Intel executive leaks Thunderbolt 5 details

Intel has lots of people working for it, considering it's a massive corporation. Recently, an Intel executive named Gregory M Bryant traveled to Israel to meet with an Intel team located there. Bryant posted a series of seemingly benign photos in a tweet that initially had four photos attached. However, followers of the account quickly realized that one of the photos leaked some proprietary data on a new technology that Intel certainly didn't want in the wild just yet.

Bryant quickly edited the post to remove the offending photo, but it was captured and remains online. The photo that was removed from the tweet had some information about what is presumed to be Thunderbolt 5 technology. Data gleaned from the photograph included a poster on the wall that talked about "80G PHY Technology," indicating Intel is at work on a physical layer technology supporting 80 Gbps connections.

Current generation Thunderbolt 4 technology supports only 40 Gbps connectivity making the new tech twice as fast. The same photo showed that PHY is based on novel PAM-3 modulation technology. Reports indicate PAM-3 has to do with how the bits are transmitted in the data. Traditional NRZ encoding allows for a zero or one to be transmitted.

A faster form of that technology is called PAM-4, allowing two bits to be transferred, with the fourth being the demarcation of how many different variants of two bits could be seen. PAM-4 allows twice the bandwidth of NRZ. PAM-3 would allow the transmission of either a negative one, a zero, or a positive one allowing the transmission of a three-bit data signal. Essentially, PAM-3 would fall in the middle of the bandwidth of NRZ on the low-end and PAM-4 on high.

When or if this technology will come to the retail market is unknown at this time. Clearly, since Bryant deleted the photo quickly, that data is something Intel didn't intended to divulge at this time.