Intel 15th-gen Core 'Arrow Lake' might support 120 Gbps Thunderbolt 5 and 20 PCIe 5.0...

Daniel Sims

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Forward-looking: Intel has yet to reveal the full details of its 15th-generation Arrow Lake desktop CPUs. However, it's reasonable to predict that they will add support for the company's new Thunderbolt 5 interface which combines USB4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 standards. Recently leaked documents suggest that the new Thunderbolt will make its desktop debut through Arrow Lake and could include enough bandwidth to fully utilize PCIe 5.0 components.

Internal Intel documents, referenced in a now-deleted tweet from leaker @yuuki_ans, indicate that Arrow Lake – the company's next-gen desktop processors – will support Thunderbolt 5. This development could position Arrow Lake desktops as the first to enable 120 Gbps data transfer speeds under specific scenarios.

Last September, Intel said that developers could start working with Thunderbolt 5 sometime this year. The interface doubles the maximum bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4, offering 80 Gbps bidirectional connections. However, on some devices, it can transmit data at 120 Gbps while receiving at 40 Gbps. Thunderbolt 5 also supports 240W charging, dual 4K 144Hz signals, multiple 8K signals, up to three DisplayPort 2.0 streams, and a theoretical maximum refresh rate of 540Hz at lower resolutions.

A few companies showcased docks supporting Thunderbolt 5 earlier this month. However, the timeline for its appearance on desktops remains unclear. Intel expects it to first gain popularity with gamers and content creators using it for external GPUs, then with workstations. Meanwhile, @yuuki_ans predicts that adoption could ramp up starting from 2026.

The leaked documents, archived by Tom's Hardware before deletion, explicitly mention Thunderbolt 5's Barlow Ridge controller in a diagram outlining Arrow Lake. This is the first official reference to Thunderbolt 5 in desktop systems.

Another noteworthy detail revealed in the documents is that Arrow Lake will feature up to 20 PCIe 5.0 lanes. Intel's current Raptor Lake processors support only 16, which is insufficient for fully utilizing a PCIe 5.0 graphics card and a PCIe 5.0 SSD simultaneously, as this forces the two components to share bandwidth. The additional lanes could lead to enhanced performance in recent high-end SSDs.

Further leaked information from @yuuki_ans suggests that Arrow Lake might abandon Hyper-Threading, a staple of PC processors for about two decades. While high-end gaming performance likely wouldn't suffer, this change could impact other processes that heavily rely on multiple threads. The 15th-gen Intel CPUs might also support DDR5-6400 memory.

Arrow Lake CPUs are expected to launch in the second half of 2024 using the Intel 20A (2nm) process node.

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I just don’t believe that most people can fully utilize a PCIe 5.0 SSD, so I don’t see the point of offering it on mainstream products, other than to have a larger number for marketing.
 
I just don’t believe that most people can fully utilize a PCIe 5.0 SSD, so I don’t see the point of offering it on mainstream products, other than to have a larger number for marketing.
Most SSDs are full of **** anyway. The majority of NVME drives don't perform any better than a SATA SSD. You have to spend real money to get real performance with most real world performance from a sata SDD being perfectly fine.
 
20 PCIe lanes is pathetic. AM5 supports 24 so Intel stays behind as usual.

Most SSDs are full of **** anyway. The majority of NVME drives don't perform any better than a SATA SSD. You have to spend real money to get real performance with most real world performance from a sata SDD being perfectly fine.

It's about perspective. If DDR5 RAMdisk is fast, then NVMe drive is slow and SATA SSD is molasses.

For me, DDR5 RAMDisk is too slow. Anyone that says SATA SSD is "fast enough" have no clue how to use fast drives.
 
20 PCIe lanes is pathetic. AM5 supports 24 so Intel stays behind as usual.



It's about perspective. If DDR5 RAMdisk is fast, then NVMe drive is slow and SATA SSD is molasses.

