Turkish lire; Dr
- A company that specializes in CT X-ray scans has placed four different USB-C cables under its CT X-ray scanner.
- The resulting images show the differences between a simple, cheap USB-C cable and more complex, expensive cables that often carry higher specifications.
USB-C has made life easier for people with multiple electronic devices, but it has also introduced new complications to make life difficult. USB-C is just the form factor of the connector, and separate standards define data speeds compared to USB and USB charging speeds. This brings us to a situation where devices have completely different USB-C needs and require a compatible cable. So, what exactly is the difference between a cheap USB cable and an expensive USB cable? Let’s find out!
People at Lomafield Put several USB-C cables under an X-ray CT scanner to find out why a $5 cable costs so much and what marvel of over-engineering a $129 cable holds. The results were fantastic, with 3D scans that illustrate the concept beautifully.
launching, Lomafield I scanned a $5.59 USB-C cable offered by NiceTQ. They saw minimal cabling, with pins and connector covers floating independently in molded plastic, with no protection. Of the eight terminals present, only four are connected, and they are also soldered directly to the cable wires.
The product listing for this cable promises data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps (i.e. USB 3.2 Gen 2×1), but this setup can’t actually achieve those speeds. It will max out at 480Mbps, which is a fraction of the long promise. There’s also no redundancy, so if any of the four active pins stop working, the cable will die.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Apple Thunderbolt 4 cable, which costs $129. But there’s a good reason why Apple is asking for so much money. Apple promises data transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps over Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 and up to 10 Gbps over USB 3, as well as charging speeds of up to 100W. You can even connect up to six Thunderbolt 3 devices!
These features are provided by incredibly complex cables and connectors with their complex PCB assemblies.
The cable has 20 separate wires, ten of which are jointly shielded and all of which are soldered to the PCBA separately. All protected with an eight-way crimped pressure relief formula. It’s really beautiful inside.
Apple Thunderbolt 4 Pro Cable (1 meter, 100 watts)
High performance • Durable construction • Universal compatibility
Lumafield has two other cables, including the Amazon Basics cable, that it is considering. It shows us how a simple USB-C connector can be incredibly complex. It also shows us how difficult it is for the average user to determine whether the cable they’re about to buy can do the tasks it claims to do. As a general advice, we recommend purchasing charging cables from reputable brands only.
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