CES 2015: MSI Implements USB 3.1 and USB Type-C Connector

Subject: Motherboards, Storage, Shows and Expos | January 4, 2015 - 07:21 PM |
Tagged: usb type-c, usb 3.1, msi, ces 2015, CES

If you are like me, you probably thought the world of USB was going to be stable for a bit. Not so much as it turns out! MSI was showing off a couple of new products in its suite at CES 2015 that showcase new performance levels for USB as well as a much-needed new connector type.

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First up, USB 3.1, the upgrade that includes performance as high as single channel Thunderbolt, 10 Gbps. MSI will be shipping USB 3.1 on a new revision of the GT72 gaming notebook as well as on the X99A Gaming 9 ACK motherboard shipping in February or March. Each will feature two ports of USB 3.1 capable of some impressive speeds.

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These results are based on a RAID-0 implementation of a pair of Intel SSD 730 SSDs running on a prototype USB 3.1 capable controller that MSI didn't want us to show you. Seeing USB speeds reaching as high as 694 MB/s are impressive, exceeding that of the best USB 3.0 speeds we have seen at 470 MB/s. Considering we are looking at very early devices and software implementations, MSI's results on this board are fantastic.

Maybe more exciting than a speed boost to some USB users is implementation of the USB Type-C connector on the MSI Z97A Gaming 6 motherboard due in the same time frame.

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There are several advantages to this new connector for both users and OEMs. First, it is reversible meaning you can plug plug the connector in upside down and it will work (finally!). It is also small, able to fit on the slimmest phones and tablets. Both sides of the cable are going to be the same, so any device that can use a Type-C connector will be able to use most any cable.

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Power delivery also improves - 10 watts (5V at 2A), 60 watts (12V at 5A) and even up to 100 watts (20V at 5A)! And all of this power can be sent through that tiny Type-C connector as well leaving the possibility of charging your laptop through the same connector as your phone.

Expect both USB 3.1 as well as Type-C connectors to be a big shift in the middle of Q1.

Coverage of CES 2015 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2015 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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January 4, 2015 | 09:07 PM - Posted by biblicabeebli

Erm... how exactly is it that 12V at 2A comes out to 60 watts, and 20V at 2A comes out to 100 watts?.

January 5, 2015 | 02:35 AM - Posted by CJ (not verified)

I think that's a typo and he means 5A in both cases.

January 4, 2015 | 09:36 PM - Posted by alkarnur

We need SSDs to reach capacities much higher than 1TB and to come down in price for USB 3.1 to really become useful.

USB 3.1 is way ahead of storage. RAID-0 HDDs can at most reach sustained speeds of about 160 MB/s: far below even USB 3.0's limit.

While moving to USB 3.1 and SATA Express will remove the current bottleneck on SSDs, current SSD capacities are simply too small for the time savings in a file transfer operation to really show.

In other words, halving the file transfer time of the data required to fill a 4TB SSD is important. Halving the file transfer time of the data required to fill a 512GB SSD, not so much.

January 10, 2015 | 08:07 PM - Posted by AnonymousAlpha (not verified)

IF There is a way to use Plextor M6E M.2 SSD, Samsung XP941 M.2 SSD or the new Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD to plug it in with USB 3.1 adapter then it will produce very high transfer speed.

M.2 to USB 3.0 is available right now, but I have never seen M.2 to USB 3.1 yet.

Search for Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD it reaches 2.15Gbps seq read and 1.55Gbps seq write. it will be in the market after two months at most I hope. Or you can see the available model XP941 M.2 SSD, they are both very fast that could be near USB 3.1 transfer limit.

January 4, 2015 | 09:41 PM - Posted by Buyers

I hope the adoption of USB3.1 and the Type-C connector is swift.

January 4, 2015 | 10:03 PM - Posted by RadioActiveLobster

I'm more interested in that funky X99A Gaming 9 mobo on the monitor.

Is that a ATX board but everything shifted 90 degrees from normal or some sort of mega extended mini ITX board?

January 5, 2015 | 01:14 AM - Posted by collie

100 watt charging, that's kinda scarry actualy, that's alot of juice to push through a mother board just for the usb port, even more for a dinky little pocket charger. I

January 5, 2015 | 02:23 AM - Posted by Okedokey (not verified)

USB3.0 already provides compliance with 2 - 5A.

January 5, 2015 | 07:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Looking forward to the power increases the most out of all of this. I'm sure this will open up some crazy opportunities that nobody has thought of yet.

January 5, 2015 | 09:26 AM - Posted by YTech

Interesting. This is good news in many ways for the future of the USB controller.

Beside the need to use a different cable, is it back compatible?

January 5, 2015 | 11:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There will be Type-C connectors, but will there be the USB 3.1 to go with the Type-C connectors' form factor, Type-C is the specification for the connector, and hopefully there will be USB 3.1 to go with it. I just bet there will be a lot of ultrabooks, that will go with the Type-C connector, but forgo the USB 3.1, and it will take a good amount of time before USB 3.1(at least one port) is on every laptop device.

January 6, 2015 | 02:24 PM - Posted by Jacob (not verified)

This is so exciting! I can't wait until the USB Type-C port is ubiquitous. Having the same high-speed and reversible port usable across desktop PCs, tablets, and phones will just be phenomenal.

That is, of course, going to continue to be stifled as long as Samsung and Apple come out with their own "proprietary" connections as Apple has done since the beginning of time and as Samsung has done since the S5. Greedy bastards.

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