Am I the only one that feels this way? I guess USB-C has always been the dream. I initially bought into the idea: one cable, one port that could do it all. It sounds simple, but that’s where the simplicity ends. In my quest to understand this stupid thing, it turns out that this one port takes on many different forms and you can’t do the same things, despite it looking the same and using similar looking cables. The more I read, the more confused I am.
From what I can tell, the reality of USB-C is a total fucking nightmare.
For example, some USB-C ports don’t do video out. Some do video out via Alternate Mode on HDMI 1.4 . But, if the port is also a Thunderbolt port, video out can be done via Thunderbolt, and that would do HDMI 2.0. Depending on the type of dock/cable you buy, you could be stuck with [email protected], or suddenly doing two [email protected] screens while also charging your device….if the cable supports power delivery. These cables all look the same and plug into the same port! And some ports don’t even support video out! And of course, some cables could end up frying your device. There’s no clarity surrounding this and neither is there a clear labelling of these things. It also doesn’t help that most laptop reviews out there call it quits at “it has a USB-C port”, which isn’t enough information.
But the thing that really drove me to write this post was a new video posted on Youtube by LinusTechTips. They tested LG’s 5k monitor with a Razer Blade, and they found out that it couldn’t quite hit the 5k resolution, instead going up to only slightly beyond 4k. Why would there be a difference when the monitor is connecting to a same-spec Thunderbolt port on the Razer Blade vs the 2016 Macbook Pro?
Apparently, it’s not the same-spec, because Apple has a slightly different implementation of Thunderbolt and it has a specially designed controller that allows for the 5k display to work. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THE FRICK IS THIS A THING? I thought the difference between Thunderbolt ports with 2 vs 4 PCI lanes was enough confusion on top of USB-C itself.
After literally years trying to understand, I thought I have read everything about USB-C. Apparently fucking not! It continues to surprise me in terrible, terrible ways. The whole “Universal” bit of the Universal Serial Bus needs to stay true to its promise.
Until OEMs are able to implement the standard as an actual fucking standard instead of dicking around (looking at you, HP, for blocking third-party USB chargers), USB-C will continue to be a total nightmare.