Intel Demos Next-Generation Thunderbolt with Up to 120 Gbps of Bandwidth

Image: Intel

Intel has demonstrated an early prototype of next-generation Thunderbolt, teasing drastically improved speeds for the upcoming version of the cable connection interface. Based on the newly released USB4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 specifications, the next generation of Thunderbolt will deliver up to 120 Gbps of bandwidth, something that Intel says will enable the best display experience, “up to three times the capability of today’s technologies.” Intel plans to share more details regarding the next generation of Thunderbolt, including its official brand name, features, and capabilities, in 2023.

  • Two times the total bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 to 80 Gbps, while providing up to three times the bandwidth to 120 Gbps for video-intensive usages.
  • Support for the newly released DisplayPort 2.1 for the best display experience.  
  • Two times the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics.  
  • Works with existing passive cables up to 1m via a new signaling technology.
  • Compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB and DisplayPort.
  • Supported by Intel’s enabling and certification programs.

“Intel has always been the industry pioneer and leader for wired connectivity solutions, and Thunderbolt is now the mainstream port on mobile PCs and integrated into three generations of Intel mobile CPUs. We’re very excited to lead the industry forward with the next generation of Thunderbolt built on the USB4 v2 specification, advanced to this next generation by Intel and other USB Promoter Group members.”

Image: Intel

From an Intel press release:

This prototype demonstration marks a major milestone in the journey to delivering next-generation Thunderbolt to the industry. The bandwidth needs of content creators and gamers are increasing significantly for high-resolution displays, low latency visuals, and the backup or transfer of huge video and data files. Next-generation Thunderbolt will deliver up to three times the capability of Thunderbolt 4 and make creating and gaming more efficient and immersive. In addition to supporting the latest version of USB4, the next generation of Thunderbolt will include improvements across a variety of areas.

With the vision to make Thunderbolt available to everyone, Intel in 2019 contributed to the USB Promoter Group its Thunderbolt protocol specification, which served as the basis for USB4. As a leader in this industry group, Intel has worked to extend the performance of USB4 to the next level. 

Intel has a long history of leading the industry in I/O innovation. Intel works closely with PC, accessory and cable partners to deliver the most advanced and complete wired connectivity solution through dedicated enabling and testing programs. All Thunderbolt products undergo stringent certification testing, and upon passing can use the Thunderbolt name and logo royalty-free on devices or in marketing. That’s why the Thunderbolt logo provides a simple, easily recognized indicator of the best wired connectivity solutions for PCs and accessories. 

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