The dream of a single PC cable solution lives on.
Intel’s Thunderbolt 5, the latest evolution in PC cable technology, promises to bring an array of remarkable enhancements to the table. With up to three times the bandwidth of its predecessor, Thunderbolt 4, and a slew of powerful features, this cable aims to redefine your PC connectivity experience, and this time, Intel might just succeed.
OWC Thunderbolt 4 Cable, Thunderbolt Certified, 0.72 Meter (2.36 ft), 40 Gb/s Data Transfer, 240W Power Charging, Compatible with Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and USB4 Devices, Black
When Thunderbolt 4 made its debut in 2020, it felt like an evolution of Thunderbolt 3. While it maintained the same maximum bandwidth of 40 gigabits per second, it brought increased efficiency, allowing Intel to standardize support for multiple 4K screens and double storage device speeds. Additionally, Thunderbolt 4 mandated at least one Thunderbolt 4 port to support USB-C charging.
Anker Thunderbolt 4 Cable 2.3 ft, Supports 8K Display / 40Gbps Data Transfer / 100W Charging USB C to USB C Cable, for Type-C MacBooks, iPad Pro, Hub, Docking, and More (Intel Thunderbolt Certified)
However, Thunderbolt 5 is poised to be a significant leap forward. Built on the USB4 v2 specification, it delivers the same speed improvements, but with Intel’s unique twist. Key features are now mandatory, including a baseline speed of 80 Gbps, support for 120 Gbps via bandwidth boosting (compared to USB4’s 20 Gbps), compatibility with dual 6K screens (Thunderbolt 4 supports dual 4K monitors), and a minimum of 140 watts for charging, with an even more robust 240W mode.
Lenovo 40B00135US Thunderbolt 4 ThinkPad Universal Dock 8K Display Support Up to 100W Power Delivery
Since its inception as Light Peak, Intel envisioned Thunderbolt as the ultimate single cable solution for all your data and power needs. Thunderbolt 5 takes a significant step toward realizing this vision. With up to 240W of charging power, some gaming laptops and workstations might no longer require a separate power port. This translates to fewer cables to lug around and the convenience of borrowing a USB-C cable and adapter whenever you need a recharge.
[2 Pack 4Ft] Thunderbolt 4 Cable with 40Gbps/ 100W Charging and 8K Compatible with Thunderbolt 4/3 Monitor, Docking Stations and More
Notably, Thunderbolt 5 will also support the DisplayPort 2.1 and PCI Express Gen 4 standards. The latter is particularly exciting for external GPU users who have long grappled with bandwidth limitations. This extra bandwidth opens doors to new possibilities, including external AI accelerators and significantly faster external storage solutions.
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Cable with 240W Charging, Thunderbolt Certified, 3.3 Feet (1M),1x 8K Display, 40 Gbps, Compatible with USB4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C - Driverless
Intel has announced that Thunderbolt 5 accessories and PCs will hit the market in 2024. While a more precise release schedule would be appreciated, Intel might be cautious not to deter consumers from investing in new systems this year.