We know that Thunderbolt’s next major iteration, Thunderbolt 5, will debut sometime in 2024. Two vendors, J5create and Hyper, debuted their first hardware at CES 2024. But there are two big questions: When will you actually get it and how much will it cost you?
The answer? It’s unclear. J5 and Hyper representatives received their prototype hardware on Sunday. There is hope that J5’s product will ship in March.
Thunderbolt is a more powerful I/O alternative to the USB-C connection. The 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3/4 connection allows for multiple high-speed displays via a Thunderbolt dock. Thunderbolt 5 doubles that throughput to 80Gbps and offers a one-way connection that can hit 120Gpbs.
Thunderbolt 5 enables customers to add one or more high-speed displays to their laptop. Thunderbolt 4 allowed you to connect two 4K displays, at 60Hz. Thunderbolt 5 increases that to support three 4K displays, at 144Hz each.
Intel has said previously that Thunderbolt 5 will be supported in its 2024 product lineup, and it will be available in the form of a discrete chip for laptop OEMs.
The first Thunderbolt 5 docks were revealed at the CES Unveiled show on Sunday night. J5create showed off the Thunderbolt 5 Dual 8K60 Display Dock, priced at $499, and Hyper revealed the Hyper TB5 Dock, which will be sold for $399.
J5’s device appears to be designed for the Mac market for Thunderbolt displays as well as the emerging USB-C/Thunderbolt monitor market for Windows devices. It features two Thunderbolt 5 ports on the front, a microSD/SD card slot, a mic/speaker jack, and a 10Gbps USB-A port. The Hyper TB5 Dock also comes with a microSD card and SD card slot, alongside two upstream Thunderbolt 5 ports. Both docks have a small foldout port for an M.2 SSD card, making them Thunderbolt dock enclosures.
Bernie Thompson, the chief technical officer of Plugable Technologies, expects Thunderbolt 5 hardware to be available “towards the end of the year.” Plugable launched the TBT4-UD5 Monday at CES 2024, which could be one of the company’s last Thunderbolt 4 docks.