Thunderbolt 5 launches with twice the speed of Thunderbolt 4

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2023

Intel has formally launched Thunderbolt 5, the next version of the connectivity standard that will offer consumers expanded display support and double the speeds of Thunderbolt 4.




Previously previewed in October 2022, Tuesday's announcement is being used as a formal introduction of Thunderbolt 5 by chip maker Intel. As well as formalizing the capabilities of the technology, Intel also demonstrated its capabilities by using a prototype notebook and dock.

Thunderbolt 5 promises to be a massive improvement for creative professionals and people with sizable bandwidth requirements, as Thunderbolt 5 will offer up to 80 gigabits per second of bi-directional bandwidth, by adopting PCI-E 4 addressing, versus PCI-E 3 on Thunderbolt 4. By comparison, Thunderbolt 4 manages 40Gbps.

Going one step further, Intel also includes a feature called Bandwidth Boost that will allow up to 120Gbps to flow through the cable for "video intensive usages." In effect, this could become three times the throughput of Thunderbolt 4, when you take video into account.

The connection will also double the PCI Express data throughput, enabling both faster storage connectivity and improving the bandwidth available for external graphics systems.

A comparison of Thunderbolt 4 and 5 [Intel]
A comparison of Thunderbolt 4 and 5 [Intel]



For end users, while Thunderbolt 4 is capable of running two 4K monitors at 60Hz, Intel says Thunderbolt 5 could manage multiple 8K displays, or up to 540Hz displays, or three 4K displays running at 144Hz.

Built on USB4 V2, DisplayPort 2.1, and PCI Express Gen 4, with full backward compatibility, Thunderbolt 5 will also run using a new PAM-3 signaling technology for improved performance.

"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," said Intel Client Connectivity Division general manager Jason Ziller.

Intel expects that the first computers and accessories using the company's "Barlow Ridge" Thunderbolt 5 controller will start shipping in 2024.

While Apple is an extensive Thunderbolt user, with it prevalent in its Mac product line, it is unclear if its products will be quick to jump on Thunderbolt 5 early, or wait until some time after the first hardware using it ships.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,258member
    Will Intel allow others to create TB5 hardware or are they back to forcing companies to license and/or buy everything from Intel? Will this be an official standard that allows companies like Apple to use the new standard without being sued to death? 

    The crazy thing is Thunderbolt 3/4 is not being used that much except by Apple. USB4 is not using the top speed of USB, which is slower than TB3/4. Putting out something faster is not really going to be used by that many people because the full TB hardware is not inexpensive while USB4 (not including TB connectivity) is much less expensive. I can see TB5 controllers being extremely expensive and the only way to use that full 80Gbps is with a RAID configuration of SSDs. 

    Of course, all of this will use a marginally good plug and jack system (USB-C). 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    Apple is nothing else if not 'incremental' in updating. So, wishful thinking...

    But T-B5 is sorely needed for the Pro Mac/laptop models to drive faster refresh and multiple displays--and through  single port would be nice...
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 14
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    rob53 said:
    Will Intel allow others to create TB5 hardware or are they back to forcing companies to license and/or buy everything from Intel? Will this be an official standard that allows companies like Apple to use the new standard without being sued to death? 

    The crazy thing is Thunderbolt 3/4 is not being used that much except by Apple. USB4 is not using the top speed of USB, which is slower than TB3/4. Putting out something faster is not really going to be used by that many people because the full TB hardware is not inexpensive while USB4 (not including TB connectivity) is much less expensive. I can see TB5 controllers being extremely expensive and the only way to use that full 80Gbps is with a RAID configuration of SSDs. 

