Why can't we have nice things? USB Type-C can be as bad as the etherkiller

Subject: General Tech | February 15, 2016 - 02:07 PM |
Tagged: USB 3 Type-C

USB 3.0 Type C cables have finally solved the strange physics defying issue of the originals and you no longer need to rotate your USB plug twice before it will connect.  Unfortunately it has introduced more serious problems, in some cases dangerous and expensive problems.  Back in November we posted about a Google researcher who found a variety of cables which did not have the correct resistor installed and which could release the magic smoke from your computer.  He is still at it and may be one of the only reasons to join Google+ as you can follow his findings there.  Unfortunately he won't be posting for a little while as the most recent one, a SurjTech 3M cable, destroyed his test equipment, including a $1499 Pixel 2.

Sadly it is not just cheap off brand cables you need to fear, Apple recently recalled numerous Type C cables which shipped with their products.  The Inquirer mentions a way to tell if your cable is definitely dangerous but this seems a situation where you are better safe than sorry.  Considering these dangers and the fact that in many cases the manufactures are actually using USB 3.0 cables with the Type C connection, it might be worth waiting on upgrading those peripherals.

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"APPLE IS the latest company to fall foul of the messy rollout of USB-C. The company has recalled a bunch of the cables that were official accessories sold separately or included with the most recent MacBook devices that eschewed USB=A and Lightning in favour of a single USB-C port for everything."

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Source: The Inquirer

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February 15, 2016 | 02:07 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

For those that don't get the reference.


February 15, 2016 | 03:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It would not have been so bad if Apple instead of going for the USB Type-C style plug with USB gen 1(USB 3.0) speeds had waited for more support for the USB Type-C with the gen 2(USB 3.1 controller chip) that gives the 10Gbs speeds before replacing the TB ports on its lowest end Macbooks.

Even Better Apple could go with the newer TB3 which is going to be using the USB Type-C plug form factor with some extra wires added to the pinout for TB support and giving its users the options for 40Gbs for even better speeds to go along with the Type-C plug standard's power handling abilities, and that would include the option of using cheaper non active TB cables at 20Gbs instead of the 40Gbs with the active and more costly TB3 cables. TB with its 3rd iteration is starting to get the necessary bandwidth to support external GPU enclosures with less loss of performance, and hopefully by the time TB4 arrives there will be TB with enough bandwidth to support gaming with an external GPU with little loss of performance!

TB3 has a lot of extra abilities and one of them is 10Gb Ethernet networking over TB for those that may have use for it, including the introduction this year of optical TB cables for longer runs! It looks like the USB Type-C plug standard may just be the fabled one plug to rule them all, provided your device can support TB3, and USB 3.1 controller chips with the wires run through the USB Type-C plug. Both USB and TB3 can have other protocols passed through, with USB requiring a converter, and TB3 being natively able to tunnel DP/Other protocol signals/packets.

Still most people will be happy with a USB 3.1 controller chip wired to that USB Type-C plug and having 10Gbs will be great for system Image backups, in addition to the USB Type-C plug's power handling abilities! But Really Apple more than one USB Type-C plug per device with plugs on opposing sides of the laptop device!

February 15, 2016 | 04:11 PM - Posted by mLocke

The one instance where buying an overpriced Monster Cable worked out for someone.

February 15, 2016 | 04:41 PM - Posted by Gunbuster

This is the big manufacturers dream. I bet they are cooking up ways to get into that magical charger not included space like printer USB cables. Then they don't have to honor warranty on $1000 devices if you smoke them with a janky $4 cord...

February 15, 2016 | 10:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

uhhhhhhhhhhhh i'd rather get my USB plug wrong vs smoke my device.

seriously....was it that big of a deal? NO

key the phucking cords and be done.

February 16, 2016 | 11:17 AM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

With this sort of cable conundrum, the moniker, rather than "USB-C", should be "USB-Eeeeeeeeeeeee!"

February 17, 2016 | 03:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How about a reference to the original picture?

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