Those working with very large files should be pleased that Intel keeps improving the Thunderbolt standard. The newly announced Thunderbolt 5 doubles the speed of its predecessor, and can even go up to three times faster for video connections.
It’s virtually certain Apple will build support the system for high-speed data transfers into future Macs.
Thunderbolt 5 brings the speed
Thunderbolt is an industry standard for transferring data at high speed over cables, while also being useful for external monitors. The standard was developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple, and premiered originally in a 2011 MacBook Pro. It’s improved significantly since then.
Thunderbolt 3 and the current Thunderbolt 4 top out at 40 gigabits per second. The version announced Tuesday takes data transfers to 80 Gbps. And a new Bandwidth Boost provides up to 120 Gbps. That’s three times the throughput for video-intensive connections.
“Thunderbolt 5 will provide industry-leading performance and capability for connecting computers to monitors, docks, storage and more,” said Jason Ziller, GM or Intel’s Client Connectivity Division, in a statement. “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.”
While there is no word yet from Apple about support for the updated standard, every previous version has been built into Macs and even some iPad Pro models. That trend will almost certainly continue with the new one.
On Macs, Thunderbolt uses the USB-C port, but it shouldn’t be confused with the USB data transfer standard. Read Cult of Mac‘s “What’s the difference between USB-C and Thunderbolt?” for an explainer.
While Intel went ahead and announced the new version on Tuesday, the first computers to support Thunderbolt 5 are expected to be available starting in 2024.