• A key speed booster in Thunderbolt 5 is PAM-3, an enhanced form of data transmission using pulse-amplitude modulation.
  • Intel’s Thunderbolt 5 standard boasts twice the data transfer speed compared to its predecessor, Thunderbolt 4.

A new and significantly faster version of Intel Corp.’s Thunderbolt technology, which connects PCs with external devices like displays, was just released.

Intel and Apple Inc. collaborated to create Thunderbolt in 2011. It is similar to USB in some ways but performs much more quickly. This speed and the absence of licensing fees from Intel for Thunderbolt have made the technology commonplace in the PC market.

Thunderbolt is designed for connecting PCs with peripheral devices, much like USB. The technology primarily connects external graphics cards, data storage devices, and displays. A Thunderbolt cable can power the peripheral device as well as transfer data between a PC and the device.

The General Manager of Intel’s client connectivity unit, Jason Ziller, said, “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.”

Thunderbolt 4 is the name of the standard’s previous iteration. It can transfer data up to 40 gigabits per second between a PC and an external device. The company claims that the enhanced Thunderbolt 5 standard, which Intel unveiled recently, doubles that bandwidth to 80 gigabits per second.

Using a feature known as Bandwidth Boost, Thunderbolt 5 can, if necessary, boost throughput to 120 gigabits per second. In part to make the process of connecting external displays to a PC easier, Intel created Bandwidth Boost. Certain monitors have high bandwidth needs that previously couldn’t be met as effectively, especially those that offer a high resolution and refresh rate.

PAM-3 is a technology that boosts Thunderbolt 5’s speed further. It is an enhanced version of the well-liked pulse-amplitude modulation (PAM) data transmission method. An earlier iteration of the method was used in the Thunderbolt 4 standard from the previous generation.

Thunderbolt transmits data as electrical or optical signals, depending on the kind of cable used to link a PC with an accessory. It creates a signal, and then, by subtly altering its amplitude, it encodes data into that signal. The original data can be put back together at the receiving end of the Thunderbolt cable using the variations in the amplitude of incoming signals.

Thunderbolt sends signals to a peripheral device that can be seen as an eye on a graph. Thunderbolt 5’s new data transmission technology, PAM-3, enlarges the “eyes.” This modification decreases signal errors and accelerates data transfer.

In reality, more displays can be connected to a single PC thanks to Thunderbolt 5’s faster performance. Users could connect up to two 4K screens with a 60Hz refresh rate to their devices with the previous standard version. Three 4K screens can be connected via Thunderbolt 5 at 144Hz refresh rates.

According to Intel, users can connect “multiple” 8K displays to a PC with Thunderbolt 5. These screens have four times the resolution that of a 4K monitor.

Thunderbolt can be used to connect PCs with external data storage devices, graphics processing units, and monitors. According to Intel, Thunderbolt 5 will increase such peripherals’ bandwidth by a factor of two.

The amount of data a GPU can process per second is directly influenced by the speed at which data can be transferred from a PC to an external GPU. Thunderbolt 5 should make it possible for external graphics cards to operate more quickly by enhancing the amount of data that can be transferred between the two devices. Thanks to it, users can copy files to and from storage devices more quickly.

Next year, according to Intel, Thunderbolt 5 will begin to be included with PCs and computer accessories.