Intel today previewed the next generation of Thunderbolt, which will deliver ultrafast data transfer speeds and enhanced external display support on future Macs that include the standard when released in 2023 or later.

The next-generation Thunderbolt will deliver up to 80 Gbps of bandwidth in each direction, allowing for up to 2x faster data transfer speeds between future Macs and external storage drives that support the standard compared to current speeds. The next-gen Thunderbolt will also have a mode that allows up to 120 Gbps of bandwidth for external displays, which will allow a Mac to support dual 8K displays at 60 Hz.

Intel Next Generation Thunderbolt

The latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models are equipped with Thunderbolt 4/USB4 ports with up to 40 Gbps of bandwidth in each direction.

Currently, no Mac supports 8K displays on a plug-and-play basis. The latest 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models support up to two or three external displays at 6K@60Hz, depending on whether the notebook is configured with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip.

The next generation Thunderbolt is based on the newly released USB4 version 2.0 and DisplayPort 2.1 specifications and is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt, USB and DisplayPort. Intel plans to share more details about the official name, features and capabilities of the next generation Thunderbolt in 2023.

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