Intel has announced Thunderbolt 5, the next generation of Thunderbolt, and demonstrated a prototype laptop and dock.

“Thunderbolt 5 will provide industry-leading performance and capability for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage and more,” says Jason Ziller, GM of the client connectivity division at Intel. “Intel is excited to continue our tradition of leadership for wired connectivity solutions.

“Thunderbolt is now the mainstream port for connectivity on mobile PCs, and delivering the next generation of performance with Thunderbolt 5 will provide even more capability for the most demanding users.”

Thunderbolt 5 will deliver 80Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth, and with Bandwidth Boost it will provide up to 120Gbps 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. Thunderbolt 5 will meet the high bandwidth needs of content creators and gamers.

Built on industry standards – including USB4 V2 – Thunderbolt 5 will be broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB.

The bandwidth needs of content creators, gamers and professionals are increasing significantly. These users want high-resolution displays and low-latency visuals while working with increasingly larger video and data files. Thunderbolt 5 has been designed to massively improve connectivity speed and bandwidth to ensure modern PC users can enjoy the highest-quality visuals and immersive experiences for years to come.

“Microsoft is excited to closely collaborate with Intel to bring the latest USB4 standard to Windows customers,” says Ian LeGrow, corporate vice-president of core OS product management at Microsoft. “Thunderbolt 5 is fully USB 80Gbps standard compliant to support the next generation of high-performance displays, storage and connectivity.”

Thunderbolt 5 builds upon Thunderbolt 4 in several ways, including:

* Two times the total bi-directional bandwidth; Bandwidth Boost provides up to three times the throughput for video-intensive usage, up to 120Gbps.

* Double the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics.

* Built on industry standards including USB4 V2, DisplayPort 2.1 and PCI Express Gen 4; fully compatible with previous versions.

* Double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt Networking for high-speed PC-to-PC connections.

* Utilises a new signaling technology, PAM-3, to deliver these significant increases in performance with today’s printed circuit boards, connectors and passive cables up to 1m.

Thunderbolt products have become mainstream in the PC marketplace, with leading PC accessory vendors worldwide adopting the standard to reach hundreds of millions of PC users active today.

Thunderbolt 5 will build on this extensive base and continue to deliver on the vision of one USB-C port and cable that can do it all – simplifying the PC experience for users around the globe while still providing the highest quality and performance possible.

Computers and accessories based on Intel’s Thunderbolt 5 controller, code-named Barlow Ridge, are expected to be available starting in 2024.