Computers with Thunderbolt 4 functionality just started shipping last year, but it looks like Intel is already planning for Thunderbolt 5. And it looks like the next-gen standard could support data speeds up to 80 Gbps while retaining the same USB-C connector.
That would make Thunderbolt 5 twice as fast as Thunderbolt 4. But it’s unclear if or when it’ll be ready for release, since all the information we have comes from a photo that an Intel executive appears to have posted to Twitter accidentally.
As spotted by AnandTech, Intel vice president Gregory Bryant recently toured a company facility in Israel, and posted four images of his tour to Twitter… but that delete as quickly deleted and replaced with a new one featuring just three pictures.
What’s in the now-removed image? A sign that describes “80 G PHY Technology” that would support 80 Gbps data carried over a USB-C connector. AnandTech points out that one of the most interesting bits of data on the sign points the use of “novel PAM-3 modulation technology,” which would be an entirely new way to encode data, allowing Thunderbolt 5 to offer twice the capacity. Check out AnandTech’s article for a more detailed explanation of just what’s so novel about that tech.
There’s no other information about what to expect from Thunderbolt 5 yet, but odds are that it’ll support many of the same features available from Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 today, including support for video output over a USB cable, support for delivering enough power to charge a laptop, and support for docking stations and other accessories that allow you to connect multiple accessories (like an external graphics card, storage device, and display) using a single USB-C port on your computer.
Day 1 with the @intel Israel team in the books. Great views…incredible opp to see @GetThunderbolt innovation …a validation lab tour and time with the team…can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! pic.twitter.com/GKOddA6TNi
— Gregory M Bryant (@gregorymbryant) August 1, 2021