Intel’s latest Thunderbolt innovation revolutionizes the way users interact with dual PCs, marking a significant shift in computing.

Dell UltraSharp 43 4K USB-C Hub monitor displaying screen and laptop.

Intel is finally utilizing its Thunderbolt platform to provide users with a direct link between two of their computers. Thunderbolt Share, a novel feature unveiled today via select Thunderbolt 4 and 5 PCs and peripherals, enables users to exchange files, share peripherals, and synchronize data between two distinct systems — all with a single cable.

There are several ways to configure this setup. Primarily, you can link two PCs and a lone monitor to a Thunderbolt dock, or pair two PCs through a Thunderbolt monitor. The standout feature of Thunderbolt Share is its daisy-chain arrangement. Users can connect two Thunderbolt PCs directly to each other and channel everything to the monitor.

Configurations for Thunderbolt Share.

Sharing peripherals and transferring files between multiple PCs is not overly complicated if you already possess a Thunderbolt dock or monitor. However, the ability to connect two PCs directly is truly remarkable.

It does require manual intervention. Thunderbolt Share functions as an application that links the two PCs, and Intel emphasizes that Thunderbolt compatibility is essential on both ends of the cable — standard USB-C will not suffice. Nevertheless, only one device necessitates Thunderbolt Share compatibility. With a Thunderbolt 5 or 4 port, it will function provided that at least one device in the chain supports Thunderbolt Share.

Subsequently, users can carry out only one task at a time. The application offers four choices:

  • Share peripherals across two computers
  • Drag and drop files between two computers
  • Synchronize files across two computers
  • Transfer data from an old computer to a new one

Presently, there are diverse methods available to accomplish these tasks, some of which are more convenient — such as a KVM switch for your monitor. Thunderbolt Share distinguishes itself by consolidating all these functions into one location with a single cable. Furthermore, it utilizes a cable, eliminating concerns about security when transferring files over a network while leveraging the complete speed and bandwidth of Thunderbolt.

Intel's Thunderbolt Share features.

However, there are discernible drawbacks to Thunderbolt Share at this stage. Firstly, it is compatible only with PCs, which is not surprising. The significant issue is screen sharing.

When sharing peripherals, Thunderbolt Share displays one of the PCs’ screens on the primary monitor. This content appears in a window and is limited to 1080p at a maximum of 60 frames per second. Even in a professional setting, this resolution is relatively low compared to modern monitors that offer higher resolutions and refresh rates, even if they are not utilized for gaming.

Despite these challenges, it is evident that this is just the initial version of Thunderbolt Share, and the feature is likely to evolve with the release of new Thunderbolt iterations. To access this feature, a compatible accessory is required. Intel mentions that companies like MSI, Lenovo, Razer, Acer, Belkin, and Kensington will offer PCs and peripherals supporting Thunderbolt Share this year.

Evan Brooks

Hey there! I'm Evan Brooks, a tech journalist based in New York City. With a knack for distilling complex industry jargon into engaging narratives, I've… More »

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