Charging Cable questions for new "Late '16" TB MBPro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by enzo thecat, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. enzo thecat, Nov 27, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016

    enzo thecat macrumors 6502

    enzo thecat

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    #1
    Is it true that the charging cable that comes with the new MBPro is a downgraded Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable that can only charge the computer and is not capable of data transfer?

    Is it also true that you can can charge the computer with a normal Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable that does allow data transfer?

    If that is the case, would it be wise to just throw away the one that comes with it and replace it with one capable of fast data transfer so you are never stuck without a cable that can transfer data quickly?

    I ordered one without knowing that magsafe charger is gone so I am just learning about this here on MR.
     
  2. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 68040

    SoyCapitanSoyCapitan

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  3. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #3
    The cable that comes with the 2016 MacBook Pros can charge at up to 20V 5A (for 100W) and support USB 2 transfer speeds.

    This might sound disappointing however don't throw it away
    • It is the longest and safest USB-C charge cable on the market. Most are closer to 1 metre.
    • Most USB-C cables today only support 20V 3A (for 60W) which isn't enough for a 15" MacBook Pro.
    • USB-C is quite a tricky specification in that manufacturers will claim their cables can do one thing but in reality they can't. So if you find a cable that can do everything Apple's can do, but also claims to support USB 3 speeds, I would be very suspicious.
    :)
     
  4. Dunkrag macrumors regular

    Dunkrag

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    #4
    Can anyone give me a link to Apple's USB-C cable that actually does function as a USB-C cable is supposed to and not the one that is crippled out the box to 'charging' only.. I can't find it on e their website at all? Not much point in putting USB-C ports in your equipment if you don't make the bales for them..
     
  5. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #5
    If you read my post you will see it isn't crippled. If Apple gave it USB 3 transfer speeds, it would have to be only 1 metre long. I think a 1 metre long cable that can charge and do fast data is more crippled out the box than a 2 metre long cable that can charge and do slow data.

    Apple don't make a USB-C cable that supports USB 3 speeds. They recommend, and sell, Belkin's USB-C cable for this use.
     
  6. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

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    #6
    this is gonna be fun. a drawer full of cables and adapters that all look the same but have differing capabilities and limits and possibly then only with certain machines and controllers.
     
  7. cityboy-100 macrumors member

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    #7
    Thanks @Brookzy, I didn't know much about this cable before your post.
     
  8. jimthing macrumors 6502a

    jimthing

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    London, UK
    #8
    Questions, seemingly hidden by Intel and the cable industry, and not made public:

    1) What is the theoretical max length of a 15" MBP charging cable, then? (i.e. will longer than 2m ones arrive?)
    2) What is the theoretical max length of a (non-optical) standard copper Thunderbolt data cable?
    3) Will there be a single cable that can do both at full speed? (i.e. data at 40Gbit, charge at 87W, and be the max length possible for copper [previously 3m on Tbolt 1/2]?)

    4) When will we see data-only optical Thunderbolt 3 cables available (eg. from Corning/OWC/etc.)?
    — I emailed Corning and they said likely end-2017 at the earliest, but could some other company arrive with one...?
     
  9. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #9
    From what I have gathered, there are no theoretical maximum lengths. They just have to meet the specifications and then manufacturers can make them as long as they want.

    So far no-one has been able to match Apple's 2 metres. The voltage drops over these lengths of cable seem to be very large, to the extent they come close to violating the specification.

    The Apple 2 metre USB-C charging cable has almost no voltage drop though, so perhaps if they allowed some voltage drop to occur they could make a cable that is even longer.

    There will be cables that can do 40 Gbps and 87W - the cable that will ship with the LG UltraFine 5K will do just that - however I assume it is, like the 2 metre Belkin TB3 cable, dependent on fibre optics and what is effectively some hacking.

    In terms of copper-only 40 Gbps 87W cables, there is uncertainly: looking at the composition and capabilities of the TB3 cables on the market today, they should be up to the task of handling 100W. However none I have found are eMarked for 100W - they are all limited to 60W. The manufacturers must know something we don't.
     
