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Thunderbolt 5: everything you need to know

© Cable Matters

Time seems to pass at lightning speed: the Thunderbolt 4 is already 4 years old! It equips many Apple computers (MacBook Pro M2 or M3, Mac Mini M1 or M2, IMac from 2021, etc.) but also certain Windows PCs such as the Dell XPS 13 Plus, the HP Specter x360 14 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10.

It is time for it to give way to its successor, the Thunderbolt 5. With a bandwidth of 120 Gb/s (4 times that of the previous generation) and a power of 240 watts, it would make its predecessor look like a cable straight out of the 1990s. Problem: Thunderbolt 5 is quite expensive and, for now, compatible with little hardware< /strong>.

A spectacular technological advance that comes at a high price

Thunderbolt 5 technology, the result of Intel's know-how, brilliantly pushes the boundaries of USB-C cable performance. Offering an impressive bandwidth of 120 Gb/s in Bandwidth Boost mode, it now allows simultaneous management of external SSDs, eGPUs and high-definition displays at frequency of high refresh rate (up to two monitors in 6K), all via a single cable.

Besides this optimal configuration, Thunderbolt 5 can provide gargantuan bidirectional transmission, reaching speeds of 80 Gb/s in each direction. This technical feat occurs thanks to the operation of two pairs of distinct lines, each capable of carrying 40 Gb/s. Thus, two lines are dedicated to transmission while the other two provide reception.

Cable Matters (American company that designs and manufactures cables and electronic accessories) proudly announced the availability of the first Thunderbolt 5 certified cables on Amazon, offering varying lengths of 0.3m, 0.5m and 1m. For the 1 m version, you will have to pay no less than 34.99 euros! Much more expensive than the Thunderbolt 4, whose prices range between 17 and 25 euros.

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And compatibility in all that ?

Nevertheless, the exploitation of this technology requires compatible devices, and that's where the problem lies. Currently, only the Razer Blade 18, in its Mercury edition at more than 5,000 euros, sports a Thunderbolt 5 port. A very high-end laptop, equipped with a Intel i9 processor and an RTX 4090 mobile graphics card. More than limited compatibility at the moment.

For the moment, we can say that there are no mainstream devices compatible with Thunderbolt 5. We will therefore have to wait a certain time before being able to take advantage of its capabilities and settle for T4 for most of our devices.

  • The Thunderbolt 5, designed by Intel, is finally available.
  • Much more powerful than the previous generation, its maximum bandwidth is 120 Gb/s and its power is 240 watts.
  • It is, however, quite expensive and incompatible with most existing hardware.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116