Over the past few years most smartphone makers have switched from micro USB ports to USB Type-C ports, and a growing number of laptops also ship with USB-C power adapters, allowing you to charge many of your gadgets with a single charger.

But the most powerful gaming laptops and mobile workstations? They still tend to ship with proprietary power bricks because existing USB-C chargers aren’t powerful enough.

That could change soon. An update to the USB Type-C cable and connector specification bumps up the maximum power delivery capabilities from 100 watts to 240 watts.

Up until now it’s been easy enough for PC makers to include a USB-C power adapter with laptops sporting 15-watt Intel or AMD U-series processors, and even some models with 35-watt or 45-watt chips and entry-level graphics.

Bumping the power delivery standard to 240 watt should make it possible to do the same with many higher-power laptops designed for gaming or mobile workstation use.

It’s even conceivable that USB-C power supplies could become more common for desktop computers in the future, especially more energy-efficient models like Apple’s new ARM-powered Mac Mini and iMac.

via Benson Leung, Ars Technica, and CNET

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  1. Calling a single voltage ac-to-dc power supply proprietary is a bit of a stretch. As long as the voltage matches, which is easy to check with a simple voltmeter, and the rated current is high enough, you can adapt anything to anything else. Plus there are a few standards for barrel jack sizes.
    Besides that, there’s a lot less stuff to break at the connector of a barrel jack.

    1. Proprietary in the sense that only they know how to make it, no. Proprietary in the sense that only they make it, probably.
      There may be some standards regarding barrel jacks, but there are so many of them that there’s still no consistency. If I have one and it breaks, I can hope that it’s one of the three or four more common types and make a replacement, or I can basically give up and buy something intended as a replacement for the specific thing. Easy enough if it’s a manufacturer standard, hard if it’s not. For that reason, I prefer USB-C or even the older USB connectors when possible. I know I can get replacement cables and I already have several.