It’s been almost a year since we told you how next-gen USB-C cables would nearly double the amount of power they can carry to 240W, enough to let you ditch the proprietary power brick for all but the beefiest gaming laptops. Now, we’re seeing the first signs of life: the first USB-C 2.1 cables have broken cover with up to 240W of power and up to 40Gbps of data. They’re from a Dutch manufacturer named Club3D (via Tom’s Hardware) that doesn’t sell cables on its website, and they don’t yet seem to be in stock at retailers yet either.
Not that you’d necessarily want to buy one yet, of course! There aren’t any gadgets designed to use 240W of USB-C power yet, nor are there any 240W USB-C chargers, so these cables aren’t going to offer you anything new ‘til the chicken-and-egg issue gets resolved.
But that’s not the only caveat you should be aware of. As we feared last September when the USB Implementers Forum released its USB-C 2.1 branding guidelines, it looks like manufacturers are still free to mix and match which capabilities you’ll actually get from a cable.
Not only does Club3D have a one-meter cable with the holy grail of 8K / 60 video, 40Gbps of data, and 240W of power, but it’s also got a two-meter cable with only half the data rate. And — get this — there’s a third two-meter cable that only carries a paltry 480Mbps of data. (That one’s stuck at USB 2.0 speeds for some reason.)
Thankfully, it does look like these cables will be clearly marked to let you know which capabilities they actually carry — thank you USB-IF for the labels! Hopefully other cablemakers will follow suit. And it’s good to know that a 240W cable can stretch to at least six and a half feet long, though hopefully we’ll see even longer ones, too. While 240W may sound like a lot of watts, a typical household AC outlet can put out thousands.