Charging a smartphone or a laptop is going to get a lot faster as retailers have started rolling out USB Type-C 2.1 cables that can deliver up to 240W (48 Volt at 5 Amp) of power, reported Tom’s Hardware.
The Type-C 2.1 specification was first announced by USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) in May 2021 as an upgrade over Type-C 2.0 that could muster power transfer at a much lower capacity of 100W (20 Volt at 5 Amp).
The launch of cables with the new specification will be a game-changer for the PC industry, which hasn’t been able to implement a standard charging connector for laptops due to the much varying and higher power requirements, especially in gaming notebooks.
Currently, most of the USB Type-C standards in PCs are either available in ultrabooks or 2-in1s due to the limited power supply. Even in gaming notebooks that support Type-C charging, brands recommend it to be used only for modest workloads such as web browsing or watching videos.
Access to 240W of power via USB Type-C connectors means that now laptops, even those used for gaming can rely on them for charging. Most gaming notebooks come with at least 200-300W power adapters as the high-end CPUs and GPUs used in them require more power supply to run at full capacity.
One of the objectives of the USB Type-C standard is to make it a universal connector for charging and data transfer in smartphones, laptops, and various other devices. This goal has been achieved to a great extent in smartphones, most of which now support Type-C charging.
The new specification can lead to something similar in the PC industry and give PC makers and users a reason to rely on USB type C as the universal charging option for laptops.
In addition to higher power transfer, USB Type-C 2.1 also supports data transfer at speeds of up to 40Gbps, which is equivalent to transferring 1.5 hours of 4K video in 2 seconds. In comparison, USB 3.1 Gen 2 allows data transfer at speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
The new specification is backward compatible, however, using it with previous-Gen cables and connectors will limit speed and power transfer.