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Thunderbolt™ 5 Explained: Top Benefits & Why It's a Game-Changer for Tech

Thunderbolt 5 brings significant improvements to data transfer speed.

Major benefits of Thunderbolt 5

Thunderbolt 5 is on the horizon, ready to revolutionize the way we connect and interact with our devices. Building on the impressive capabilities of Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 5 brings significant improvements to bandwidth, video capabilities, data transfer speeds, and power delivery to enhance the overall user experience. Intel’s official public announcement of Thunderbolt 5 and its features took place this month and Kensington is already planning on releasing its first Thunderbolt 5 docking station very soon. So, let’s explore the major benefits of Thunderbolt 5, and take a sneak peek into the exciting possibilities this cutting-edge technology brings.

Bandwidth Boost for the Best Display Experience

With Thunderbolt 5, Intel has doubled its bandwidth to 80Gbps in each direction and introduced a “Bandwidth Boost” that allocates an additional 40Gbps in one direction to enhance video when needed. This Bandwidth Boost enables Thunderbolt 5 to carry an impressive 120Gbps to support the best display experiences, including multiple 8K monitors, up to 540Hz refresh rate on a single monitor, and up to triple 4K@144Hz. Thunderbolt™ 5 eliminates the need for professionals to compromise between resolution and refresh rate, delivering an unparalleled experience that seamlessly combines high-resolution visuals with smooth, ultra-responsive refresh rates. This means professionals can work with crystal-clear images, intricate details, and smooth motion without sacrificing either aspect. And, gamers visual experiences will become more immersive and engaging.

Blazing-Fast Data Transfer

Thunderbolt™ 5 takes data transfer speeds to unprecedented levels. With blazing-fast speeds of up to 80Gbps, Thunderbolt™ 5 will enable professionals to transfer large files, stream high-resolution content, and run resource-intensive applications with ease. In addition, gamers will benefit from gaming sessions with minimal lag, enabling them to stay ahead of the competition. Say goodbye to long waiting times and hello to instant productivity. Thunderbolt™ 5 improves data transfer speeds by supporting PCI Express Gen 4, which has the capability to achieve 64Gbps via the PCIe Gen4x4 interface. This advancement enables users to connect high-end SSDs in external enclosures, taking advantage of their exceptional performance. Furthermore, Thunderbolt™ 5 enhances its support for external graphics cards by increasing the throughput speed from 32Gbps to 64Gbps.

A New Era of Power Delivery with Thunderbolt™ 5

Prepare for a power revolution! Thunderbolt™ 5 takes power delivery to new heights, offering remarkable advancements for your devices. Supporting USB-C® PD 3.1, Thunderbolt™ 5 surpasses Thunderbolt™ 4’s 100W minimum requirement, ensuring even more robust performance. Manufacturers can further customize Thunderbolt™ 5 to provide an impressive maximum power delivery of up to 240W, and the minimum will be 140W. While full adoption of the USB Power Delivery's 240W mode by laptop manufacturers is still underway, Thunderbolt™ 5's support for this feature signals a promising development. This enhanced power delivery specification proves especially advantageous for high-performance workstations/gaming laptops hungry for increased power levels. Plus, Thunderbolt™ 5's enhanced charging capabilities eliminate the need for additional DC barrel connectors, streamlining power delivery across various devices.

Elevating Networking Speeds to New Heights

Thunderbolt™ 5 not only continues its legacy of revolutionizing display capabilities, data transfer, and power delivery but also takes a giant leap in networking technology. This advancement propels connectivity speeds to unprecedented levels, offering significant enhancements for a wide array of users.

Doubling the Networking Speed: From Thunderbolt™ 4 to Thunderbolt™ 5

With Thunderbolt™ 5, Intel has achieved a monumental increase in networking speeds, moving from the previous 32Gbps to an impressive 64Gbps. This advancement sets a new benchmark in the realm of fast and reliable network connections, unlocking new possibilities across various applications.

Key Advantages of Thunderbolt™ 5's Enhanced Networking Speeds

  • Enhanced Professional Productivity:

    For professionals and remote teams, the boosted networking speeds mean smoother collaboration, faster data transfers, and more efficient workflows, ensuring that projects move forward without a hitch.
  • Superior Gaming Experience:

    Gamers will revel in the reduced latency and enhanced online gameplay that Thunderbolt™ 5 delivers. This means smoother, uninterrupted play sessions and richer graphics, keeping you competitive and fully immersed in your gaming worlds.
  • Streamlined Connectivity for All Users:

    Beyond professionals and gamers, anyone who demands high-speed, reliable network connections stands to benefit. Whether you're streaming high-definition videos, participating in bandwidth-intensive video conferences, or simply enjoying online content, Thunderbolt™ 5 ensures your online experience is second to none.

Versatile Connectivity

With Thunderbolt™ 5, a single port will be all you need to connect to a vast array of devices. Supporting a wide range of protocols, Thunderbolt™ 5 will allow you to connect to multiple displays, high-speed storage, external GPUs, and a plethora of USB accessories simultaneously. You’ll be able to simplify your workspace and streamline your workflow with Thunderbolt™ 5's versatile connectivity options.

Seamless Compatibility

Thunderbolt™ 5 will be broadly compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt™ and USB, ensuring seamless connectivity across a wide range of devices and accessories. Whether your setup includes Thunderbolt™ 4, Thunderbolt™ 3, USB4®, USB-C® 3.2, or DP2.1 accessories, you can upgrade to Thunderbolt™ 5 at your own pace, knowing that your docking station technology is future-proofed.

You can learn more about unlocking the benefits of increased bandwidth, enhanced power delivery, and a world of exciting accessories by downloading Intel’s Thunderbolt™ 5 Press Deck


Exciting times lie ahead with the imminent arrival of Thunderbolt™ 5. This next generation of connectivity promises blazing-fast data transfer speeds, incredible video capabilities, enhanced power delivery, versatile connectivity, and seamless compatibility with your existing Thunderbolt™ devices, USB4®, and USB-C® devices and accessories. Whether it's for boosting productivity or taking gaming to new heights, Thunderbolt™ 5 sets a new standard in connectivity and unlocks limitless possibilities. Stay tuned for the release of Thunderbolt™ 5 products, and in the meantime, explore how Kensington’s Thunderbolt™ docking stations deliver consistent, industry-leading capabilities for connecting laptops to data, video, and power, with the simplicity of just one cable connection. 

Maximize your productivity with Kensington's Thunderbolt™ Solutions.