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Intel Thunderbolt 5 slide confirms 80Gbps USB Type-C on the way

by Mark Tyson on 2 August 2021, 13:11

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC)

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The Executive Vice President & GM of Intel's Client Computing Group, Gregory M Bryant, appears to have slipped-up this weekend. Bryant was excited about his first business trip since 2020 – visiting Intel's labs in Israel. The top Intel exec excitedly shared a quartet of photos from his tour of the facilities – but had to quickly delete the post and re-upload with just three photos (below right) after discovering he had disclosed a little too much.

AnandTech spotted and saved the Intel gaffe for posterity, and for inquisitive tech enthusiasts, and you can see the information Intel didn't want to share in the crop below. It is all about upcoming Thunderbolt 5 technology.

In the above image, we can see a section of a poster at Intel's Israel facilities that obviously isn't meant for public consumption at this time. The poster heading talks about "80G PHY Technology". This is pretty solid confirmation that Thunderbolt 5 (80Gb) is going to double the maximum bandwidth supported by Thunderbolt 4 (40Gb).

Moving down to the next point of the poster, one can clearly read that Thunderbolt 5 will still use the USB Type-C interface, so we won't have to suffer with updated ports/connectors for backwards compatibility purposes.

Another line in the Thunderbolt 5 poster shares that the physical layer "will be based on a novel PAM-3 modulation technology". PAM is an abbreviation of Pulse Amplitude Modulation. The numeral indicates that this technology carries a 3-bit data signal, a -1, a 0, or a +1. It appears to be the case that PAM-3 can facilitate a doubling of the data rate without drawbacks associated with moving from non-return-to-zero (NRZ) binary encoding to PAM-4.

Last but not least, the Intel poster leak suggests that Thunderbolt 5 technology is working, with promising results, in the Intel labs. The "N6 test chip" section appears to hint at a TSMC manufacturing node for the PHY, but we can't be certain due to the missing parts of this sentence.

Intel DG2 releasing at CES 2022?

According to Twitter leaker HXL's sources, Intel is preparing to release its first DG2 graphics cards for PCs at the CES 2022 in January next year. Currently, Intel is sending out DG2 cards to partners as part of its qualification phase. We should hear more and see some official news / teasers ahead of CES 2022 to prepare us for what will be revealed. For further Xe-HPG and DG2 reading, please check out previous leaks like this one about the potential of Intel DG2 vs AMD and Nvidia.

HEXUS Forums :: 11 Comments

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Just having a random poster with insider information on the wall while doing a photo op walkaround, ok sure :P
While we are still waiting for USB 4 to enter mainstream. Some aspects of Intel that is far ahead.
Not really seeing the realities of TB4 yet. Lots of promise but no one seems to be delivering
Not really seeing the realities of TB4 yet. Lots of promise but no one seems to be delivering

TB4 is just TB3 with a more stringent validation procedure.

“What new communication standards have you got then?”
“Well, there's PAM for GDDR, PAM for PCIe, PAM for USB, PAM for SSDs, and SD cards hand delivered by lobster”

I like PAM3 more than the PAM3.5 in GDDR6X