Intel may soon introduce a new Thunderbolt specification. Specifically, it would be Thunderbolt 5, which could double the maximum data transfer speed that Thunderbolt 4 currently has.
However, this news does not come through a bombastic announcement but through an image published on social networks that have already been deleted. This photo was posted by Gregory Bryant, an Intel executive visiting the company’s laboratories in Israel.
Bryant’s image was removed, but Anand Tech managed to rescue it. In it, you can read that Intel is preparing a technology that will allow maximum speeds of up to 80 Gb per second. In addition, Thunderbolt 5 will continue to be compatible with the existing USB-C. However, the physical transmission layer will be based on PAM-3, a technology that has not been used for these purposes until now.
So far, none of the above is confirmed, as Gregory Bryant removed the image from his account, which gives rise to various interpretations. Most likely, Intel is not yet in a position to make the announcement and, since it is a large company that wants to have all its communications under control, it seems normal that they want to save the information for the right moment.
It is also possible that the final Thunderbolt 5 specification is not yet closed, and the theoretical 80 Gbps is not the last number. In any case, Intel had already explicitly said that the goal with the new version of Thunderbolt was to double the transfer rate of the current version, something that did not happen in the jump from Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 4.
Among other functions, these ports are used to connect monitors, video cards, and other devices that require high-speed data transmission. It is common to see them in Apple devices such as iMac or MacBook, but always with USB-C connectors.