Thunderbolt 5.0 unveiled with 240 Watts fast charging and up to three times more bandwidth than Thunderbolt 4.0
It has been a while since the fourth iteration of Thunderbolt 4.0 debuted alongside Tiger Lake. The port has since been found on a plethora of mid-range and high-end laptops. Intel has finally revealed its newest version, Thunderbolt 5.0. Among other things, it brings a multifold improvement in raw bandwidth.
Thunderbolt 5.0 also allows fast charging up to 240 Watts (from 140 Watts in Thunderbolt 4.0). This can be particularly helpful for power-hungry gaming laptops, which often have to rely on bulky barrel-pin chargers to keep the components juiced up. However, the 240-watt figure is optional, but one can still get 140 Watts regardless.
As mentioned earlier, Thunderbolt 5.0 has upped its maximum supported bandwidth to 80 Gbps. The increase is possible due to PAM-3 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation with 3 Levels) signalling. We can expect to see more PAM-3 in action with GDDR7 VRAM. This increase in throughput, combined with PCIe 64 Gbps support, should help gamers utilize heretofore bandwidth-restricted eGPU enclosures better. It also allows the cable to dynamically adjust its upstream and downstream throughput on an application-by-application basis.
For example, it can operate at an even 80 Gbps both ways or at 120 Gbps (transmit) and 40 Gbps (receive) for data-heavy applications. On the optics front, Thunderbolt 5.0 can output video to "multiple" 8K monitors, refresh rates up to 540 Hz (likely at 1080p) and up to three 4K 144 Hz displays.
It is compatible with DP 2.1, USB 4.0 V2, USB 4.0, USB 3, Thunderbolt 4, and Thunderbolt 3 standards. Thunderbolt 5.0 will debut sometime in 2024 alongside Intel's next generation of laptop processors. It also has a new logo with the number "5" imprinted next to it.