USB-C is about to go from 100W to 240W, enough to power more powerful laptops

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Soon most portable PCs will not must be equipped with an ugly barrel connection and its own power brick for charging. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has just announced (through CNET) that it is more than doubling the amount of power you can send through a USB-C cable is up to 240 watts, meaning you can end up plugging in the same multi-functional USB-C cable you currently use on lightweight laptops, tablets and phones to charge everything but the most powerful gaming laptops.

Previously, the USB-C Power Delivery specification topped out at 100 watts, and it certainly held back the industry a bit – for example, while my own Dell XPS 15 can technically charge via USB-C, it requires 130W of power to run on. and at the same time run at full flow. Some manufacturers have sold unspecified USB-C adapters (I have a Dell dock with 130W power), but these don’t always ship with machines and generally have a fixed, non-removable cable for abuse. appearance.

But with 240W of power – something the USB-IF calls “Extended Power Range” or EPR for short – you could theoretically charge a full-fledged Alienware m17 gaming laptop over USB-C.

You will of course need new USB-C chargers and cables to take advantage of the new specification, although hopefully you can see which one it is: “All EPR cables will be visibly identified with EPR cable identifiers,” reads the requirements of the USB-IF for the new specification. A cable must support a maximum of 5A and 50V to meet the requirements.

Judging from the photos below, it looks like manufacturers may need to tweak their charger designs as well:

Of course, there will still be exceptionally sturdy laptops that draw more than 240W of power. 330W power supplies still come standard with some machines, and there are always exotic machines that require more than one power supply to function. Gaming desktops generally require a lot more power, with a PSU of 650W or higher for the latest desktop graphics cards, and 240W may not be very enough for the latest game console from Sony and Microsoft.

On the other hand, some computers become more efficient over the years. Case in point, the colorful new iMac comes with a 143W power adapter. In a year or two, it would be a viable candidate for USB-C power.