For me, DDR5 RAMDisk is too slow. Anyone that says SATA SSD is "fast enough" have no clue how to use fast drives.
When it comes to IOPS, no, NVME isnt significantly faster. And IOPS is what matters 99% of the time to end users.
Maybe not for a single NVME drive, but it does help when you have multiple and you have to split lanes.
The same effect can be had from the same number of SATA. Unless all you do is bulk data transfer of huge files, NVMe offers little advantage to the end user.
 
When it comes to IOPS, no, NVME isnt significantly faster. And IOPS is what matters 99% of the time to end users.
The same effect can be had from the same number of SATA. Unless all you do is bulk data transfer of huge files, NVMe offers little advantage to the end user.
Neah, just moving a few tens of GB of data from one drive to another is enough for me to notice.

In games it is much harder to notice a difference because of how many factors affect loading times.

As for the random 4K IOPS, the difference can be as high as 10x if you are looking at just that (Samsung 980 Pro lists 1mil IOPS, the 870 Evo under 100k). This difference can be felt a lot in my work since I sometimes move entire websites from one drive to another (local development servers) which can have 20k-100k small files.
 
20 PCIe lanes is pathetic. AM5 supports 24 so Intel stays behind as usual.



It's about perspective. If DDR5 RAMdisk is fast, then NVMe drive is slow and SATA SSD is molasses.

For me, DDR5 RAMDisk is too slow. Anyone that says SATA SSD is "fast enough" have no clue how to use fast drives.
I'm not saying there is no difference, I'm saying that most NVME drives are full of **** and if you want better than SATA performance then you have to spend real money on a real drive.

NVME drives are one category where you get what you pay for. Most people, when buying a drive, want the lowest cost per Gigabyte. It's been my observation that, cost being equal, most people prefer capacity over speed and just see "NVME" and think it's fine. People need to be mindful of this. I'm just trying to tell people about this because you can save a bunch of money by going SATA rather than getting a budget NVME drive and expecting those "5000MB/sec" numbers to be real. 600-800MB/sec of real world performance is fine for most people. If you think of mechanical storage, we've been stuck at 180-200MB/S for almost 2 decades.
 
I'm not saying there is no difference, I'm saying that most NVME drives are full of **** and if you want better than SATA performance then you have to spend real money on a real drive.

NVME drives are one category where you get what you pay for. Most people, when buying a drive, want the lowest cost per Gigabyte. It's been my observation that, cost being equal, most people prefer capacity over speed and just see "NVME" and think it's fine. People need to be mindful of this. I'm just trying to tell people about this because you can save a bunch of money by going SATA rather than getting a budget NVME drive and expecting those "5000MB/sec" numbers to be real. 600-800MB/sec of real world performance is fine for most people. If you think of mechanical storage, we've been stuck at 180-200MB/S for almost 2 decades.


That's the crucial point: real world performance. Just check any benchmark and with very few exceptions PCI-E 5.0 ssd's are barely any better than a SATA 6 ssd. Unless you are doing massive sequential file transfer all day for a living PCI-E 5.0 is a joke IMO and we've reached peak stupidity with the heatsinks and need for cooling. Give me a SATA6 ssd with 8TB TLC, 500GB cache over a 14000MB/s PCI-E 5 NVME drive anyday. Also PCI-E has barely improved random performance and the biggest farce is they quote random iops far better than Optane and still get thrashed senseless in testing. So let's summarise PCI-E 5 ssd: Higher prices, more heat, need for heatsink, no tangible real world improvements in performance, low capacity, high power consumption.

Where do I sign up!
 
I'm not saying there is no difference, I'm saying that most NVME drives are full of **** and if you want better than SATA performance then you have to spend real money on a real drive.

