Upcoming USB-C standard more than doubles power delivery to 240W

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2021
The USB Implementers Forum in an update regarding revision 2.1 of its USB-C specification said the forthcoming protocol will be capable of accommodating power output of 240 watts.

USB-C


Announced in an update posted to the USB-IF website, the new USB-C 2.1 specification release offers a deep dive into the coming protocol, including hardware requirements, restrictions and interoperability with other technologies.

As noted by CNET, version 2.1 of the standard will introduce a 240-watt option called Extended Power Range. Currently, USB-C version 2.0 tops out at 100W.

The increased power headroom will allow for a wider range of peripherals including large 4K monitors, gaming laptops, printers and more.

According to the USB-IF document, special markings will be required for cables that support EPR. The distinction will be important as the high-power USB-C spec proliferates through the personal computing and smartphone industries.

Initially designed to streamline data transfer, the USB protocol has morphed into a ubiquitous standard that spans system communications to, more recently, dedicated power delivery. Smartphones are the latest to turn to USB, as the thin, reversible USB-C connector and port enables relatively high transfer speeds, fast charging, and non-proprietary cables.

Apple, notorious for using its own connector standards, has been more open to adopting the latest USB flavors in its most recent hardware revisions. For example, iPad Pro moved to USB-C in 2018, while the company's initial batch of M1 Macs were the first to integrate USB 4.

While other smartphone manufacturers are migrating to the latest USB specification, Apple is not expected to make the leap anytime soon, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Beyond wider market pressures, Kuo sees potential technical issues related to waterproofing and notes Apple's Made for iPhone program could be impacted by a switch.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 26
    j2fusionj2fusion Posts: 151member
    If it maintains the 20V specification then it would have to push 12 amps through the cable. That would require something like 14 gage wire to carry that kind of current. That means thick heavy cable unless they push the voltage up to 48 volts to keep the current 5 amp draw. I followed the link to the USB-IF and couldn’t find any details. 
    dysamoriaapplguytwokatmewroundaboutnowFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 26
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,007member
    That's seriously impressive power.  While I know that charging MacBooks comes close to that 100w limit on USBc, are there any peripherals currently that use that much power over USBc?

    I'm curious what the transfer speed will be with USB5?  Will it use a faster version of the Thunderbolt interface?
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 3 of 26
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,919member
    What modern computers need that much power?
  • Reply 4 of 26
    At what point can we charge our cars using USB-C? :D
    baconstangbikerdudetwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 26
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,518member
    mcdave said:
    What modern computers need that much power?
    Gaming PCs and 3D workstations with GPUs that draw a ton of power.  But the question is, when space and portability aren't a concern, what advantage does using USB-C give over a standard PSU?  I guess maybe for servers it could be beneficial to save space.
    edited May 2021 baconstangtwokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 26
    M68000M68000 Posts: 512member
    Not sure I’m liking it.  Right now, at my company, many of the Dell and Lenovo power packs for late model laptops get amazingly hot to the touch - sometimes scary hot.  I have said to people I that I would not recommend putting them on carpet at home.  I have to think this is poorly engineered mass produced stuff.  As if that were not enough,  perhaps more troubling is several Dell laptops seen with bulging batteries that pop up the laptop keyboard\trackpad !!    
    twokatmewwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 26
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    Am I the only one who has a sense that this might be taking things too far? Why would this be a good idea? I’m sincerely asking.
    baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamtwokatmewviclauyyc
  • Reply 8 of 26
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    j2fusion said:
    If it maintains the 20V specification then it would have to push 12 amps through the cable. That would require something like 14 gage wire to carry that kind of current. That means thick heavy cable unless they push the voltage up to 48 volts to keep the current 5 amp draw. I followed the link to the USB-IF and couldn’t find any details. 
    14 gauge wire is 1.6 mm in diameter.  Far from "thick heavy cable."
    twokatmew
  • Reply 9 of 26
    flydogflydog Posts: 1,094member
    mcdave said:
    What modern computers need that much power?
    Gaming laptops typically use a 165- to 280-watt brick. 
  • Reply 10 of 26
    dempsondempson Posts: 62member
    mcdave said:
    What modern computers need that much power?
    The new 24-inch iMac has a 143W power adapter, which needs to cover the requirements of the computer and display, plus a moderate amount of power delivery to peripherals via up to four USB-C ports.

    The iMac's power adapter might be using a draft version of the USB Power Delivery 3.1 standard (with a proprietary connector) since Apple is one of many companies involved in USB standardisation. If so, at maximum output it would be producing nearly 4A at 36V. In normal operation of the iMac, power output should be much lower: the iFixit teardown suggests 60W is typical (which would be 3A at 20V for USB Power Delivery).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 26
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,179member
    We need a new version of USB every 3 months, since it obviously doesn't have all the features we need.
    dysamoriaviclauyyc
  • Reply 12 of 26
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,259member
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one who has a sense that this might be taking things too far? Why would this be a good idea? I’m sincerely asking.
    Magnets - how do they work? Are we taking things too far? I’m just asking questions!
    fastasleep
  • Reply 13 of 26
    citpekscitpeks Posts: 193member
    j2fusion said:
    If it maintains the 20V specification then it would have to push 12 amps through the cable. That would require something like 14 gage wire to carry that kind of current. That means thick heavy cable unless they push the voltage up to 48 volts to keep the current 5 amp draw. I followed the link to the USB-IF and couldn’t find any details. 

