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Power Technology

USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W 242

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
Lucas123 writes "While news stories have focused on the upcoming jump from 5Gbps to 10Gbps for USB SuperSpeed, less talked about has been the fact that it will also increase charging capabilities from 10W to 100W, meaning you'll be able to charge your laptop, monitor, even a television using a USB cord. Along with USB, the Thunderbolt peripheral interconnect will also be doubling it throughput thanks to a new controller chip, in its case from 10Gbps to 20Gbps. As with USB SuperSpeed, Thunderbolt's bandwidth increase is considered an evolutionary step, but the power transfer increase is being considered revolutionary, according to Jeff Ravencraft, president of the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). 'This is going to change the way computers, peripheral devices and even HDTVs will not only consume but deliver power,' Ravencraft said. 'You can have an HDTV with a USB hub built into it where not only can you exchange data and audio/video, but you can charge all your devices from it.'"
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USB SuperSpeed Power Spec To Leap From 10W To 100W

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  • Re:we've had a few (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:24PM (#43517517)

    because fibre optics can't carry power?

  • Dangerous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:27PM (#43517537)

    I'm not a fan of a "data" cable that can kill me.

  • by msauve (701917) on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:37PM (#43517645)
    I doubt the spec will say a device must be able to deliver 100W. It will be allowed, not required. There will be negotiation involved to determine the max power a device will deliver/can draw.

    Really, the only use you can see is a wall outlet? How about standardizing laptop power on this, eliminating all the proprietary "brick on a leash" power supplies, much like has happened with (most) cell phones? How about a single cable connection between a desktop and printer (no separate power cable for the printer)? How about a USB air conditioner, not just a fan (jk :-) )?
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@lauren c e m a rtin.org> on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:39PM (#43517663)

    actually the power supply would need to have an extra 450 watts since you NEVER design to full rating you at the least design for the loads to be at most 90% of Full (prevents a fire hazard).

    The point is if the spec says XXX watts are available then XXX+Y watts had better be available (nasal demons are allowed for drawing under spec).

  • Re:we've had a few (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:41PM (#43517673) Journal

    fairly robust fibre optic solutions to date that carry data and are far more energy efficient. im confused as to why our peripherals dont use them

    Given what users can do to strain-relief-equipped multistrand copper power cables, they may not be quite ready for optical fiber...

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 22, 2013 @01:57PM (#43517845) Journal

    This "100watt USB!!!" nonsense has been floating around for a while, and it just never seems to get any better.

    Uncertainty is Bad. 100watts is a lot of power. Your laptop's brick is almost certainly specced for less than that. Even a desktop PSU will likely be 250-350, outside of gamers and workstations(and often the upper end of the range is...optimistic... at best). Now, if we have this '100watt USB', what are devices going to do? is your next laptop going to ship with a 265 watt brick, so that it has the same 65 watts for itself as your current one does, and can handle both its ports being used? Is it going to ship with exactly the same brick and simply brown out the USB port at some unpredictable power level?(extra credit awarded if that unpredictable level depends on whether the battery is charging or not, and the current CPU load...) If "100watts" is actually "anywhere between ~15 watts and 100watts, largely unpredictable to the consumer", what are peripheral manufacturers going to target? What good is theoretical capacity that you can't actually use because a nontrival-but-hard-to-predict percentage of your customers can't actually deliver it?

    Bus power is nice because it reduces cabling and complexity. However, if it isn't dependable, you can't rely on it, so you have to fall back on designs that pretend it isn't available. Now you have more expensive USB ports(in some devices) and wall warts or PSUs for your higher power peripherals! What a win!

    This isn't to say that any increase in bus power is bad(given USB's use cases, 'enough power to spin up a 2.5 inch HDD' or 'enough power to charge a smartphone' are pretty useful things. However, you can't just keep pushing the ceiling without limit: the wider the uncertainty, the greater the costs(for devices that actually engineer to spec and include the capability to support the top of the range) and the greater the limits and confusion(for devices that target more realistic real-world output values, and for the poor bastards who think that 'USB' means 'works when plugged into my USB port').

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:01PM (#43517877)
    The laptop has the ability to just say no. Properly behaved devices on the current USB bus must ask the host if they can switch from the minimal 100mA to the 500mA current limit. If the host says no, you're not supposed to do it. If the printer pulls it anyway, that's a problem with the printer, not the laptop.
  • Re:voltage? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by synapse7 (1075571) on Monday April 22, 2013 @02:12PM (#43517971)
    And require 16 or 14 gauge wire, that will be nice and convenient to carry around. I can't see this adoption being too widespread, only special use cases.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 22, 2013 @05:10PM (#43519817)

    I believe they mainly push for it to replace the now non-standard "PoweredUSB" [wikipedia.org] that is used a lot in cash registers and some industrial equipment. So that there is one standard that everyone can use instead of going for a (or maybe multiple) proprietary solution(s).

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