Continuing the discussion from Lightning cables recommendations?:
I don’t understand USB C nearly as well as I’d like to. I understand that USB C often refers only to the connector type and not about any of the capabilities of the cable itself. I understand this has led to much confusion and pain.
The simple (albeit more expensive answer) is to only buy thunderbolt cables so you never have an issue but I grant that that isn’t really the best answer. Even if you just make sure you’re buying USB 3.1 Cables chances are that would be enough for most people since they probably aren’t using thunderbolt anyway. I understand that full thunderbolt speeds get limited by length, 0.5M to get 40Mbit and 1.0M to get 20Mbit (Which I assume this has to do with signal loss and or latency over length), which also means they should be easy to spot… they are the short ones
Another solution would be to colour code your cables making it easy to identify the one you might need. Again the concept being that you should stick to buying only USB 3.1 USB C cables to limit the pain.
So there are some details here and there are plenty of other articles out there too, although that’s where I’m struggling.
There are a plenty of articles that talk about the differences between connector shapes and sizes and speeds of different specs, but detailed information specifically about USB C and the issues above are harder to track down.
Bottom line here, USB C is a 24 pin connector that can do lots of different things, but the questions, all specifically about USB C cables.
What physical difference is there is a 2.0/3.0/3.1 rated cable?
Are makers simply not using all the pins?
Do they have all the wires but need to be a higher quality wire and/or have better shielding?
The same question is there about USB A too. USB 2.0 vs 3.0 is easy, there is extra pins. What is the physical difference between a 3.0 and 3.1 rated cable?
For example. I have an external enclosure for a SATA drive that is labelled as USB 3.1. It cable with a USB-A to Micro-B cable (with its tell-tale aqua USB A connector). I swapped that out for a USB-C to Micro-B cable which was labelled as USB 3.0. It’s plugged into the thunderbolt / USB C 3.1 point on my wifes iMac…. But what speed is that running at 3.0 Speeds or 3.1 Speeds?
Bottom line, what sort of devices does the average person actually have and what sort of cables to they really need? Sure high speed thunderbolt for external GPU, displays and possibly storage, but otherwise?? Wouldn’t these sort of devices likely have their cables all but permanently connected and sitting on a desk somewhere?
Sure, portable devices are always going to have their cables mixed up and lost, but does the average person really need more than a box of 3.0/3.1 specced cables?
So like I said, plenty of pages talking about the different speeds of the connections, none seem to be talking about what physically makes them different.