Offering the most powerful and adaptable solution available to cabling,
USB-C has become a must-have feature in electronic products, especially monitors. In the office environment, this cable-of-all-trades is saving time, energy, and money while maximizing data transfer speeds.
Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of USB-C Monitors or discover other ways to optimize the way you work with ViewSonic solutions.
Of all computer peripherals, monitors are perhaps those whose quality we are most sensitive towards. We pay special attention to improvements like higher resolution, better color reproduction, and faster frame rates. Connecting monitors to other hardware, however, has been fraught with difficulties for years. Numerous cables, compatibility problems, and separate power supplies have led to troublesome set-ups and awkward failures in presentations.
Could USB-C be the answer?
What is USB-C?
From the very beginning, the project of USB (Universal Serial Bus) was to simplify and universalize cabling for the connection of peripherals to central computers. That covers mice, keyboards, printers, external drives, and any other devices that can be linked to laptops or desktops. After introducing USB though, the market was still suffering rotational asymmetry.
The first models, USB-A and USB-B had two different ends. That meant the power would always travel from the host to the receptor and the cable could be connected only in one way. On top of that, an extra charging cord was needed.
USB-C, by contrast, is identical at both ends, and there is no ambiguity about which way up the connector should be. Furthermore, the power capacities of USB-C are now more than apt to support high-resolution displays, laptops, and other source devices. Finally, the cable also works as a power cord.
It is with the advent of USB-C that the hope of universality has become a reality. For a more detailed explanation of USB cables, read USB-C, USB-B, and USB-A: What’s the Difference?
Why Do We Need USB-C Monitors?
In today’s digitally powered world, the demand for high-quality visual reproduction is only increasing. 4k is now standard for high-resolution screens, but already 5k and 8k resolutions are becoming available.
Though still in a niche market, 8k promises super-high resolutions of 7680 × 4320 pixels. These are not just impressive numbers; high resolutions are vital for the crispest and clearest video reproduction. They’re also great for working with multiple software applications using multiple windows and controls.
However, many older cabling technologies simply can’t keep up with driving these monitors. For example, the older VGA and DVI standards cannot deliver data fast enough for most of today’s 4k high-resolution monitors at 60Hz. In theory, it’s possible to use two DVI cables simultaneously to achieve this, but realistically speaking, this is a less than ideal situation.
Take USB-C monitors. Not only does the USB-C offer a data rate adequate for the highest resolutions, but it also has power built into it. Thus, users can use just a single cable to connect the best quality displays to a laptop or desktop.
The Benefits of USB-C Monitors
These practical improvements to the USB standard offer multiple benefits to users of external monitors that can boost productivity in all kinds of settings: homes, offices, schools, and the like. In this section, we’ll look at 6 stand-out benefits that directly improve everyday office setups.
1. Reduce Cable Complexity
One of the nuisances of having multiple devices that require different connections is finding the right cable at the right time, which is especially problematic for small offices or homes without a dedicated IT team or enough desk space to keep everything organized and ready to use.
Over the years, monitors have adopted a range of video cabling formats: VGA, SCART, DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and more. Many of these are still in use and work well, though others, like VGA, no longer offer the data transfer rates necessary for today’s high-resolution monitors.
Further troubles come when different monitors require different connections. Rooting through a box of miscellaneous cables can be laborious and frustrating. USB-C reduces all this cable clutter to a single, lightweight cord that transfers audio, video, data, and power, leaving workspaces free of distractions and offering plug-and-play connectivity for workers.
2. Simplify Power Supply
Data cables like HDMI and DisplayPort are capable of the kind of data rates needed for high-resolution displays. HDMI offers 48Gbits/s while DisplayPort provides up to 20Gbits/s per lane, which is perfectly adequate to drive 4k, 5k, and even 8k displays. However, the devices themselves still need separate power supplies.
The game-changing convenience of USB-C is that it supports much higher power transmission than earlier iterations of USB. The first USB iterations only offered 2.5W and 5V, which was useful, but just not enough for anything other than small devices. USB-C allows up to 100W and 20V, which is more than enough for large displays and many other devices.
3. Connect More Easily
It might seem like rotating a plug is a minor thing, but anyone who has used USB-A connectors in the past most probably has encountered the difficulty of plugging them in. Many USB-A connectors have the USB symbol on the top side, indicating the correct orientation, but not all. In any case, it can be hard to remember which symbol should be on top. Furthermore, forcing the incorrect entry of the ends may result in hardware damage.
USB-C’s full rotational symmetry solves all these issues. Both ends of a USB-C are the same, so there’s no need to worry about USB-A or USB-B differences. You can just plug it either way with ease and get to work seamlessly.
4. Provide In-Built Audio
One of the big shortfalls of traditional video connections is the need for a separate audio cable, which only adds up to the cable confusion. USB-C also has an answer to that. It offers an audio Accessory Mode, which allows both digital and analog audio signals to pass through the connection.
5. Carry More Data
The USB version number gives the data capacity of USB cables. Version 1.0 in 1996 offered a maximum of 12Mbits/s at full speed. The latest revision supported on USB Type-A, and Type-B connectors is USB 3.1, which provides 10Gbits/s. However, from 3.2 onwards, USB-C connectors will be needed. 3.2 is capable of 20Gbits/s, while USB4 offers an impressive 40Gbits/s. USB4 is not yet widely supported, but clearly, this is the future, and only USB-C supports it. This is the kind of data rate necessary for the highest resolution displays of the future and will easily drive 8k at 60Hz, for example.
6. Become Future-Proof
As the newer technologies emerge, the older ones drop out. Though USB-C was originally specified in 2014, only in the last couple of years have the manufacturers widely adopted it. USB-C Monitors indicate the future direction while keeping in mind the past, though: the cables themselves offer significant backward compatibility. They work with USB spec versions right back to USB 2.0.
USB-C is the future not only for the monitors, though. Many laptops, like Apple’s latest MacBooks and the newest Chromebooks, are now being sold with only USB-C ports. It is now the perfect time to future-proof your set-up and not be left behind with tangled cables and plug-in hassles.
The latest development in the line of USB connectors is changing the digital cabling world, making home and office spaces clutter-free, more productive, and future-facing. With just one cable you no longer need to worry about cumbersome power cords, slow data transfer speeds, or not having the right plug for your presentation.
If you’re exploring USB-C monitors, you may want to read what to bear in mind when purchasing a USB-C Monitor or browse Viewsonic’s range of USB-C monitors.