
    Since Apple has sold their own USB-C cables, are they all thunderbolt 3 or do they have sold different standards as well?
    USB-C, USB 3/4, and Thunderbolt are all separate. Apple sells USB-C charging cables for the different MacBooks and iPads that use USB-C. They also sell TB 3 and TB 4 cables for data transfer. I believe the USB C charging cables transfer data at USB 2 speeds (so, what, 480 MBPS). 

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 13
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,592member
    The original Thunderbolt was designed by Intel in collaboration with Apple, according to wikipedia. Does Apple still have a collaboration role with Thunderbolt 5, or is it all Intel now?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 13
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,065member
    rob53 said:
    Not sure NVMe single blades will max out that projected speed and I can guarantee you that TB5 hardware will not be inexpensive. Article talks about 8K displays and only a bit about faster SSDs (for gaming? what about for real work like video production), which also will cost more. Higher bandwidth also ends up meaning people will want larger storage because, conceivably, faster speeds will allow more data to be pushed and stored. There is a usable limit to these speeds, which always has to do with money. You got it, you can buy it. Most consumers will never see the speed of TB5, same as now because most consumers only use USB3.x speeds instead of TB3/4 speeds because of the extra cost in making the interface hardware.
    I agree, I don't see how Joe Consumer will be able to saturate TB5 bandwidth.

    A pro certain probably could, writing multiple streams of 8K video (or other data) to a disk array with multiple NVMe drives. TB5 is intended more for that professional audience; Thunderbolt compatible hardware is already expensive.

    In any case, TB5 is still in the proposal stage. Once it's approved in its final form, there would be more activity to develop compliant hardware.

    Up until now, Thunderbolt has essentially been an externalization of the PCIe bus as far as I can tell. As PCIe bus bandwidth increases, Thunderbolt follows.
    muthuk_vanalingamtenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,415member
    These advances always result in moving the bottleneck from one part of the system to a different part of the system. It’s all good, except for the part of the system that always seems to suffer: my wallet. 
    mwhitetenthousandthingsjwdawsoCurtisHightbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 13
    mpantone said:
    rob53 said:
    Not sure NVMe single blades will max out that projected speed and I can guarantee you that TB5 hardware will not be inexpensive. Article talks about 8K displays and only a bit about faster SSDs (for gaming? what about for real work like video production), which also will cost more. Higher bandwidth also ends up meaning people will want larger storage because, conceivably, faster speeds will allow more data to be pushed and stored. There is a usable limit to these speeds, which always has to do with money. You got it, you can buy it. Most consumers will never see the speed of TB5, same as now because most consumers only use USB3.x speeds instead of TB3/4 speeds because of the extra cost in making the interface hardware.
    I agree, I don't see how Joe Consumer will be able to saturate TB5 bandwidth.

    A pro certain probably could, writing multiple streams of 8K video (or other data) to a disk array with multiple NVMe drives. TB5 is intended more for that professional audience; Thunderbolt compatible hardware is already expensive.

    In any case, TB5 is still in the proposal stage. Once it's approved in its final form, there would be more activity to develop compliant hardware.

    Up until now, Thunderbolt has essentially been an externalization of the PCIe bus as far as I can tell. As PCIe bus bandwidth increases, Thunderbolt follows.
    The other major integrated elements are support for display protocols (DisplayPort) and charging. Apple needs TB5 to support a future ProMotion 8K XDR display in a single cable, and they (and the rest of the industry) are getting that.

    Apple’s original involvement was developing DisplayPort support and adapting Light Peak to support both optical cable and copper cable. To answer July’s question above, I don’t think Apple’s role is any different from the rest of the industry at this point. Here’s an early AI article about it:

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/11/02/24/intel_details_thunderbolt_as_exclusive_to_apple_until_2012
    edited October 2022 rundhvid
  • Reply 10 of 13
    dewme said:
    These advances always result in moving the bottleneck from one part of the system to a different part of the system. It’s all good, except for the part of the system that always seems to suffer: my wallet. 
    “moving the bottleneck….” A concept of conspicuous presence! Three words well stated! :-)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 13
    thttht Posts: 5,495member
    JP234 said:
    For the 0.001% of computer users for whom 40 gb/sec just isn't enough… Guess you'll just have to buy a Dell. Intel is a company on the ropes. If you had bought $10,000 worth of Intel stock on Jan. 3, 2020, you'd now have $4,439.26. And Apple isn't ever getting back with Intel. Or Motorola, for that matter.
    Arguably, this 80 up, 80 down Thunderbolt protocol is 2 years late, maybe 3 years late. Apple and LG really need it for their 5K and 6K monitors. Those monitors have built-in docks which are bandwidth limited and their USBC ports in the back are limited to 5 Gbit/s and 10 Gbit/s, instead of being TB4 ports at 40 Gbit/s.

    If 80 Gbit/s TB is available, they could do multistream 5K and 6K where you just need one cable to power 2 5K or 6K monitors, and perhaps have enough bandwidth leftover for an external SSD at 30 Gbit/s (3 Gbyte/s).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 13
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,437member
    I thought Intel abandoned Thunderbolt and will not support further iterations but glad to see it's still committed to it. 


    watto_cobra
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