The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the group that develops the USB technology, has announced a new upgrade to the USB-C standard. The latest USB-C 2.1 revision allows the connector to send up to a whopping 240W of charging power. That’s more than twice the amount of maximum power the USB-C standard currently accommodates (100W).
The USB-IF is calling this upgraded technology Extended Power Range, or EPR. It may arrive in devices in the second half of this year, the group said in a statement.
“One hundred watts has served a lot of purposes, but there are markets that could benefit from more power – things like gaming notebooks or maybe a docking station that can distribute more power to the things connected to it,” said USB-IF Chairman Brad Saunders.
USB-C could soon start powering beefier gaming laptops and monitors
The USB-C specification 1.0 arrived in August 2014. Over the years and with multiple revisions, it has replaced several other ports on various types of devices, thanks to its faster power and data delivery. It is now the primary power source for smartphones, tablets, some notebooks, and even PCs.
However, plenty of other power-hungry devices such as gaming PCs, dock stations, and high-resolution monitors still rely on older technologies like the barrel jack adapter due to their higher wattage demand. Some laptops can charge through both USB-C as well as the barrel jack port. But the former technology is not able to charge them at full speed due to its current 100W power delivery limit.
With the latest development, such devices will be able to draw up to 240W of power over a USB-C cable. This will allow OEMs to completely do away with the barrel jack adapter. That’s one less power cable on users’ table as well.
That said, the latest USB-C standard will require special cables to deliver 240W of power to the devices. The cables will need to support 50V at 5A of electric current to be compliant. The USB-IF is also requiring the specialized EPR cables to feature visibly identifiable marks so that end users can easily distinguish them. This change may also affect the look of the current lower-power cables that max out at 60W of power. They are now called Standard Power Range, or SPR. EPR will replace the 100W cables.
240W of power may be enough to power several current-generation high-end devices. However, it certainly won’t be enough for everything. Something like a laser printer requires a lot of power that a USB-C cable cannot supply just yet. But the latest development means the same cable will work on your phone, tablet, and PC.