Next-gen Thunderbolt
Image courtesy: Intel

Intel has demonstrated an early prototype of the next-generation Thunderbolt interface. This follows after the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) released the USB4 v2 specification this week.

Why do we need it?

Intel says that the prototype demonstration is a major milestone in the journey to delivering next-generation Thunderbolt to the industry. Video is being filmed in ever-higher resolutions, and this means file sizes are getting bigger too. Next-generation Thunderbolt will ensure that the bandwidth is available for the backup or transfer of huge video and data files. Content creators and gamers also need higher bandwidths for high-resolution displays and low-latency visuals.

What’s new?

Intel states that the next-generation Thunderbolt will deliver 80 gigabits per second (Gbps) of bi-directional bandwidth. This is double the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4. The next-generation Thunderbolt will also enable up to 120 Gbps for the best display experience. This provides up to three times the capability of today’s technologies. The new interface will also maintain compatibility with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB and DisplayPort. 

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Other new features

The next-generation Thunderbolt interface will support the newly released DisplayPort 2.1 for the best display experience. It will also provide two times the PCI Express data throughput for faster storage and external graphics. In addition, the next-generation will work with existing passive cables up to one meter via a new signaling technology.

The view from Intel

Jason Ziller, general manager of the Client Connectivity Division at Intel, said: “Intel has always been the industry pioneer and leader for wired connectivity solutions, and Thunderbolt is now the mainstream port on mobile PCs and integrated into three generations of Intel mobile CPUs. We’re very excited to lead the industry forward with the next generation of Thunderbolt built on the USB4 v2 specification, advanced to this next generation by Intel and other USB Promoter Group members.”

What we think

The next-generation Thunderbolt interface is still in the prototype stage. Intel has said that it will be 2023 before more details are available such as the official brand name, features and capabilities. However, with the extra bandwidth and promise of faster storage, next-generation Thunderbolt should be welcomed by video creators and videographers.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.