In September 2023, Intel announced Thunderbolt 5, a connectivity standard for the USB Type-C connector that is based on USB4 Version 2.0. It offers 80Gbps bi-directional bandwidth, which is two times more than what Thunderbolt 4 offers, and 120Gbps unidirectional bandwidth, which is three times more than what Thunderbolt 4 offers. With massive improvements in data transfer speeds, it can support three 4K displays or two 6K displays. However, after the announcement, we didn’t see products with support for Thunderbolt 5 for months.
That changed with CES 2024. At the event, Intel announced 14th Gen Core HX mobile processors, which are the first set of products from the company to offer Thunderbolt 5 connectivity. Along with that, the company also showcased Thunderbolt 5 in action in collaboration with Razer, and that’s what we are going to talk about today.
Razer Blade 18 runs three 4K displays at 120Hz
While several brands announced multiple laptops with Intel 14th Gen Core HX mobile processors, only one among them supports Thunderbolt 5 connectivity, the Razer Blade 18. So, Intel took the opportunity to show off the latest connectivity standard. The brand demoed the Razer Blade 18 running three 4K displays at a 120Hz refresh rate over Thunderbolt 5. This is the first time a laptop is running three 4K displays at a 120Hz refresh rate using a single cable.
That’s great news for people who want to run three 4K displays at a high refresh rate using a single cable. The Razer Blade 18 might not be able to run graphics-intensive games on three monitors at that resolution and refresh rate. However, the demo shows that if a device has the graphics power to do that, there’s now a connectivity option that could run three displays at 4K resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate over a single cable. It also reduces cable clutter and makes connecting multiple displays easier.
Speaking of Thunderbolt 5, Microsoft has added support for USB4 Version 2.0, the standard on which Thunderbolt 5 is based, to Windows 11. So, if you buy a laptop with this connectivity option, you can rest assured that Windows 11 supports it.