Intel’s New Thunderbolt 5 Connector Is Eight Times As Fast as USB-C 3

Intel’s New Thunderbolt 5 Connector Is Eight Times As Fast as USB-C 3

Intel, the company behind the Thunderbolt connector, the one that looks like a typical USB-C plug has announced the latest generation of the tech – Thunderbolt 5.

Thunderbolt 4 was already an incredibly impressive piece of technology. Compared to the USB-C standard today, USB-C 3, Thunderbolt 4 was four times faster at transferring data – at 40Gbps.

Well, Thunderbolt 5 ups this once again, with data transfer speeds maxing out at 80Gbps, or up to 120Gbps when projecting to a display. It’s likely that, with this new generation of Thunderbolt, Intel will once again run circles around the USB-C standard (USB-C 4, after all, is rated at a maximum bandwidth of 40Gbps, though USB-C 4.2 devices are capable of reaching up to 80Gbps).

“Thunderbolt 5 will provide industry-leading performance and capability for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage and more,” general manager of the client connectivity division at Intel Jason Ziller said.

“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.”

On top of the incredible speeds Intel is offering with Thunderbolt 5, the company claims that the cable will be capable of running three 4K monitors at up to 144hz with 4K resolution.

Many of the specs around Thunderbolt 5 align with USB-C 4.2, but as pointed out by XDA Developers, the difference is more about the initial expectation; it can be difficult to tell which USB-C cables are 3, 4, or 4.2, but for Thunderbolt 5, it’s the baseline expectation that speeds like this will be the norm, with a ‘5’ on the connector and plug indicating as such.

Compatibility has also been guaranteed: Intel claims that Thunderbolt 5 will be “broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB”, though expect lower speeds when relying on older USB-C or Thunderbolt standards.

This announcement from Intel comes at a good time too – Apple just announced that the iPhone 15 will be switching to USB-C from the much slower Lightning connector, but not Thunderbolt 4, like what was rumoured.

Anyway, I can’t wait for the Thunderbolt 5 port to come fitted to new laptops. You’ve got me excited, Intel.

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