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USB Type-C Can Give You Both Hope And Trouble
Apr 19, 2018

The latest generation of USB connector technology is USB Type-C, although this technology was born in 2014, but few people pay attention to this technology, until Apple used this technology on the MacBook in 2015, the name of Type-C With the release of Apple's laptops, it became well known. Many people exclaimed: "Wow! An interface can act as a USB, video output, and power source for so many interfaces. It's a god!"


It must be admitted that the light that has been tainted with apples can be quickly known, and that Apple is indeed capable of further promoting a standard and can often be successful. The new MacBook application Type-C interface is really very appropriate, thin to the limit of the body can not carry a large number of small interfaces, and compact Type-C can set charging, data transmission and video output in one. As an industry leader, Apple’s innovation ability and strength are still worthy of recognition. Many Windows PCs, smart phones, monitors, chargers, storage peripherals, etc. are now beginning to adopt this technology. Like Apple's Lightning connector, USB Type-C also supports both positive and negative uses. Although USB Type-C is different from USB 3.1, there is a connection between the two. It supports a transfer rate of 10 Gb/sec, which is more than 1000 times faster than the USB 1.0 speed introduced in 1996 when it was only 12 Mb/sec.


Equally important, USB Type-C supports multiple standby modes, the most prominent of which is the ability to transmit 100 watts of power. There is also the ability to simultaneously support two 4K displays at a refresh rate of 60Hz, and most importantly, it can also complete data transfer. In theory, it supports a connector to perform power, data, and video transmissions simultaneously over a single line. Just one line can handle everything.

However, we also know that there is a gap between theory and reality. The key issue is that not all USB Type-C connectors support all of these different functions, and that if the general user has not been carefully studied, they do not know which device is equipped with a USB Type-C interface. Features.

While Thunderbolt 3.0, an Intel-developed technology, uses a different interface technology than USB 3.1, it uses the same connector as USB Type-C. Thunderbolt 3.0's connectors (different from Thunderbolt 1.0/2.0 connectors, and the latter two use the same connector as the mini-DisplayPort video standard) will have a lightning bolt on it, so many people recognize it at a glance . It is worth pointing out that at this point it is different from Apple's Lightning connector, which does not have this logo. Do you think it is confusing? In fact, you are not alone in confusion.


In fact, Thunderbolt 3.0 is not a superset of USB 3.1. It supports USB 3.1 signals, PCIe 3.0, HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 video signals, 100-watt power, and Thunderbolt data connections, all of which only need to pass a USB Type- C connector can be connected. However, its disadvantage is that any Thunderbolt 3.0-enabled device requires a dedicated Thunderbolt control chip, which increases the cost. And the full-bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 data cable is not cheap, because it requires built-in active electronics.

Device manufacturers can deploy standard USB Type-C at a relatively low cost, and the USB Type-C full-bandwidth data cable is less expensive than the Thunderbolt version. However, it is precisely because these reductions in costs cause users another form of trouble. Because a device equipped with a USB Type-C connector does not assume it supports power supplies or other alternative PhDs such as support for DisplayPort or MHL (video support for large screens on smartphones) video standards. In fact, technically, it may have a USB Type-C interface, but it does not necessarily support USB 3.1, although this is rarely the case in practice.


The real problem is that there is no simpler way to define different variants of USB Type-C. One of the purposes of developing this standard is to introduce a small connector suitable for use in small devices.

There is also a problem. With the advent of USB Type-c, we began to face the problem of "virtualization" of the interface. At present, each interface has a dedicated connector and a dedicated signal type. For example, USB transfers data to a peripheral device. The Ethernet interface is responsible for the network. Video connectors such as HDMI and DisplayPort are responsible for video content transmission. With the advent of the multifunction interface USB Type-C, this one-to-one interface and functional peer relationship have been broken. Although this is a very important technological advancement, if the user ignores or does not understand the relevant technology, then the user is likely to be confused.


But the interface "virtualization" has a good side, it will give birth to more useful docking stations and expansion docks we have never seen before, especially for laptops, tablets and smart phones. You can use any interface function as long as you connect the data cable to the device, and you can also charge the device. There may also be new types of peripherals, such as single-line displays - that receive video content from host devices, power on, support audio, USB storage, and even support another monitor.

Maybe many connections will change from wired to wireless in the future, but from the power and the challenges many devices face in wireless connectivity, USB Type-C variants, especially Thunderbolt 3.0 and other variants, may soon be on the way.