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Say What? USB 3.1 and USB Type C Are Completely Different!?

Say What? USB 3.1 and USB Type C Are Completely Different!?

Wait, what? USB 3.1 and USB Type C are two totally different things? I thought USB Type C was synonymous with USB 3.1. It’s not. APPARENTLY, even though these are being introduced at the exact same time, they are two completely different things.

Here is the difference: USB Type C is a new CONNECTOR, not a technology update. This means that any of the existing USB signals such as USB 1.1, USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or USB 3.1 could be sent over a cable with a Type C connector. Indeed, you will start seeing USB 2.0 cables and USB 3.0 cables with a Type C connector on them. This does NOT mean they are capable of the amazingly fast speeds and power that comes with the new USB 3.1 technology change. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables with the fancy new USB Type C connector will still do the same old thing, but they can be plugged into newer devices with USB Type C inputs. The goal of this new connector is to standardize all USB cables to a single connector type…with the exact same connectors on both ends. No more squinting into your device to see which end of the cable fits where. And while we are on the topic, how annoying it is when you plug in the USB cable upside side and it refuses to slide in. Turning it over and retrying- ugh.

So that’s USB Type C. USB 3.1, on the other hand, is an update in the overall capabilities of USB technology. “USB 3.1 introduces an even higher bandwidth than USB 3.0, with data rates up to 10Gbits/s. It also has enhanced power delivery and built-in support for DisplayPort video and four channel audio for speakers and a microphone. Also, since no new technology can have only one name, you might refer to USB 3.1 as: USB SuperSpeed Plus, USB Gen 2, or USB Enhanced SuperSpeed.” -Stolen from another one of our USB 3.1 blog posts.

Riddle me this… Is it possible to have a USB Type C cable that is not USB 3.1, and a USB 3.1 cable that is not Type C? Yes to the first part, no to the second. All USB 3.1 cables will have the Type C connector. It’s like they say in Bourbon County, Kentucky…not all whisky is Bourbon, but all Bourbon is whisky. Check this out if you’re 21.

When you find yourself with two USB devices that don’t connect, don’t freak. We either have the cable you need or the USB adapter you need.

-By Kim Brakefield

photo credit: You're really gonna wear that? via photopin (license)


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