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The New USB Type C Connector

Article ID = 134
Article Title = The New USB Type C Connector
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 9th April 2015
Article Last Updated = 26th July 2017
Article URL = http://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?134

Article Brief Description:
Information about the new USB Type C Connector
Q. What is USB-C?
A. USB (Universal Serial Bus) is a common computer type connection. It has gone through several different iterations:
  • 1.0 - data rates of up to 1.5 Mbps (Low Bandwidth or Low Speed) and 12 Mbit/s (Full Bandwidth or Full Speed)
  • 1.1 - minor revision
  • 2.0 - higher maximum data signalling rate of up to 480 Mbps called High Speed
  • 3.0 - SuperSpeed with a data signalling rate of up to 5.0 Gbps (USB 3.0 ports are usually coloured blue) a.k.a. USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • 3.1 - SuperSpeed+ with a data signalling rate of up to 10.0 Gbps a.k.a. USB 3.1 Gen 2
  • 3.2 - SuperSpeed+ with a data signalling rate of up to dual/two-lane 10.0 Gbps
There are also three primary types of physical connectors (see also pictures below for reference):
  • Type A (full size) - usually found on "host" devices such as your computer, monitor or hub/docking station
  • Type A (Mini-A) - usually found on "host" devices such as your computer, monitor or hub/docking station
  • Type A (Micro-A) - usually found on "host" devices such as your computer, monitor or hub/docking station
  • Type B (full size) - usually found on external peripherals e.g. printers
  • Type B (Mini-B) - usually found on external small/portable peripherals e.g. portable hard disk
  • Type B (Micro-B) - usually found on external small/portable peripherals e.g. portable hard disk
  • Type C - usually found on "host" devices such as your computer, monitor or hub/docking station (Type C's big advantage is that the connection is reversible - it does not matter which way round the cable/adaptor is plugged in)
USB Type A Connections USB Type B Connections USB Type C Connections USB-C is therefore the physical type of connection. Apple's first generation of USB-C connector on the MacBook computer introduced in March 2015 inclues one connector conforming to USB 3.1 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps).
Q. Are there different types/quality of cables?
A. Yes and it's very important to buy the right cable when used with USB-C:
  • Standard USB (that is, USB with no special keywords). These cables have 4 wires (although some connector types have 5 pins. They are certified for operation at USB 1.1 speeds - either "low speed" (1.5Mbps) or "full speed" (12Mbps). Today, you are not likely to find these cables - most manufacturers are only selling high- and super- speed cables.
  • High Speed USB (sometimes erroneously referred to as USB 2.0). These are also 4-wire cables. They are certified for operation at "high speed" (480Mbps) in addition to low and full speed.
  • Super Speed USB (sometimes erroneously referred to as USB 3.0). These are 9-wire cables. 4 wires are for backward compatibility with low, full and high speed devices. The 5 new wires are used for "super speed" devices which may run at 5Gbps.
  • Super Speed USB 10Gbps (sometimes erroneously referred to as USB 3.1). These are super speed cables certified for operation at 10Gbps (introduced in the most recent release of the USB 3.1 spec.)
Data source = David Charlap via MacInTouch.
Check the laptopmag.com article for official USB certification logos.
Q. What official Apple adapters/cables are available for Apple's USB-C port?
A. Apple currently provides several different adapters and cables for their computers with USB-C connectors:
  • USB-C to USB Adapter (part code = MJ1M2ZM/A) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter (part code = MJ1K2ZM/A) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter (part code = MJ1L2ZM/A) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • 29W USB-C Power Adapter (part code = MJ262B/A UK | MJ262B/A USA) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
  • USB-C Charge Cable (part code = MJWT2ZM/A) Buy it now at Amazon UK Buy it now at Amazon USA
Q. What about Thunderbolt 3?
A. Thunderbolt 3 also utilises the physical USB-C connector but the USB 3 and Thunderbolt technologies are completely separate - see our article on Thunderbolt for more information.
USB-C External Mobile Storage
  • LaCie Rugged USB-C
    • 1TB (part code = STFR1000400)
    • 2TB (part code = STFR2000400) Buy it now at Amazon UK
    • 4TB (part code = STFR4000400)

Article Keywords: MacBook Universal Serial Bus USB-C USB Type C USB3 3 USB3.0 3.0 USB3.1 3.1 connector adapter adaptor ThunderBolt 3 TB3

This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.


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