NVME drives are one category where you get what you pay for. Most people, when buying a drive, want the lowest cost per Gigabyte. It's been my observation that, cost being equal, most people prefer capacity over speed and just see "NVME" and think it's fine. People need to be mindful of this. I'm just trying to tell people about this because you can save a bunch of money by going SATA rather than getting a budget NVME drive and expecting those "5000MB/sec" numbers to be real. 600-800MB/sec of real world performance is fine for most people. If you think of mechanical storage, we've been stuck at 180-200MB/S for almost 2 decades.
Partially agreed. NAND flash is not suitable for SSD drives for real life usage. Intel 3DXpoint aka Optane was much better but since NAND flash is cheap, it's everywhere.

However NVMe drives are still much faster than SATA drives and problem here is: storage is still slowest component on modern PC and you can never have too much storage speed. So while NVMe drives Should be faster, they are still fastest realistic storage option for many.

That's the crucial point: real world performance. Just check any benchmark and with very few exceptions PCI-E 5.0 ssd's are barely any better than a SATA 6 ssd. Unless you are doing massive sequential file transfer all day for a living PCI-E 5.0 is a joke IMO and we've reached peak stupidity with the heatsinks and need for cooling. Give me a SATA6 ssd with 8TB TLC, 500GB cache over a 14000MB/s PCI-E 5 NVME drive anyday. Also PCI-E has barely improved random performance and the biggest farce is they quote random iops far better than Optane and still get thrashed senseless in testing. So let's summarise PCI-E 5 ssd: Higher prices, more heat, need for heatsink, no tangible real world improvements in performance, low capacity, high power consumption.

Where do I sign up!
Benchmarks, ah. If you look at benchmarks, Intel CPUs with Crap cores seem to be fast but if you try them IRL, they simply suck.

SATA drives are just much slower than NVMe ones and I can spot difference in less than a second. And while you say problem is NVMe vs SATA, problem is NAND flash that is around because it's cheap, not because it's fast. There is little interface (NVMe vs SATA) can do when problem lies elsewhere. I have NVMe and SATA drives on my system and difference is huge.

Still, NVMe based NAND flash drives are only affordable option right now and sometimes you have to pick best from worst options.
 
Partially agreed. NAND flash is not suitable for SSD drives for real life usage. Intel 3DXpoint aka Optane was much better but since NAND flash is cheap, it's everywhere.

However NVMe drives are still much faster than SATA drives and problem here is: storage is still slowest component on modern PC and you can never have too much storage speed. So while NVMe drives Should be faster, they are still fastest realistic storage option for many.


Benchmarks, ah. If you look at benchmarks, Intel CPUs with Crap cores seem to be fast but if you try them IRL, they simply suck.

SATA drives are just much slower than NVMe ones and I can spot difference in less than a second. And while you say problem is NVMe vs SATA, problem is NAND flash that is around because it's cheap, not because it's fast. There is little interface (NVMe vs SATA) can do when problem lies elsewhere. I have NVMe and SATA drives on my system and difference is huge.

Still, NVMe based NAND flash drives are only affordable option right now and sometimes you have to pick best from worst options.


LOL I said real world benchmarks not synthetic BS. But hey knock yourself out.
 
LOL I said real world benchmarks not synthetic BS. But hey knock yourself out.

You said real world. Then you said benchmark on different sentence.

Also wtf are those "real world benchmarks" you are talking about that show no difference? I just made one: Copy 30GB large files on RAMdisk. Guess what? NVMe was around 10 times faster than SATA. No difference for sure. Worth it even once a day. I could next do same with smaller files if that "sequential large files all day" is not OK.
 
LOL I said real world benchmarks not synthetic BS. But hey knock yourself out.

And while "real world" amateur benchmarks probably show no difference, I can tell that DRAMless QLC SATA SSDs are far more vulnerable to freeze whole system than DRAM equipped TLC SATA SSDs. NVMe DRAM TLC drives are mostly immune for those. Everyone that has some experience know exactly what I'm talking about.

Also while benchmarks probably show no difference having OS and programs on different disks, in real life difference is noticeable. You see, on benchmarks all runs that show "clearly wrong" results are discarded. However on IRL you cannot ignore those, withpout time machine.
 
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