An Intel sign.
Alexander Tolstykh/

A trip around various Intel research sites didn’t quite go as planned for Gregory Bryant, EVP, and GM of Intel’s Client Computing Group. The executive shared and then quickly deleted a photo that revealed that Thunderbolt 5 could support 80 Gbps connections, which is double the bandwidth offered by Thunderbolt 4.

What Did Intel Accidently Reveal?

The tweet, which was since deleted and reuploaded without the offending image, shows the text “80G PHY Technology” and “USB 80G is targeted to support the existing USB-C ecosystem.” The first line is the bandwidth mentioned above increase. The second line indicates that Intel is aiming to keep the USB-C connector with higher bandwidth.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Thunderbolt 5 offering double the bandwidth of its predecessor. Intel’s director of I/O strategy in the Client Connectivity Division, Ben Hacker, told The Tom’s Hardware Show that double the bandwidth was achievable.

There’s also a third visible line of text that says, “The PHY will be based on novel PAM-3 modulation technology.” That’s where things get complicated, but if you’re interested in the details, Anandtech has all the technical information, including graphs and charts.

But here’s what it means for you: It’s twice as fast. This is partly because PAM-3 can carry a 3-bit data signal, which is quicker than traditional NRZ connections that carry a single bit.

When Will We See Thunderbolt 5?

Unfortunately, we have no idea at this time. Intel is working on something here that they didn’t want public, or the Tweet would not have been deleted after it was posted. If Thunderbolt can indeed support 80 Gbps connections, then it could be a game-changer in terms of bandwidth.

We’ll have to wait and see when Intel plans to implement the new technology and whether it’ll meet the numbers the company is currently targeting, but it all sounds fascinating.

Profile Photo for Dave LeClair Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He is now a Mobile Analyst for PCMag. Dave started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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