A single USB Type-C cable will soon be capable of powering an entire gaming laptop

USB Type-C
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The USB-Implementer's Forum has upgraded the specification for power delivery on USB Type-C 2.1 to handle up to 240W. Currently, the standard tops out at 100W, which means it simply doesn't deliver enough power for lots of meatier devices. Upping the voltage from 20V to 48V should give manufacturers enough room to make it a truly universal charging standard.

We see this as a big boon for gaming laptop manufacturers, or rather for us gamers that have to juggle so many different power bricks—trying to find the right power connector for your machine is rarely fun. The idea that you'd be able to reach for a generic USB Type-C power brick has us surprisingly excited. No really.

Plenty of thin and light laptops manage to get by using USB Type-C connectors, although these tend to stay well below 100W, with 65W chargers being surprisingly common. Throw in a serious high-end CPU and a discrete graphics card though, and you'll soon be nudging up to 200W or more.

In fact, 240W may even be a tad limiting for some of the more extreme laptops, but there always will be exceptions and exceptional machines that have ridiculous power requirements. Maybe a universal standard will calm things down a bit, although we wouldn't be surprised to see some machines packing a pair of chargers.

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It'll take a while for manufacturers to start implementing the new standard, and to adhere to the new specification. Manufacturers will need to comply with the USB PD Extended Power Range (EPR) specification. Any cabling will of course need to comply, and will need to handle up to 50V as well.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.