What's USB-C? An Explainer
With many new Mac and Windows laptops featuring the interface, it'sclearthe USB-Cconnector is here to stay. Here's why that's a good thing. Get extra details about usb type c
USB-Cistheemerging industry-standard connector for transmitting power and data. TheUSB-CconnectorwasdesignedbytheUSBImplementersForum,thegroupofcompaniesthat hasdeveloped,certified,andshepherdedtheUSBstandard.Itcountsmorethan700companiesinitsmembership,includingApple,Dell,HP,Intel,Microsoft,andSamsung.Thisisimportant,sinceit'spartofUSB-PCmanufacturershavereadilyacceptedC. Contrast this with the earlier Apple-promoted (and developed) LightningandMagSafeconnectors,whichhadlimitedacceptancebeyondAppleproducts,and,because ofUSB-C, are soon to be completely obsolete.
TheUSB-CconnectorlookssimilartoamicroUSBconnectoratfirstglance,thoughit's more oval-shaped and slightly thicker to accommodate its best feature: LikeMagSafe and Lightning,theUSB-Cconnectorhasnoupordownorientation.Lineuptheconnectorproperly,andalso youdon'thavetoflipittoplugitin.Thecablesalsohavethesameconnectoronbothends,soyoudon't 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 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'smuchmorecommontoseeUSB3.1portswithUSB-Cconnectors.
So when you seen USB 3.1 Gen 1, it basically works at the same 5Gbps speeds as USB 3.0.
ThemostusefulprotocolUSB-CsupportsisThunderbolt3.Thisaddsmajornewfeatures,including40Gbpsbandwidth,reducedpowerconsumption,andtheabilitytoThetop-of-the-lineversionofApple's2016MacBookProboastsfouroftheseconnectors,whichisasmanyaswe'veseen to date, and gives you more expandability potential than you everhad with earlier versions of USB.
USB-C is electrically compatible with older USB 3.0 ports, and, as we discussed above, is completely compatible with USB 3.1 ports.Butdue to the new style of port,cables or adapterswith both of theplugs that were requiredare indeedrequiredifyou want to connect any thing that doesn'thave the USB-Cplug.Sometimes anewlaptopwillcomewiththese,inothercasesyoumighthavetopurchasethem. Apple,forexample,sellsvariousUSB 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'vefromyearsagowillworkontoday'shardware: ItwaseasytofindUSB-Câ??toâ??DVIadapters,for example,butwealsocameacrossonethatsplittotwoRS-232serialconnections.
Thegoodnews,though,isthatshouldyouinvestinacouple ofnormalUSB-Ccables (theyrangeinpricefrom$10to$30),they'llworkwithanythingandeverythingthatsupportsUSB-C.
Have onlyoneUSB-Cport? Do notfret,astherearemultipleUSB-C docking solutions available, both from PC manufacturers like HP and Dell,andthird-partyaccessorymakerslikeBelkin,Caldigit,andOWC.
Thepresence (orabsence) ofaUSB-CportisincreasinglybecomingaconsiderationwhenbuyingaPC.In the event thatyou buy an ultrathin system,likethenew MacBook Pro, the ZenBook 3, or the HP Spectre x360 13-w023dx,it'llhaveaUSB-Cport,whichwillcatapultyouintotheecosystem automatically. In the eventyou aremore of a lover of desktops,you'realmostcertaintofindtheportsthere,too,particularlyonhigh-gaming and enddesktops.ButifsupportforUSB-Cfromperipheralmanufacturersislightoverallatthemomentthatthe floodgates were opened by Apple's,it isonlyamatteroftimeuntildevicesthatuseitare. Ina couple of years, USB ports using the old Type-Astyle connector will likelybemuchhardertofindâ??and who'll want to put up with their sluggish speeds at that point ,anyway?
Evenif you don'tneedUSB-Cnowâ??and since even power users probably don'thavemuchhardwarethatcanfullytaskit,especiallyifThunderbolt3isinvolvedâ??youwillbeforelong.USB-C truly is one port to rule all of them.