What’s USB-C? An Explainer

 

 

 

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

 

What’sUSB-C?

USB-Cistheemerging industry-standard connector for transmitting both power and data. TheUSB-CconnectorwasdesignedbytheUSBImplementersForum,thegroupofcompaniesthat hasdeveloped,certified,andshepherdedtheUSBstandard.Itcountsmorethan700companiesinitsmembership,includingApple,Dell,HP,Intel,Microsoft,andSamsung.Thisisimportant,sinceit’spartof whyUSB-PCmanufacturershaveso readilyacceptedC. Contrast this with the earlier Apple-promoted (and developed) LightningandMagSafeconnectors,whichhadlimitedacceptancebeyondAppleproducts,and,because ofUSB-C, are soon to be completely obsolete.

 

IsItLikeMicro USB?

TheUSB-CconnectorlookssimilartoamicroUSBconnectoratfirstglance,thoughit is more oval-shaped and slightly thicker to accommodate its best feature: LikeLightning and MagSafe,theUSB-Cconnectorhasnoupordownorientation.

 

USB-USB and C3.1

The default protocol withthenewUSB-CconnectorisUSB3.1,which,at10Gbps,istheoreticallytwiceasfastasUSB3.0. The minor wrinkle is that USB 3.1 ports can also exist in the original, larger shape; these ports are called USB 3.1 Type-A.But aside from on desk tops,it ismuchmorecommontoseeUSB3.1portswithUSB-Cconnectors.

 

So when you seen USB 3.1 Gen 1, it basically works at the same 5Gbps speeds as USB 3.0. 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

ThemostusefulprotocolUSB-CsupportsisThunderbolt3.Thisaddsmajornewfeatures,such as40Gbpsbandwidth,reducedpowerconsumption,andtheabilityto

 

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,adapters or cableswith both of theplugs that were requiredarerequiredshouldyou want to connect any thing that doesn’thave the USB-Cplug.Sometimes anewlaptopwillcomewiththese,inothercasesyoumighthavetopurchasethem. Apple,forexample,sellsa number ofUSB cables and adapters for connecting to other technologiesfor exampleLightning ($25fora1-metercable) or Ethernet ($34.95foranadapter). You can also find a variety of these for PC as well shouldyoubrowseonlineretailers.Someevensupportolderormoreesotericprotocols,toensureadeviceyou havefromyearsagowillworkonthe currenthardware: ItwaseasytolocateUSB-Câ??toâ??DVIadapters,by way of example,butwealsocameacrossonethatsplittotwoRS-232serialconnections.

 

Thegoodnews,though,isthatshouldyouinvestinafewnormalUSB-Ccables (theyrangeinpricefrom$10to$30),they’llworkwithanythingandallthatsupportsUSB-C.That’sabigstepupfromthesituationoftherecentpast,wherepullingaminiUSBcablefrom yourbagtochargeyourmicroUSBâ??equippedphonewasalmostasuselessasgrabbingaNokiaPop-PortorSonyEricssoncharger.

 

DockingProcedures

HaveoneUSB-Cport? Do notfret,asthereare nowmultipleUSB-C docking solutions available, both from PC manufacturers like HP and Dell,andthird-partyaccessorymakerslikeBelkin,Caldigit,andOWC.

 

DoYouNeedUSB-C?

Thepresence (orabsence) ofaUSB-CportisincreasinglybecomingaconsiderationwhenbuyingaPC.In the event thatyou buy an ultrathin system,such astheZenBook 3, the new MacBook Pro, or the HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx,it’llhaveaUSB-Cport,whichwillcatapultyouintotheecosystem automatically. In the event thatyou aremore of a lover of desktops,you arealmostcertaintofindtheportsthere,too,particularlyonhigh-gaming and enddesktops.ButifsupportforUSB-Cfromperipheralmanufacturersislightoverallatthemomentthatthe floodgates were opened by Apple’s,it’sonlyamatteroftimeuntildevicesthatuseitare. Inseveral years, USB ports using the old Type-Astyle connector will likelybemuchhardertofindâ??and who will 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.We areonlyscratchingthesurfaceofwhatUSB-Ccando,butonethingiscertain: Thenextgenerationofcross-platformconnectorsishere,plusit’sabouttoreplacetheoldguardjustastheoriginalUSBstandardreplacedAppleDesktopBus (ADB),FireWire,parallel,PS/2,SCSI,andserialportsonMacsandPCs.USB-C is one port to rule all of them.

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