    Of course, all of this will use a marginally good plug and jack system (USB-C). 
    Authentic USB4 is based on Thunderbolt 3 so should meet Thunderbolt 3 speeds at the least. https://www.usb.org/usb4 The PC world has adopted Thunderbolt a bit hit or miss, but you can find Thunderbolt on some Dells, Lenovo (Lenovo has TB4 monitors), and others. Both Lenovo and Dell make Thunderbolt 4 docks. Follow the "also includes" link in the article and you end up here: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/newsroom/news/intel-introduces-thunderbolt-5-standard.html "All Thunderbolt products undergo stringent certification testing to ensure the best wired connection solution performance for the PC industry. Products that pass this testing use the Thunderbolt brand royalty-free. That’s why Thunderbolt has become a globally recognized indicator of the best wired connectivity solutions for PCs and accessories."
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 14
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,542member
    Well, here we go again. We just discussed cables. I expect new cables again will be required. I just counted my TB cables. Five TB 4 cables and seven TB 3 cables.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 14
    rob53 said:
    Will Intel allow others to create TB5 hardware or are they back to forcing companies to license and/or buy everything from Intel? Will this be an official standard that allows companies like Apple to use the new standard without being sued to death? 

    The crazy thing is Thunderbolt 3/4 is not being used that much except by Apple. USB4 is not using the top speed of USB, which is slower than TB3/4. Putting out something faster is not really going to be used by that many people because the full TB hardware is not inexpensive while USB4 (not including TB connectivity) is much less expensive. I can see TB5 controllers being extremely expensive and the only way to use that full 80Gbps is with a RAID configuration of SSDs. 

    Of course, all of this will use a marginally good plug and jack system (USB-C). 
    The good news is the price of TB4 peripherals will eventually slide down accordingly.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    "Thunderbolt is the brand name of a hardware interface for the connection of external peripherals to a computer. It has been developed by Intel, in collaboration with Apple.[7][8] It was initially marketed under the name Light Peak, and first sold as part of an end-user product on 24 February 2011."  (Already 12+ years old.)  
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)  

    TB was originally intended to be an optical-based interface (thus the original name "Light Peak").  

    "On 24 May 2017, Intel announced that Thunderbolt 3 would become a royalty-free standard to OEMs and chip manufacturers in 2018, as part of an effort to boost the adoption of the protocol.[132] The Thunderbolt 3 specification was later released to the USB-IF on 4 March 2019, making it royalty-free, to be used to form USB4.[103][133][134] Intel says it will retain control over certification of all Thunderbolt 3 devices.[135] Intel also states it employs "mandatory certification for all Thunderbolt products".[136]"  
    (same link as initial wiki)  
    edited September 2023 Alex1Nroundaboutnowwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 14
    tmaytmay Posts: 6,378member
    I read an article to the effect that TB5 would lead to a resurgence of external GPU's. Seems plausible,

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    "Thunderbolt is the brand name of a hardware interface for the connection of external peripherals to a computer. It has been developed by Intel, in collaboration with Apple.[7][8] It was initially marketed under the name Light Peak, and first sold as part of an end-user product on 24 February 2011."  (Already 12+ years old.)  
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)  

    TB was originally intended to be an optical-based interface (thus the original name "Light Peak").  

    "On 24 May 2017, Intel announced that Thunderbolt 3 would become a royalty-free standard to OEMs and chip manufacturers in 2018, as part of an effort to boost the adoption of the protocol.[132] The Thunderbolt 3 specification was later released to the USB-IF on 4 March 2019, making it royalty-free, to be used to form USB4.[103][133][134] Intel says it will retain control over certification of all Thunderbolt 3 devices.[135] Intel also states it employs "mandatory certification for all Thunderbolt products".[136]"  
    (same link as initial wiki)  
    I think this is slightly incorrect as Lightpeak was never a commercial product it only ever made it as a tech demo so was it really Marketed under that name?
    Thunderbolt may have come from the project but was an entirely different sales pitch and an actual shipping product. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 14
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,346member
    melgross said:
    Well, here we go again. We just discussed cables. I expect new cables again will be required. I just counted my TB cables. Five TB 4 cables and seven TB 3 cables.
    I think you may be over-reacting a bit.

    Do you do anything at all that REQUIRES faster flow than 40gbps? At present, no you don’t. So depending on what you do, your TB4 and 3 cables will continue to serve your needs for at least a few more years to come.

    We live in a world where USB-C at 10-20Mbits is considered “blazing fast” (and it is, compared to USB 3 or 2). It will take years for even advanced users to really rely on greater than TB4 speeds in their workflows, except for people who do little more than massive amounts of copying files or running video walls.

