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Massive USB-C upgrade could be great news for some gamers

The team behind the USB-C connectivity and power standard has announced a huge upgrade that more than doubles the power it can handle.

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) says (via CNET) compatible computers, laptops, monitors and other devices will be able to support 240 watts of power delivery from this year. The maximum power that can currently (get it?) be sent via a USB-C cable is 100w.

What does this mean in practice? Well, it means we could see some high-powered gaming laptops adopt the USB-C standard in 2021. Currently, most of those machines still require legacy charging cables alongside the additional charging bricks.

The switch to USB-C could make carrying around the best gaming laptops a little more manageable. However, it’s unlikely that the functionality will stretch to desktop gaming PCs and next-gen game consoles. The PS5 is rated at 350w, for example.

The USB-IF calls the update “Extended Power Range” and it means even the more powerful gaming laptops could soon be charged by USB-C power cables. Naturally, this would mean new USB-C chargers to handle the additional power will need to be created, as well as laptops with the requisite port.

“We expect devices supporting higher wattages in the second half of 2021,” USB-IF said on Wednesday in a statement. We can expect new tech supporting the standard to be identifiable by new labels.

“All EPR cables shall be visibly identified with EPR cable identification icons as defined by the USB-IF. This is required so that end users will be able to confirm visually that the cable supports up to as high of PDP = 240W,” the USB-IF added.

Likewise, for the current standard. The Forum adds: “For USB Power Delivery, each cable assembly is identified as being either only usable for Standard Power Range (SPR) operation or usable for both SPR and Extended Power Range (EPR) operation.”

It’ll be interesting to see how many manufacturers adopt the standard before the year is out.

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