What is USB Type C ? August 04, 2015 15:56

Q: What does USB stand for?

A: Universal Serial Bus.


Q: Will USB-C be backwards compatible?

A: Yes, it will be backwards compatible with older USB devices. However, transfer speeds will be limited to that of the older device.


Q: What connectors will USB-C use?

A: USB 3.1 features are supported by USB-C connectors, and USB 3.1 is backwards compatible with other connectors like Micro USB, A and B.


Q: What’s the difference between Type-A and Type-C?

A: Type-A is one of the current connector types and will primarily be used as a platform for legacy devices while Type-C is the new standard moving forward. Additionally, Type-A and Type-C connectors are different shapes, so they will not work with one another.


Q: Why should I care about USB-C?

A: It’s a new all-in-one solution for power, video, and data delivery using a single cable. Instead of having a backpack full of multiple cable types, you can have one type for all uses and USB-C is the only connector currently available to support the full functions of USB 3.1.


Q: What kinds of devices will use the USB-C and USB 3.1 technology?

A: All standard expansion devices (tablets, laptops, mobile devices and accessories, A/V adapters, HDD enclosures, expansion cards, monitors, motherboards, etc.). Essentially, everything with a current Type-A and/or Type-B connector will eventually transition to Type-C.


Q: Are there devices on the market that incorporate this technology?

A: At the moment, ASUS is working on bringing USB-C technology to its products (motherboards, expansion cards, etc). Additionally, MSI is working on bringing it to their laptop, as well as Chromebooks from Google, ASUS, MSI, and Samsung.


Q: When will this technology be fully integrated into all new products?

A: USB 2.0 took a decade to fully transition. USB 3.0 took 4 years to fully transition and is just now reaching price parity with USB 2.0. USB-C will take an estimated 3 years to become fully adopted (2017).


Q: Was Type-C created to minimize breakages?

A: No, it was created to be a universal platform that’s easy to usewith a reversible design and the ability to use just one cable type for all your devices and functions.


Q: What problems does USB-C solve?

A: The faster data transfer speeds unlock the power of the VESA DisplayPort standard, which allows for delivery of full 4K Ultra HD video, and the ability to deliver 100 watts of power allows for quicker charging of mobile devices and laptops, as well as eliminating the need for separate AC adapters, power bricks, or different cable types. Additionally, the fully reversible design means that there is no right or wrong way to plug the cable into a device. So, no matter which end you grab or which side of the connector is "up", it plugs in the first time, every time.
In short: Easier to use. Less clutter. No more power bricks


Q: How much faster is USB-C compared to previous generations of USB, to SATA, and to Thunderbolt™?

A: USB 3.1 Type-C delivers a 10Gbps data transfer rate. This makes it more than 20 times faster than USB 2.0 and twice as fast as USB 3.0. It is also faster than the 6.0Gbps rate of the SATA III standard, allowing external hard drives to exceed the current speed of internal drives! The 10Gbps speed is the same as that of Thunderbolt, but it is half the speed of the 20Gbps offered by Thunderbolt 2. However, the cost of USB-C is about a quarter of that of Thunderbolt 2, giving it a lower cost/performance ratio, making it well suited for consumer applications.


Q: What does the letter C refer to in Type-C? What Types are used by my other devices (e.g., computer, printer, phone, etc.)?

A: The C refers to the connector style. Type-A connectors are the traditional rectangular plugs that we're all familiar with. Type-B is an older device-side connector, which is often used by printers, scanners, etc. Older mobile devices use the Mini Type-B connector, while most newer devices use the Micro Type-B connector.


Q: What is daisy chaining?

A: Daisy chaining is a wiring scheme in which a chain of three or more devices are connected in series. For example, if you plug an external hard drive into your computer, then plug another external hard drive into that drive rather than directly to the computer, you have created a daisy chain.


Q: What are some key features and benefits of USB-C?

A: The ability to use a single cable for data transfers, to deliver video to a display, and power delivery are the key features of USB 3.1 Type-C. This allows it to be used to daisy chain multiple devices together, in much the same way as Intel's Thunderbolt interface is used in Apple products. However, it delivers this functionality at about a quarter of the cost of Thunderbolt, making it a much more suitable solution for consumer use.


Q: Can a reversible USB-C cable replace HDMI® and DisplayPort cables?

A:Yes. However, it will be a gradual transition and will take several years before USB-C fully replaces HDMI and DisplayPort.


Q: Will I need to purchase all new cables?

A: Not necessarily. USB 3.1 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and during the transition period most devices will include both Type-C and legacy Type-A connections, so you're still be able to use your current cables. Adapters are available now, which allow you to plug your legacy devices into a Type-C port, and hybrid cables with a Type-A connector on one end and Type-C on the other are also available, so as devices transition to offering only Type-C ports, you'll still be able to use your old cables.