    Apparently, it will be 48 volts, so it should be manageable.  FireWire came close, at 40 volts.

    However, the fun will be if this adds yet more cable types to the roster, and if there will be 60W, 100W, and 240W cables.

    USB-C may have been the One Connector To Rule Them All, but all that has done is shift the complexity to the cables.
    twokatmewdysamoriaroundaboutnowFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 26
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 806member
    sflocal said:
    That's seriously impressive power.  While I know that charging MacBooks comes close to that 100w limit on USBc, are there any peripherals currently that use that much power over USBc?

    I'm curious what the transfer speed will be with USB5?  Will it use a faster version of the Thunderbolt interface?
    My 2019 16" MacBook Pro, Core i9, connected to Apple supplied 96W adapter is not enough sometimes.  When the processor and/or GPU are under heavy load, and the fans are blasting, it draws > 110W (show via iStat Menus), and the battery starts draining.  This has occurred during gaming. & when running 6 x Windows VMs (Microsoft AD environment/simulation).

    Apple does not throttle the machine when power draw exceeds the AC adapter.  Most non-Apple systems slow down the machine to keep the power draw with the ability of the adapter.
    dysamoriaviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 26
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 806member
    mcdave said:
    What modern computers need that much power?
    My 2019 16" MacBook Pro, Core i9, connected to Apple supplied 96W adapter is not enough sometimes.  When the processor and/or GPU are under heavy load, and the fans are blasting, it draws > 110W (show via iStat Menus), and the battery starts draining.  This has occurred during gaming. & when running 6 x Windows VMs (Microsoft AD environment/simulation).

    Apple does not throttle the machine when power draw exceeds the AC adapter.  Most non-Apple systems slow down the machine to keep the power draw with the ability of the adapter.
  • Reply 16 of 26
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    dysamoria said:
    Am I the only one who has a sense that this might be taking things too far? Why would this be a good idea? I’m sincerely asking.
    Magnets - how do they work? Are we taking things too far? I’m just asking questions!
    Or, you know, you could actually offer a sincere response. But hey, that would be useful.
    muthuk_vanalingamFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 18 of 26
    dempsondempson Posts: 62member
    The USB-IF document referenced by the article is only the cable specification. The USB Power Delivery 3.1 specification was published yesterday and goes into more detail on the mechanisms.

    In brief (from a quick read): a new extended power range is used for >100W to 240W. It supports fixed voltage supplies able to operate at 28V, 36V or 48V as well as adjustable voltage supplies up to those limits. In all cases, maximum current is 5A so the higher fixed voltage options go up to 140W, 180W and 240W respectively. There is an additional negotiation phase (between source, sink and cable) before stepping up from standard to extended power range.
    roundaboutnowFileMakerFellerviclauyycmuthuk_vanalingamfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 26
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,266member
    sflocal said:
    That's seriously impressive power.  While I know that charging MacBooks comes close to that 100w limit on USBc, are there any peripherals currently that use that much power over USBc?

    I'm curious what the transfer speed will be with USB5?  Will it use a faster version of the Thunderbolt interface?
    I think it's more for allowing several devices to be powered without needing AC adaptors. 

    Honestly, I would like to see an end to terrible AC adaptors and use power USB-C as the port to rule for all devices that require that kind of power. I am so done with those junk adaptors with different ports. USB-C can easily negotiate for power requirement while AC adaptors cannot hence different port shapes. 

    And I'd love to see more of USB-C outlets in the walls too - a lot of devices can do just fine with just 240W or less. Most 75" TVs are less than 140W, I believe so it stands to benefit from using USB cord rather to use ac adaptors. 
    edited May 2021 watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 20 of 26
    22july201322july2013 Posts: 3,179member
    netrox said:
    sflocal said:
    That's seriously impressive power.  While I know that charging MacBooks comes close to that 100w limit on USBc, are there any peripherals currently that use that much power over USBc?

    I'm curious what the transfer speed will be with USB5?  Will it use a faster version of the Thunderbolt interface?
    I think it's more for allowing several devices to be powered without needing AC adaptors. 

    Honestly, I would like to see an end to terrible AC adaptors and use power USB-C as the port to rule for all devices that require that kind of power. I am so done with those junk adaptors with different ports. USB-C can easily negotiate for power requirement while AC adaptors cannot hence different port shapes. 

    And I'd love to see more of USB-C outlets in the walls too - a lot of devices can do just fine with just 240W or less. Most 75" TVs are less than 140W, I believe so it stands to benefit from using USB cord rather to use ac adaptors. 
    I agree with the idea that DC power should be built into every home. I'm just not certain that USB-C should be the mechanical interface because USB changes so often. I'm a little more inclined to think it should be something akin to Apple's abandoned AirPower, ie, some sort of inductive charging system with magnets hold the devices in place. 

    But I certainly don't want the mess we have with electric cars, where different manufacturers use different distribution systems. If competing companies could work together on a standard, we might move forward. But one of the main reasons electric cars aren't doing well is that manufacturers can't agree on a single charging system.
    watto_cobra
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