USB Type-C hands-on: It's here and it's great

At CES 2015, USB Implementers Forum demoed USB Type-C, while MSI announces its first gaming laptop and motherboard that support this new connection standard.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
Watch this: This is the USB you've been waiting for

LAS VEGAS -- At CES 2015, folks at USB Implementers Forum and Intel showcased a quick, yet impressive, demo of what USB 3.1 Type-C is capable of.

If you haven't heard of USB Type-C, I laid out its details here. To quickly recap, apart from the fact that with Type-C there's no need to worry about which side of the cable to plug in (it works either side up), it also packs the USB 3.1 standard, which comes with a top speed of 10Gbps, twice the current speed of USB 3.0.

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And the best part is, after having had hands-on experience with it, I found the new connection standard totally exciting.

For the demo, the group used two Samsung SSD 840 Pro drives together in a RAID 0 setup. Connected to a computer using a Type-C connection, the benchmark test showed a sustained speed of more than 800MBps for both read and write. Prior to USB 3.1, this type of speed was only available with a Thunderbolt connection.

The benchmark scores of the demo, more than 800MBps for both reading and writing. Dong Ngo/CNET

USB Type-C can also carry much higher power than USB 3.0 and going forward there will be many mobile devices, even laptops, that can be powered via the USB cable instead of using a separate power adapter.

At left, a USB Type-C USB 3.1 port built onto an electronics board. At right, the Type-C cable. Sarah Tew/CNET

Right now, the Nokia N1 is the first tablet on the market that uses Type-C USB ports and at CES 2015, MSI announced its first gaming notebooks, the GT72, and its first motherboard, the X99A Gaming 9 ACK, that will come with built-in USB 3.1 Type-C ports. Both of these products will ship by March this year.

You can expect even more devices to use this new and exciting USB standard in a very near future.