With the forthcoming USB 4 2.0 spec being announced earlier this month Thunderbolt users were wondering if Intel would followed suit. The answer appears to be yes with a prototype 80Gbps Thunderbolt demo shown in Intel’s Israel facility.
Intel is the key developer of Thunderbolt, which was co-developed with Apple. The I/O specification is the foundation of a small but growing ecosystem of Thunderbolt docks, which connect to a USB-C/Thunderbolt port on a PC and use the I/O bandwidth to connect to various peripherals, including displays and storage.
Displays, not surprisingly, suck up the most bandwidth. The current Thunderbolt specification, known as Thunderbolt 4, allows for 40Gbps data transfers, typically enough for a pair of 4K displays running at 60Hz apiece. Connecting additional peripherals, however, can cut into that bandwidth — docks with integrated Ethernet ports and connections to high-speed external SSDs can see hiccups if many peripherals are used at once.
The new 80Gbps specification will likely be useful in several ways. First, the specification will simply enable more headroom when connecting peripherals to a dual 4K60 setup. But the specification will also allow for either higher-resolution displays to be connected to a Thunderbolt dock, higher-refresh-rate displays to be connected to the dock, or some combination of the the two.
via PC World