Normalization ftw

There’s several upsides on standardizing on cables and devices when possible. In my case, that’s been braided (i.e., tangle free) USB-C cables rated for 100W charging when the cables are long and comparable 10 Gbit/s or faster rated cables when they’re short.

One of these upsides is “Ahh, it’ll charge a laptop!” when paring a suitable charger with any of my longer cables. These cables are usually poor on data speed but superb at power delivery, which is often what I want when the desired cable is measured in meters, which is also when I really want tangle free….lol.

Another is knowing that when I grab a smaller cable, it’s going to be good enough to feed I/O devices like a NVMe based SSD or any SATA thing I’ve still got handy. Aptly, most of these short cables either came with NVMe enclosures rated for 10 Gbit/s USB connectivity or are in fact Thunderbolt 3/4 cables rated for both 40 Gbit/s connectivity and 100W charging.

Increasingly, when the cables are short I’m aiming for 40 Gbit/s + 100W unless they’re packaged with something. The downside is that Thunderbolt cables are costly and have limited cable lengths, but generally are sufficient for ‘all the USB things’ once you’ve groaned at the bill. If I find myself buying a short cable these days, I’ll save up for a Thunderbolt for future proofing because more and more of my devices support either Thunderbolt or USB at 40 Gbit/s.

For devices in general, I’ve been swinging for USB-C 10 Gbit/s for a while now. Things like motherboards, drive enclosures and external drives, USB hubs and PCI-E expansion cards are chosen based on this. This choice was made based on the rise of the NVMe external drive, and the fact that such a cable will be no problemo when pared with my older gear that maxes out at USB 3.0 or SATA speeds.

Similarly for chargers, the rare time that I buy a charger, I’ve generally aimed for the 90~100W scenario. In the sense that most of my devices will happily charge from a 45W or 65W charger, and the hungriest ship with a 90W charger.

Is this excessive? Not really. Why? Well, let’s see… my primary machine has 40G ports, my gaming machine has 10G ports and a card with 40G ports. SteamDeck has a 10G port and my file server has an expansion card with 10G ports.

Much like USB-A and MicroUSB-B has become relegated to specialized and rare things around here over the past decade, so has 5 Gbit/s connectivity begun to age out of the herd ;).