What’s USB-C? An Explainer

 

 

 

With many new Mac and Windows laptops featuring the interface, it isclearthat the USB-Cconnector is here to stay. Here’s why that is a good thing. Get extra details about usb type c

 

What’sUSB-C?

USB-Cistheemerging industry-standard connector for transmitting data and power. TheUSB-CconnectorwasdevelopedbytheUSBImplementersForum,thegroupofcompaniesthat hasdeveloped,certified,andshepherdedtheUSBstandard.Itcountsmorethan700companiesinitsmembership,includingApple,Dell,HP,Intel,Microsoft,andSamsung.Thisisimportant,asit ispartof whyUSB-ChasbeenacceptedbyPCmanufacturers. Contrast this with the earlier Apple-promoted (and developed) LightningandMagSafeconnectors,whichhadlimitedacceptancebeyondAppleproducts,and,due toUSB-C, are soon to be completely obsolete.

 

IsItLikeMicro?

TheUSB-CconnectorlookssimilartoamicroUSBconnectoratfirstglance,thoughit is more oval-shaped and slightly thicker to accommodate its best feature: LikeMagSafe and Lightning,theUSB-Cconnectorhasnoupordownorientation.Lineuptheconnectorproperly,andyoudo nothavetoflipittoplugitin.Thecablesalsohavethesameconnectoronbothends,soyoudo not have to figure out which end goes where, which has not been the case with all the USB cables we havebeenusingforthepast20years.

 

USB-C and USB3.1

The default protocol together withthenewUSB-CconnectorisUSB3.1,which,at10Gbps,istheoreticallytwiceasfastasUSB3.0.But aside from on desk tops,it ismuchmorecommontoseeUSB3.1portswithUSB-Cconnectors.

 

USB 3.1 Gen 2 refers to data signaling rates at 10Gbps, double that of USB 3.0, and matching the speeds of single-channel Thunderbolt.

 

Thunderbolt3

Perhaps themostusefulprotocolUSB-CsupportsisThunderbolt3.Thisaddsmajornewfeatures,such aspowerconsumption,40Gbpsbandwidth,andtheabilitytoAUSB-CportwithThunderbolt3meansasinglecableisallyouneedtopowerandtransferasizableamountofinformation (uptoandincludingtwo60Hz4Kdisplays) toandfromevenacomplexdevicelikeacomputer,somethingmanylaptopmanufacturershavebeenquicktotakeadvantageof.Thetop-of-the-lineversionofApple’s2016MacBookProboastsfouroftheseconnectors,whichisasmanyaswe haveseen to date, and gives you more expandability potential than you everhad with earlier versions of USB.

 

AdaptersandCables

USB-C is electrically compatible with older USB 3.0 ports, and, as we discussed above, is completely compatible with USB 3.1 ports.Buton account of the new style of port,cables or adapterswith both of therequired plugsare indeedrequiredin the eventyou want to connect any thing that does nothave the USB-Cplug.Sometimes anewlaptopwillcomewiththese,inothercasesyoumighthavetopurchasethem separately. Apple,forexample,sellsa variety ofUSB cables and adapters for connecting to other technologiessuch asLightning ($25fora1-metercable) or Ethernet ($34.95foranadapter). You can also find a variety of these for PC as well in caseyoubrowseonlineretailers.Someevensupportolderormoreesotericprotocols,toensureadeviceyou’vefromyearsagowillworkonthe currenthardware: ItwaseasytofindUSB-Câ??toâ??DVIadapters,for instance,butwealsocameacrossonethatsplittotwoRS-232serialconnections.

 

Thegoodnews,though,isthatin the eventyouinvestinacouple ofnormalUSB-Ccables (theyrangeinpricefrom$10to$30),they’llworkwithanythingandallthatsupportsUSB-C.

 

DockingProcedures

HaveoneUSB-Cport? Don’tfret,astherearemultipleUSB-both from PC manufacturers like HP and Dell C docking solutions available,andthird-partyaccessorymakerslikeBelkin,Caldigit,andOWC. These docks can recharge your laptop, give you access to extra ports including Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, and VGA, and add support for multiple monitors.

 

DoYouNeedUSB-C?

Thepresence (orabsence) ofaUSB-CportisincreasinglybecomingaconsiderationwhenbuyingaPC.In caseyou buy an ultrathin system,likethenew MacBook Pro, the ZenBook 3, or the HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx,it’llalmost certainlyhaveaUSB-Cport,whichwillcatapultyouintotheecosystem. In the event thatyou aremore of a lover of desktops,you’realmostcertaintofindtheportsthere,too,particularlyonhigh-gaming and enddesktops.ButifsupportforUSB-CfromperipheralmanufacturersislightoverallatthemomentthatApple’s opened the floodgates,it isonlyamatteroftimeuntildevicesthatuseitare. Inseveral years, USB ports using the old Type-Astyle connector will probablybemuchhardertofindâ??and who’ll want to put up with their sluggish speeds at that point ,anyway?

 

Evenshould you notneedUSB-Cnowâ??and since even power users probably do nothavemuchhardwarethatcanfullytaskit,especiallyifThunderbolt3isinvolvedâ??youwillbeforelong.USB-C truly is one port to rule them all.

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