Microsoft supports new USB version that could power PCs

The Universal Serial Bus port, better known as USB, has gone through three major versions since launching a number of years ago. USB 3.0 is the latest version of the file and power transfer technology, and is now available on most new PCs. Now there's word that a new USB standard could launch in the very near future and could eliminate a few standard power cables in the process.

News.com reports that the standard is being called USB PD, for Power Delivery and it's designed to offer users more powerful power charging options. Currently, USB 3.0 can carry 4.5 watts of power, and a variant, USB BC, can go even higher to 7.5 watts. USB ports can be used now to power up smartphones, media players, cameras and tablets.

USB PD, however, could carry as much as 100 watts, enough to power big PC monitors, laptops or even workstations. The USB Implementers Forum finalized the USB PD standard in July, which has the support of Microsoft. Other companies that will support USB PD include Intel, Renesas Electronics, ST-Ericsson, and Texas Instruments. Nokia has also put its thumbs up in favor of USB PD.

We could see the first products with USB PD ports available near the end of 2012. This would seem to be a major roadblock for Intel's Thunderbolt port technology, which debuted on some Apple devices in 2011 but has been slow to make its way on PCs.

Source: News.com | Image via Intel

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31 Comments

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..psu burden
bad idea, better psu's need to become main stream.
i've had to solder in new caps on them far too many times.
or just witnessed blown caps, but how many people clean inside their psu's ?

This will put higher requirements for the power supply in a host PC, though? The 100W it can output must be drawn from the PSU, leaving 100W less for the rest of the components?

My CPU is already taking more than 100W on load. And powering a workstation? No. This just creates more mess with the cables then it already is.

Sounds like it fits exactly to the need of Microsoft Multipoint Server.
Connect a screen, mouse and keyboard to the server et viola, you have a thin client.
And on another thought, to connect more thin clients you would need a hub.
10 client means 1Kw hub?! :twich:

theyarecomingforyou said,
I would love to see USB replace traditional electrical sockets, as that way you wouldn't have to worry about adapters when travelling.

I think it will be a while before USB can carry 120v and power my appliances, plus we have a century of devices that would have to have adapters. It would be nice to see DC supplemental outlets powered by their own household transformer but I don't think traditional outlets will ever go away. Plus what voltage would they carry? 19v, 12v, 9? I think smaller more efficient power supplies in devices are a better solution.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I would love to see USB replace traditional electrical sockets, as that way you wouldn't have to worry about adapters when travelling.

it would be nice, but won't happen. Power sockets are different in many countries to make the citizens buy equipment locally, instead of buying it in another country, thus not creating wealth, jobs and tax money in the country.

sviola said,

it would be nice, but won't happen. Power sockets are different in many countries to make the citizens buy equipment locally, instead of buying it in another country, thus not creating wealth, jobs and tax money in the country.

That reasoning is a bit far fetched. Getting appropriate power socket adapter is not a problem for anyone. It is more about historical legacy.

Edited by kaczula, Sep 14 2012, 8:24pm :

theyarecomingforyou said,
I would love to see USB replace traditional electrical sockets, as that way you wouldn't have to worry about adapters when travelling.

until USB can carry 15+ amps of power that ain't happening... you wont be plugging your microwave in via USB anytime in the future...

neufuse said,

until USB can carry 15+ amps of power that ain't happening... you wont be plugging your microwave in via USB anytime in the future...

This is very true, however there is a point here - ok, so things like Microwaves, Driers and the like will always need a lot more power, but I dare say that at least 2/3 of the things you have plugged in at home could be powered by a 100w USB socket. Plus, as they're a lot smaller in size, you could fit several of them in the same area. Radios, lamps, tablets, set top boxes, etc. could probably mostly be powered this way.
It wouldn't be a complete solution, but it's certainly worth considering as a first step towards a universal power outlet. I mean, most of the devices people travel with don't need a lot of power so there's a clear benefit right away, for hotels rooms and the like.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I would love to see USB replace traditional electrical sockets, as that way you wouldn't have to worry about adapters when travelling.

YES! Let's just use adapters for every other blessed thing we own instead! Just so long as we no longer have to to charge our phones it's pure WIN! /Sarcasm...

Majesticmerc said,

Well once USB-PD comes out, yeah


Can USB PD deliver enough power for fridges, toasters, dishwashers, hair dryers, coffee makers, and vacuum cleaners?

Phouchg said,
So much for the "universal" part of USB, though.

Pretty much. It would have to be it's own separate connector or else anything else plugged into it would get fried. So at that point, why even consider it USB?

Astra.Xtreme said,

Pretty much. It would have to be it's own separate connector or else anything else plugged into it would get fried. So at that point, why even consider it USB?

It will obviously have new pins for power but I'm sure it will still be backwards compatible with older USB devices. They wouldn't be fried since they would not make contact with the new power connectors. The data pins will remain the same as before.

Skyfrog said,

It will obviously have new pins for power but I'm sure it will still be backwards compatible with older USB devices. They wouldn't be fried since they would not make contact with the new power connectors. The data pins will remain the same as before.

There are no extra pins and nothing gets fried. USB PD is fully compatible with the exising USB2/3 cables and sockets.

Additional power has to be specifically requested by the device and negotiated between both ends (based on the device requirements, cable quality, host capabilities, etc). USB PD is also bi-directional, so in theory you could for instance power one laptop by using another laptop. I think this info should be included in the news.

I advise looking into this presentation (it has been around for a while):

http://www.usb.org/developers/...ery/PD_1.0_Introduction.pdf

Edited by kaczula, Sep 14 2012, 8:08pm :

Skyfrog said,

It will obviously have new pins for power but I'm sure it will still be backwards compatible with older USB devices. They wouldn't be fried since they would not make contact with the new power connectors. The data pins will remain the same as before.

I see, I figured it would be like USB 3.0 and add some new connectors.

kaczula said,

There are no extra pins and nothing gets fried. USB PD is fully compatible with the exising USB2/3 cables and sockets.

Additional power has to be specifically requested by the device and negotiated between both ends (based on the device requirements, cable quality, host capabilities, etc). USB PD is also bi-directional, so in theory you could for instance power one laptop by using another laptop. I think this info should be included in the news.

I advise looking into this presentation (it has been around for a while):

http://www.usb.org/developers/...ery/PD_1.0_Introduction.pdf

I can see it now, new forms of viruses that fake the request frying attrached/legacy devices.

JaredFrost said,

I can see it now, new forms of viruses that fake the request frying attrached/legacy devices.

I doubt it. PoE (Power over Ethernet) also requires the device to request power and it has been around for awhile.

Skyfrog said,

It will obviously have new pins for power but I'm sure it will still be backwards compatible with older USB devices. They wouldn't be fried since they would not make contact with the new power connectors. The data pins will remain the same as before.


I would agree. This has been the goal with every other revision (and they've handled that very well). I have no doubt at all that that would be the case here as well...

Maybe this will finally bring about an alternative to the various power outlets. It would be nice to have a "universal" DC output option at the plug that could be installed alongside traditional AC outlets.

xpxp2002 said,
Maybe this will finally bring about an alternative to the various power outlets. It would be nice to have a "universal" DC output option at the plug that could be installed alongside traditional AC outlets.

Adore the idea!

GS:mac