Home Tech Gaming notebooks should get their own USB-C chargers soon
Gaming notebooks should get their own USB-C chargers soon

Gaming notebooks should get their own USB-C chargers soon


Death to proprietary laptop chargers!

gaming pc power brick cms resized

Mark Hachman

Today’s Best Tech Deals

Picked by PCWorld’s Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect’s Editors

The group overseeing the USB specification has dramatically expanded its power capabilities to allow USB-C chargers to carry up to 240 watts, allowing standard USB-C chargers greater latitude to take over from proprietary laptop charging bricks and power gaming notebooks.

The USB Implementors Forum (USB-IF) issued revision 2.1 to the USB-C specification on Tuesday, as noticed by CNET. The revised specification contains language that adds Expanded Power Range cables, which expand the capability of the USB-C cable to carry 100W to the new EPR range of 240W. Devices supporting the new spec should be available in the second half of 2021, CNET cited the USB-IF as saying.

What this means is that laptop and phone chargers that use the emerging USB-C standard will carry more power. Most productivity laptops can run on 65 watts, allowing them to use USB-C chargers that run on the older 100W specification. Gaming laptops, however, can demand substantially more to power their H-series CPUs and discrete GPUs, and use proprietary charging interfaces to boot. It will be these notebooks that will benefit from the new USB-C power spec, allowing you to buy a spare USB-C charging brick or use competition to help force prices down.

gaming pc power brick zoomed edited Mark Hachman / IDG

The power transformer on a gaming laptop usually consumes far more power than one designed for productivity. The power a power brick consumes is generally printed on the brick itself, though you may have to hunt for it.

The USB-IF said that the cable designs may be slightly different from normal cables, with a capacitor added to each plug to prevent power arcing between the plug and the USB-C connector. It’s less clear, however, how you’ll be able to tell an EPR cable from a “normal” USB-C cable; while the USB-IF said that all EPR cables must be electronically marked and visibly identified with EPR-capable identification icons, the USB-IF didn’t publicly define what those would be.

The USB-IF also didn’t say how the existing ecosystem of USB-C hubs will be affected. Presumably, manufacturers will have to notify customers whether their hubs are EPR-capable, and design for the additional power requirements.

USB-C already has gone a long way towards removing the mishmash of competing I/O plugs and connectors from the PC, with DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, and USB all running over the same physical connector. Now it’s going to standardize laptop power bricks, too.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here