First shots of reversible USB 3.1 Type C cable and port seen in the wild

USB 3.1 Type C close upIt’s something that has confused and perplexed computer owners for years – why does it usually take three or more attempts to fit your USB lead in to the port on your machine? This cable twisting confusion may well be a thing of the past fairly soon as the reversible USB 3.1 Type C has broken cover.

The USB Type C cable and USB 3.1 spec are designed to connect your devises in the very near future and should ease the frustration of plugging in USB devices, especially using the ports at the rear of your desktop computer.

The Type C connectors (beside being USB 3.1, which is much faster than 3.0, and send significantly more power) promise to be more reliable and robust compared with the current crop of micro-USB and mini-USB plugs – and it is reversible.

No doubt all you Mac owners kitted out with Lightning ports are laughing at us PC owners right now. I mean, it’s not like Apple owners to be smug normally is it? 😉

Let’s start off with the fact that the USB 3.1 spec has an uprated peak throughput and jumps from the current 5 Gbps to 10 Gbps – this means that file transfers should run at a peak of 1.25 GB/sec. Pretty impressive huh?

USB 3.1 connectorUSB Power Delivery 2.0 (PD) makes it possible for USB to supply up to 100 watts, and coexists with the BC 1.2 spec that is used in USB power adapters to charge phones, so a single port would be able to provide power for both systems. In addition, USB PD 2.0 allows for power to go both ways without changing the direction of the cable, so a laptop would be able to send and receive power from the same port. Could that mean the end of powerbricks in your laptop bag?

With USB 3.1, we see a few key improvements. Peak throughput goes from 10 Gbps from 5 Gbps, which translates to a peak of 1.25 GB/sec. In a demo of an early controller with two SSDs attached to the system I saw peak throughput of 833 MB/sec.

usb 3.1 portJust imagine, with this standard you could have a dock connected by a single cable to the monitor which could charge a laptop and also mirror the laptop’s display onto the external monitor. Not only that but the external monitor could also be able to serve as a USB hub for a keyboard, mouse, headsets, flash drives, and other USB peripherals.

The USB-IF believes that this standard will show up in products shipping in 2015 – a bit of a delay from the originally estimate of the middle of 2014.

It does seem that the connector is a bit less compact than microUSB, more like a miniUSB which I could definitely live especially with its increases skills.

What say you?