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Intel leak suggests Thunderbolt 5 could offer up to 80 Gbps bandwidth

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A graphic showing some specifics regarding the Thunderbolt 5 in development was tweeted and then deleted by an Intel manager, including the fact that Intel is trying to double the existing Thunderbolt bandwidth limits to 80 Gbps.

Gregory Bryant, the EVP and GM of the Intel Client Computing Group, sent a tweet early Sunday that generated debate regarding Thunderbolt’s future as a communications protocol. The manager shared four photos during a trip to Intel’s Israel Research and Development Center, but one of them was quietly removed.

Despite the fact that Thunderbolt isn’t stated on the poster, Bryan indicates in his tweet that it was a Thunderbolt-related lab tour. Given the close proximity of Intel’s Thunderbolt and USB standards, which permits the Thunderbolt 3 specification to be included in the USB 4 standard, the billboard appears to be about Thunderbolt 5.
The connection is “intended to support the existing USB-C ecosystem,” according to the poster, implying that Intel intends to keep using the USB Type-C connection.

The usage of “new PAM-3 modulation technology” is mentioned in a unique way on the poster.

NRZ coding is when the data line conveys one bit at a time, with an electrical signal alternating between two states. Pulse-Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM-4) is an alternative that describes how two bits can be broadcast at the same time, with the 4 referring to the number of bit pairs that can be created.

A data line in PAM-3 can change between three states, covering 0, +1, or -1. A transmission pair informs the system of a three-bit group, which is about 50% more efficient than NRZ.

Thunderbolt 5 should theoretically provide many of the same benefits of Thunderbolt 3, such as power, video, Thunderbolt networking, and high bandwidth, to users. The increased bandwidth from 40 Gbit/s to 80 Gbit/s in Thunderbolt 5 allows for faster file transfers and more data exchange between connected devices with fewer constraints.

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