Thunderbolt 5 is on the horizon.
This week Intel detailed what we can expect from Thunderbolt 5 in a blog post announcing the new connectivity standard. This successor to Thunderbolt 4 promises to deliver improved connectivity speed and bandwidth for the growing demands of folks who need faster speeds for work, streaming and gaming.
We’ll have to wait until 2024 to see what Thunderbolt 5 is all about, but what we’ve heard sounds promising. Here’s everything we know about Thunderbolt 5 so far.
Thunderbolt 5 release date
Intel says computers and accessories featuring Thunderbolt 5 should start arriving sometime in 2024. That being the case, Thunderbolt 5 (codenamed Barlow Ridge) likely won’t become ubiquitous until 2025 or 2026.
As for what computers and accessories will utilize Thunderbolt 5, we can reasonably expect the connectivity standard for the best laptops, the best computers and the best portable chargers — among other things.
Thunderbolt 5 speeds and features
Intel says Thunderbolt 5 will deliver 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bi-directional bandwidth. With Bandwidth Boost, it will provide up to 120 Gbps.
The company says these improvements will provide up to three times more bandwidth than existing connectivity options. That's a big deal if you like to use accessories like an external GPU enclosure, because more bandwidth means more data transmitted back and forth faster, which means better performance for you.
And since it's built on USB4 v2, Thunderbolt 5 will be broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and USB.
Thunderbolt 5 can also support multiple 8K monitors and three 4K monitors at 144Hz. For gamers, Thunderbolt 5 supports panels with refresh rates up to 540Hz, which seems ideal for those who may own a ridiculously fast display like the Alienware 500Hz gaming monitor. According to Intel, its new PAM-3 signaling technology is what enables such performance increases.
These features will benefit everyone, but video editors, streamers and gamers will no doubt take the most advantage of what Thunderbolt 5 has to offer.
We’ll need to sit tight until 2024 to see the first Thunderbolt 5 devices, but we’re already excited to see which monitors, laptops, storage drives, chargers and more will utilize the upcoming connectivity standard. I’m particularly interested to see how Thunderbolt 5 benefits the best gaming laptops.
We’ll update this page with all Thunderbolt 5 announcements, so make sure to come back for more information as we get it.