Most modern devices are equipped with a dozen connectors for different types of peripherals. A separate monitor jack, another one for an Ethernet cable, a pair of headphone and microphone jacks, a charging jack … Previously, after connecting all the necessary devices, a laptop looked like an octopus: a bunch of wires that stretch to a mouse, printer, monitor, outlet and etc.

A modern computer and, above all, a laptop can be equipped with just one interface – USB Type-C is a universal connector that can replace all the variety of cables that currently exist.

USB-C - symmetrical connector
USB-C – balanced connector

USB-C of the latest generation can transfer not only data, but also power, allowing you to connect all peripherals and a charger directly or through a docking station. As a result, only one wire will go to the laptop, which combines all the functionality necessary for the user. This will help you organize your workspace efficiently: you don’t need to connect all the devices separately, just plug in one cable and start working. However, this is not the only benefit of USB Type-C.

Reversible plug for quick connection

We are all familiar with USB 3.0. Have you ever managed to insert such a plug the first time? Sometimes it seems that this is simply impossible: you need to turn the cable over, try to connect it, turn it over again, look into the connector, and only after that it may give in and fall into the socket. In this regard, USB Type-C has an absolute advantage – it is symmetrical, which means that you do not have to turn it in your hands to connect it to the device. It is convenient, fast, and saves the nerves of hasty users.

Compact connector for compact gadgets

Slim USB-C takes up little space
Slim USB-C takes up little space

Mobility is of particular importance in the PC 2.0 concept. Modern laptops are much thinner than their predecessors. Lightweight and mobile laptops are easy to take with you, they do not take up much space and look elegant. The appearance of the device is especially important for many users – and this is not surprising, because it is much more comfortable to use a compact laptop than a huge and heavy gadget.

However, the thinner the body of the device, the less space is left for placing connectors for different types of cables. Many standard sockets are quite large, and the need to install them greatly increases the thickness and weight of the laptop. In its devices, HP uses USB Type-C – a thin connector that is easy to fit even on compact gadgets. Laptops equipped with such a port can be ultra-thin and light, and at the same time retain their functionality.

Such different USB-C

USB Type-C Connector Specifications
USB Type-C Connector Specifications

Just like regular USB-A (USB 2.0, 3.1 connectors), USB Type-C has several versions. The “C” mark in the name of such a cable indicates a reversible plug design, and the data and power transfer capabilities depend on the specification of the individual connector. To get the necessary functionality from the connection, you should use the compatibility tables of various protocols.

For example, USB-C first generation Allows you to connect and charge peripheral devices, providing output power from 7.5W to 15W. In fact, this is a slightly improved USB 3.0 in a symmetrical design. The speed of data exchange using such a cable can reach 10 Gbps.

Second generation USB-C received the Power Delivery function, which allows it not only to transmit, but also to receive power, which means that such a cable can be used simultaneously to recharge a laptop and exchange data. Its transfer speed is twice that of the first USB-C, and is 20 Gbps. It is this connector that is convenient to use for docking stations in order to immediately connect to it all the necessary devices for input and output of information and a cable for recharging.

Maximum performance with Thunderbolt 3 protocol

Specification USB-C Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) has appeared relatively recently and is the most productive of the USB-C family. This connector supports the high-speed Thunderbolt 3 protocol, which combines data, video and audio in one connection, provides power transmission up to 100 W (20 V, 5A) and allows you to increase communication speed up to 40 Gbps.

Thanks to the high-performance Thunderbolt 3 interface, you can connect two additional monitors with a resolution of 4K at 60Hz to the laptop. In this case, the cable will transmit up to 100 watts of energy to the laptop, which will allow you to receive data and charge the laptop at the same time.

Who said that the graphics card has to be inside the laptop?

The modern Thunderbolt 3 protocol will allow you to connect an external video card
The modern Thunderbolt 3 protocol will allow you to connect an external video card

If you have a weak office laptop that does not run modern games, the universal Thunderbolt 3 protocol will save you from having to buy a separate gaming computer. USB-C TB3 allows you to connect external graphics cards (eGPU systems) to your laptop, which can overclock your office device to the speed of top gaming PCs.

For this, special attachments are designed, for example, the HP Omen Accelerator. This external box is equipped with a discrete graphics adapter with a power consumption of up to 300 W, which can be connected to a computer via a Thunderbolt 3 port. Simply select and install a powerful video card in the set-top box, and your laptop will turn into a real gaming machine. And all this pleasure will cost much cheaper than buying a full-fledged gaming computer. In addition, such a prefix will play the role of a docking station, and through it you can bring all the peripherals and the Internet to the laptop.

Accelerator has a large selection of connectors
Accelerator has a large selection of connectors

The ability to increase the performance of a simple business laptop with an external adapter is useful not only for gamers, but also for designers, engineers or designers who work in complex graphics programs or process video. Using an accelerator like the HP Omen Accelerator in the workplace, the employee will have access to powerful graphics, but still remain mobile and can always disconnect the laptop from the docking station to give a presentation or continue working at home.

Not all at once

At the moment, there is a lot of equipment with old connectors – people are used to using a separate cable for each device and do not want to change their equipment. The main argument of such users is the need to purchase adapters for USB Type-C in order to connect an old printer or monitor to a new laptop.

Docking station on USB-C will replace several connectors
Docking station on USB-C will replace several connectors

However, a single docking station connected via USB-C can eliminate the need to connect multiple cables to a laptop. Using just one connector on your device, you will provide data transfer, computer recharging, and order in the workplace. No more messing around with wires and wasting time reconnecting peripherals every time you need to move your laptop.

HP understands that the transition to USB-C must be gradual. In 2017, the manufacturer updated its line of laptops, equipping them with one type C interface. The second iteration involves replacing one more port with a universal Type-C and abandoning other connectors. For example, the new HP Pro 400 and 600 series laptops use full USB-C with power transfer capability. And the HP Elite 800 G5 Series and HP Elite 1000 Series are already equipped with USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 for maximum performance and transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps.

How to avoid compatibility issues

USB Type C is a fairly complex technology that is still in development and not yet fully standardized. Devices working with this protocol are not yet 100% compatible. Not all manufacturers have switched to the latest standards, and the pinout of the USB-C connector does not always allow you to get the functionality that the user expected from the connection. If the cable does not support any protocol, the capabilities of the peripheral device will be limited or not available at all.

When buying adapters for USB-C, you need to be especially careful. For example, some laptops use different power standards when charging – it’s not a fact that cheap cables that pass off as USB Type-C will support these protocols. That is why we advise you to buy only branded docking stations, adapters and USB-C cables.

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Read also about computers of the new generation PC 2.0:

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Photo: HP