Intel Core 14th Gen desktop processors will not support Thunderbolt 5

Last week, Intel ceremoniously unveiled its 14th generation Core desktop processors, christened the Raptor Lake Refresh. The initial suite of six K/KF suffixed products, including the Core i9-14900K/KF, Core i7-14700K/KF, and Core i5-14600K/KF, are all unlocked variants, harmoniously compatible with the existing 600/700 series motherboards, and have subsequently been introduced to the market.

In Intel’s preliminary discourse, the 14th generation Core desktop processors were purported to not only support Thunderbolt 4 but also the imminent Thunderbolt 5 (Lightning 5), boasting a bidirectional bandwidth soaring up to 80 Gbps. However, Intel has since issued a revision, signifying the initial communication was errant. While certain models within the 14th generation family will embrace Thunderbolt 5, the 14th generation desktop processors are not among them. Intel assures further elucidations will soon ensue.

Truth be told, this revelation doesn’t register as particularly astonishing. Given that the foundational architecture of Raptor Lake Refresh mirrors its predecessor, with merely incremental enhancements for heightened performance, its non-compatibility with Thunderbolt 5 seems par for the course. Going by Intel’s delineation, this feature might be slated for mobile platform models.

Intel has proffered new Thunderbolt specifications to the USB-IF standards committee, ensuring compatibility with the USB4 v2.0 standards. However, the activation of all optional functionalities is requisite for Thunderbolt 5 accreditation. Thunderbolt 5 boasts a prodigious 80 Gbps bidirectional bandwidth and, leveraging the PAM3 signal encoding scheme can achieve an asymmetrical split of 120 Gbps upstream and 40 Gbps downstream, catering to the ever-expanding needs of content creators and gaming aficionados.

Furthermore, Thunderbolt 5 assiduously supports the newly announced DisplayPort 2.1 standards, accommodating up to two 6K or three 4K@144Hz displays, alongside an 8K HDR option. In addition, Thunderbolt 5 facilitates charging for laptops up to an impressive 240W.

Intel anticipates computers and accessories integrated with the Thunderbolt 5 controller (codenamed “Barlow Ridge”) to grace the market commencing in 2024.