If you've purchased a new high-end PC this year, there's a good chance that it has a Thunderbolt 3 port. The new MacBook Pro has four of them, and HP's Spectre x360 has two. In fact, Intel says that over 120 PCs are using the technology.
Designed by Intel to be a sort of one cable for everything, it can handle bandwidth of up to 40Gbps (5GBps). This means that a single port can power two 4K monitors at a time, or one 5K monitor. It supports a number of standards, including PCIe 3.0, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort 1.2.
But Intel announced today that it's taking steps to further adoption of the technology. Moving forward, the company will be integrating Thunderbolt 3 into its future chips, saying "all the ports on a computer can be the same – any port can charge the system and connect to Thunderbolt devices, every display and billions of USB devices." The firm says that by removing the discrete component that's necessary for Thunderbolt 3, less board space and power will be necessary.
It's also going to release the Thunderbolt protocol spec under a "nonexclusive, royalty-free license." This means that competitors, such as AMD, will likely be more encouraged to build Thunderbolt-compatible processors.
Intel says that while Microsoft has "enhanced Thunderbolt 3 device plug-and-play support in the now available Windows 10 Creators Update", the two companies will continue to work together to better the experience.