Intel Announces Thunderbolt 5

This is a big deal for media creators: Last week, Intel announced Thunderbolt 5. (Intel press release)

This new version, which won’t appear in devices we can buy until later in 2024, “will deliver 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bi-directional bandwidth, and with Bandwidth Boost it will provide up to 120 Gbps for the best display experience. These improvements will provide up to three times more bandwidth than the best existing connectivity solution, providing outstanding display and data connections.” (Intel press release)

Image courtesy of Intel. (Click to see larger image.)

“…Built on industry standards – including USB4 V2 – Thunderbolt 5 will be broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB.” (Intel press release)

Intel’s press release continues: Thunderbolt 5 builds upon Thunderbolt 4 in several ways, including:

Image courtesy of Intel. (Click to see larger image.)

Larry adds: Thunderbolt 5 promises more flexible data bandwidth, support for more – and larger – monitors and much faster data transfer speeds. In addition to greater speed, I expect this version to support daisy chaining and hubs. Whether more than six devices can be chained is unclear.

Based on my initial conversations with “people who know,” Thunderbolt 5 may not support Thunderbolt 1 or 2. So, if you own those devices, like I do, you’ll need to migrate your data to new hardware when this technology becomes available.

As usual, Apple did not comment on their plans for Thunderbolt. However, Apple has aggressively supported Thunderbolt 1, 2, 3 and 4, so I expect they will do the same for Thunderbolt 5.

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