    For those folks, TB5 can’t get here fast enough.
    kurai_kagewatto_cobraBannedForFreeSpeech
  • Reply 10 of 14
    mattinoz said:
    "Thunderbolt is the brand name of a hardware interface for the connection of external peripherals to a computer. It has been developed by Intel, in collaboration with Apple.[7][8] It was initially marketed under the name Light Peak, and first sold as part of an end-user product on 24 February 2011."  (Already 12+ years old.)  
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface)  

    TB was originally intended to be an optical-based interface (thus the original name "Light Peak").  

    "On 24 May 2017, Intel announced that Thunderbolt 3 would become a royalty-free standard to OEMs and chip manufacturers in 2018, as part of an effort to boost the adoption of the protocol.[132] The Thunderbolt 3 specification was later released to the USB-IF on 4 March 2019, making it royalty-free, to be used to form USB4.[103][133][134] Intel says it will retain control over certification of all Thunderbolt 3 devices.[135] Intel also states it employs "mandatory certification for all Thunderbolt products".[136]"  
    (same link as initial wiki)  
    I think this is slightly incorrect as Lightpeak was never a commercial product it only ever made it as a tech demo so was it really Marketed under that name?
    Thunderbolt may have come from the project but was an entirely different sales pitch and an actual shipping product. 
    Found a blog discussion on Light Peak from about 12 years ago.  Never used it, but have used and/or heard of other optical protocols on Audio Visual, networking or telecom equipment, as well as on minicomputers and mainframes.  Other optical protocols are used on high end networking backbones at the carrier level (AT&T/Verizon/etc.).    
    https://www.computerworld.com/article/2470650/light-peak-is-dead--long-live-thunderbolt.html  

    Could have a miraculous rebirth at some time in the future.  Some of the high end TB cables (for longer lengths) have optical drivers and converters from copper to optical and back to copper.  Part of the reason the cables are so pricey.  Multiple types of fiber as well.  For the telecoms, and high end (none-TB) applications, multiple colors of lasers have been tried (used at the same time) to increase bandwidth (have not spent time to see if that is out of lab testing, but it has been patented).  Here is a 25 meter TB-3 optical cable from Corning (about $410).  
    https://www.amazon.com/Corning-Meter-Thunderbolt-USB-C-Optical/dp/B08CK31Z88/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=optical+thunderbolt+cables+by+Corning&qid=1694606373&sr=8-1-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&psc=1&smid=A3JC02LVN0LU5G

    edited September 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,542member
    chasm said:
    melgross said:
    Well, here we go again. We just discussed cables. I expect new cables again will be required. I just counted my TB cables. Five TB 4 cables and seven TB 3 cables.
    I think you may be over-reacting a bit.

    Do you do anything at all that REQUIRES faster flow than 40gbps? At present, no you don’t. So depending on what you do, your TB4 and 3 cables will continue to serve your needs for at least a few more years to come.

    We live in a world where USB-C at 10-20Mbits is considered “blazing fast” (and it is, compared to USB 3 or 2). It will take years for even advanced users to really rely on greater than TB4 speeds in their workflows, except for people who do little more than massive amounts of copying files or running video walls.

    For those folks, TB5 can’t get here fast enough.
    Thank you for telling me what I do.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,978member
    melgross said:
    Well, here we go again. We just discussed cables. I expect new cables again will be required. I just counted my TB cables. Five TB 4 cables and seven TB 3 cables.

    I have cables going back to the dual G4 days, still haven’t tossed them, and plenty of cables from the first iPod years, and despite what the EU says, that’s just the way it is.

  • Reply 13 of 14
    anomeanome Posts: 1,533member
    I don't suppose they'll go with 4 TB5 ports on the next MBP and drop the HDMI and SD card slots? Because I'd like that, even if I'm the only one.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,869administrator
    anome said:
    I don't suppose they'll go with 4 TB5 ports on the next MBP and drop the HDMI and SD card slots? Because I'd like that, even if I'm the only one.
    If I had to put a guess on when, it's not the next MacBook Pro, but the one after that.

    I'd be fine with HDMI and SD gone. I'd rather have four TB ports.
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