The capabilities of Intel’s upcoming Thunderbolt 5 technology have leaked courtesy of one of the company’s own executives, Gregory Bryant, who recently visited one of Intel’s R&D facilities in Israel and accidentally shared photos on social media revealing some information that wasn’t meant to be public.
According to a poster seen in one of Bryant’s shots, Intel’s Thunderbolt 5 will boast incredible speeds of up to 80 Gbps, which is twice as fast as the current Thunderbolt 4 specification. This is largely thanks to PAM-3 modulation technology, a novel method of transmitting zeroes and ones that makes this higher rate of data transfer possible.
Intel had actually hinted earlier this year that it was exploring ways of doubling Thunderbolt 4’s already impressive 40 GBps bandwidth, but Bryant’s slip-up seems to confirm that Thunderbolt 5 will definitely blow its predecessor out of the water in terms of potential speeds.
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
Intel’s goal with Thunderbolt is going to be both driving bandwidth, power, and utility, but also right now it seems keeping it to the USB-C standard is going to be a vital part of keeping the technology useful for users who can fall back on standard USB-C connections. Right now Intel’s TB4 is a superset that includes USB4, so we might see another situation where TB5 is ready to be a superset of USB5 as well, however it seems that USB standards are slower to roll out than TB standards right now.