  10. enzo thecat, Nov 27, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016

    enzo thecat thread starter macrumors 6502

    enzo thecat

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    #10
    Thanks for the discussion and answers. I knew nothing about the cables. I've never had a thunderbolt cable of any kind and I had no idea that the magsafe was gone. The information provided here was a thorough and quick lesson.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 27, 2016 ---
    I was thinking the same thing. I already have a drawer full of lightening cables for my family's iOS devices and (micro/mini usb) toys and bluetooth devices. Now mixed in the birds nest will be the USB-C charging cable and a USB-to-lightening cable.
     
  11. bcaslis macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #11
    If you are looking for USB-C data cables, monoprice is a good place to get them. I've been using the 3ft and 1.5ft cables with no issues. Make sure you get the USB-C USB 3.1 cables (they sell USB-C USB 2.0 cables also).
     
  12. jimthing, Nov 27, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016

    jimthing macrumors 6502a

    jimthing

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    #12
    That's not what is meant by theoretical max; it means the "absolute max" scientifically available.
    Hence, Tbolt 1/2 had a theoretical max of 3m over copper (though for reasons unknown Apple only offered up to 2m), while optical Thunderbolt cables that only do data NOT power could do up to 60m (eg. Corning: http://www.corning.com/optical-cabl...e/en/products/thunderbolt-optical-cables.html – I have a 10m one).
    So the question is whether this 3m length is also going to be the same max with Tbolt 3, or is it going to drop to less (eg. the 2m cable being supplied with the LG 5K: http://www.apple.com/uk/shop/product/HKN62B/A/lg-ultrafine-5k-display )?

    The Belkin (I have it) is not dependant on "fibre optics" at all. These are all copper ones if they involve power. The weird thing about the packaging, is that it says "Tbolt 3: tick, up to 40Gbps", "USB 2.0: tick", "Power: up to 60W" (no ticks next to the "USB 3.0"(?!) or "DisplayPort" lines?). How can it do full Tbolt at 40Gbit, but not do USB 3.0 5Gbps (and presumably USB-C 3.1v2 at 10Gbps either)??

    The whole cabling thing is starting to get on my nerves, as if I'm paying £48 for one of the so-called better cables, you want to know is does Tbolt AND USB-C 3.1 at full speed, and preferably while charging the 15".
    Apple have been entirely unclear on these things IMO, and they should have a proper knowledge base article on what will be doable or not on the 15" machine.
     
  13. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #13
    Nathan K speculated it is an active cable that uses optical cabling and copper cabling, and this is why it is not backwards-compatible with USB or DisplayPort; this also explaining the cost difference.

    I agree with what you say about Apple not making this situation clear enough.
     
  14. shareef777 macrumors 68020

    shareef777

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    #14
    Strangely, they don't offer a 1m cable at all. I figure a lot of people have power strips on their desk and a 2m cable is unwieldy, especially since they removed the prongs to foil the cable around the power adapter. I have a permanent charger on top of my desk and another in my living room. Would of been nice to be able to buy a 1m cable (especially if it's $10 cheaper) then have the current 2m which sits mostly rolled up.
     
  15. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #15
    Same here, my cable is coiled up under my desk! :p
     
  16. xraydoc macrumors 604

    xraydoc

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    #16
  17. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #17
    Apple sells a 1 meter Belkin Thunderbolt 3 cable that is capable of 40/Gbs for $22 (link) and a 2 meter version for $52 (link).

    If you want just USB-C support, Monoprice sells some cables that are within spec.
     
  18. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #18
    The Belkin and Monoprice cables have already been mentioned above - the Belkin and most Monoprice cables are not ideal for charging a 15" MacBook Pro as they are limited to 60W. The last time I checked the only 5A Monoprice USB-C cables were under 1 metre in length.

    (Also the 2 metre Belkin TB3 cable does not support USB-C.)
     
  19. xraydoc macrumors 604

    xraydoc

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    #19
    I'm not sure you'd want to use a TB3 cable as a USB (USB-C) cable. Not sure you even can, to be honest.
     
  20. Brookzy macrumors 601

    Brookzy

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    #20
    You can on the vast majority of them, just not the 2 metre Belkin one. :)
     

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