Supercharged USB Type-C cables capable of delivering 240W of power are starting to appear, following the announcement of the new Type-C power specification last september. With one of these new cables and a compatible charger/brick, a single USB Type-C cable can provide enough power to maintain even an RTX 3080 Ti powered gaming laptop.
3D Retailer’s Club announced three new USB Type-C cables (good spot, Tom’s Hardware). All three are rated for 240W peak power, though only the top cable supports a full 40Gbps data rate (via Thunderbolt 3 protocol) at the same time. The lower spec cable only offers USB 2.0 speeds, so it’s more or less just a swap for a proprietary power connector.
Club3D has yet to announce specific pricing for these cables, but they should be announced sooner rather than later. I would also expect a wave of new cables supporting the new power standard to follow.
While there’s something to keep in mind here before you rush out to buy one of these new cables: we still haven’t found compatible 240W chargers, and devices don’t just pull 240W through their USB ports unless they’re designed for .
If you still want to grab one of these new cables, look for the Extended Power Range (EPR) specification. This is what offers a maximum power of 48V at 5A and a peak power of 240W. The most common Standard Power Range (SPR) cables available today only support 100W through a single cable, which means that only thin and light laptops with integrated graphics or low-power discrete GPUs would get enough power while in use to not drain the battery.
With a peak power of 240W, these cables could, in theory, successfully keep even high-end gaming laptops charged during use. The Razer Blade 15 with an RTX 3080 Ti and a 12th Gen Intel processor comes with a 230W power pack. The Asus Zephyr G14 (2022) comes with AMD’s top Ryzen mobile chip and Radeon GPU, and a 240W charger in the box. It is possible that even laptops of this type will work fine with a single EPR USB Type-C cable and compatible charger/power pack if their manufacturers have designed it for that.
Admittedly, some laptops come with beefier chargers, like the Lenovo Legion 5 sitting next to me with a 300W brick or the Razer Blade 17 ordinary 280W brick. The Razer probably needs all that juice, but the Lenovo might not. It’s just an RTX 3060 model and I would take a guess and say a 240W charger would be enough to keep it fresh even while gaming.
With the shift to 240W peak power delivery, USB Type-C is one step closer to full cable dominance. And that’s a good thing. While there are some costs involved with licensing USB on a device, purchasing Type-C ports, and using the logo, generally the connectivity standard is widely available and easy to use. This means that a Type-C cable can work across multiple devices and, ultimately, can help reduce e-waste – much of which comes from cables, many of which have been proprietary over the years.
Customers still expect a cable, USB Type-C or otherwise, with their new device. Until that changes, there will still be a growing mountain of cables to discard every year. So maybe our own habits need to change according to these sophisticated new technical standards.
It’s at least pretty cool that we’ll soon be able to use a charger and Type-C cable combo in our phones, gaming laptops, tablets, headphones, and more. Each device would only use the amount needed, and we could reduce carrying a bag of cables for every piece of technology we use on a regular basis. It just seems a lot more practical, doesn’t it?