Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Markeyus Franks
Computers have made life so easy for us, from revolutionizing how we handle data to changing how entertainment works. Like all technology, the computer is the subject of consistent innovation. With time, the user interface, quality of programs, and overall graphics kept improving, leading to an increased need for storage in hard drives and data transfer methods. This entered the CD era, bringing data transfer ability to a whopping 700 MB. But this was brief. Soon, we saw DVDs, Blu-Ray, and USBs enter the data market, leaving CDs forgotten to time.
Today, most modern computers lack the CD drive and are replaced entirely with the USB. The USB port allows users to connect a USB Flash drive, external hard drives, and countless other peripheral devices. Like the CD, the USB is constantly improving, with incremental improvements to introducing the revolutionary USB-C. The USB-C is more portable and offers a range of capabilities, making it a one-stop solution to all your PC needs. If you cannot find a USB-C port on your computer, read on to find out why!
Do I Need a USB-C Port?
The short answer to this question: Yes. The USB-A port gave us a range of functionality, from connecting keyboards, mice, adapters, and external hard drives to installing a new Windows OS. However, it could have been better. The port makers should have paid more attention to the importance of a reversible port, which was corrected in the coming innovation, the USB-C.
Not only is the USB-C sleeker, better looking, and more convenient, but it is also leaps and bounds ahead in functionality. You can get charging and data transfer all through a single port, and some laptops today only come with a single USB-C port that can do it all. A widespread use for the USB-C is the DisplayPort Alt Mode, which allows you to connect multiple displays through a single port. Versatility aside, the USB-C can stream 4k and 8k video that the USB-A cannot. A complete article can be written on the USB-C alone, so let’s leave it here:
The USB-C is better than the USB-A in every way possible, so if you need better features, you need the USB-C.
Why Doesn’t my PC Have a USB-C Port?
USB-C ports are pretty much standard on most modern PCs, but if your PC somehow lacks it, here are some possible reasons:
Year of Build
The USB-C became popular in the last decade, starting with Andriod smartphones. It offered superior charging and data transfer capabilities and, on some devices, even allowed chain charging. These features became much desired in laptops, so gradually, the USB-C made its way onto computers. There is a chance your laptops may have been manufactured before USB-C became a thing, so your model never came with a USB-C port.
The USB-C, given its advanced features, is an expensive thing to add to bulk production. If you buy a laptop on a low budget, manufacturers tend to cut costs by keeping only the essentials in a computer. While USB-C gives you advanced options, you can access all basic features without it. Therefore, budget laptops may not have the luxury of a USB-C port.
Form Factor and Design
Despite the highly sleek and portable size of the USB-C, it can still be challenging to integrate it into very thin laptops or notebooks. These laptops omit most physical ports and opt for wireless connectivity through cloud storage or Bluetooth. It is also possible that your laptop is a variant where this specific port was excluded in the design. You may find the same laptop in a different variant featuring the type C.
Laptops are built to serve all kinds of businesses, and sometimes, one feature is more critical to a business than another. For example, for gaming, users prefer a dedicated graphics card with pre-existing HDMI and DisplayPort instead of a USB-C. In the case of Chromebooks and other notebooks dedicated to web surfing, most of the storage is on the cloud, and the hardware is not flashy enough to run heavy software. Therefore, the need for a USB-C port is rendered negligible.
Alternatives to USB-C
The USB-C is a highly versatile platform; as discussed above, it is hard to match its diversity. But that does not mean you are stuck completely. You may have various ports to serve your purpose, and sometimes, you get better results! Here are the alternatives to the USB-C that might help you out:
The USB-A was the successor to the USB-C port. When the USB-A was introduced, computers usually came with two or four ports. The USB quickly became the standard port for most external devices attached to the laptop, except displays and chargers. It gradually eliminated the analog ports on peripheral devices and storage mediums like the CD and DVDs. Despite its diverse functionality, the USB-A was limited by its speed and design. However, you can still get most, if not all, of the connectivity features you get with the USB-C.
The introduction of Wi-Fi completely transformed the digital world as we know it. Before Wi-Fi existed, all your media and data were scattered, and the only place to access the internet was an ethernet cable usually fixed at your workspace. Wi-Fi allows us to use multiple devices all around the home while browsing the internet.
With connectivity to the internet came other phenomenal features as developers further worked on Wi-Fi technology. You can share data and even connect to external displays using the medium. Most modern devices like televisions, printers, and smart home appliances come with Wi-Fi and the convenience of controlling them remotely. In terms of scalability and convenience, Wi-Fi has a USB-C beat, but it comes at the cost of speed and compatibility across multiple platforms.
One of the best features that USB-C brought was the ability to stream media at 4k and 8k resolutions at high refresh rates. But before USB-C made its way into the world of computers, HDMI had become the standard mode of media transmission from output devices like computers, gaming consoles, cameras, and even phones to display devices.
Not only does HDMI offer the same Ultra-high-resolution quality, but it also offers lesser latency and an even higher refresh rate than the USB-C. And just like the USB-C, you can have audio and video signals through a single cable. HDMI is more convenient than USB-C because countless devices come with HDMI compatibility, unlike USB-C.
Despite its misleading name, the DisplayPort sends audio and video signals simultaneously like the HDMI port. While it does not have the data transfer functionalities that the USB-C offers, it is the best medium for transmitting video signals. The DisplayPort has an unmatched refresh rate and latency across all media output protocols. It also allows users to attach multiple displays to their setup, making it the go-to port for gaming enthusiasts.
The VGA port is an alternative you would only come to if you have an older machine. If, unfortunately, your computer does not have HDMI or DisplayPort, it must have a VGA port, as it was the standard display protocol in computers across the board before HDMI. The VGA port offers resolutions up to 720p and is perfect for attaching a display to your computer or a printer/additional monitor to your laptop. The drawbacks of the VGA Port are that you cannot connect to the internet, transfer data, or send audio signals through it. However, it is a good option if you are in a crunch.
USB-C Adapters and Docks
Sometimes, you have no other option but to look for a way to make USB-C work. It could be the limitation of another device, or it just boils down to your preference. Either way, there are many ways you can still enjoy a portion of the USB-C’s functionality through USB-C adapters and docking stations;
This handy little device is the perfect method to bridge an older technology to a newer one. This allows your traditional USB-A port to be used for devices that only connect through the USB-C. Most of these adapters are plug-and-play, so you won’t have to install any extra software to make them work. Plus, if you get a suitable adapter, you can charge your USB-C device with a USB-A port, transfer files faster than a USB-A device on both ends, and transmit audio and video signals to an external display.
Some adapters may require external power, and some may have an extra port or two. So, choose the correct adapter for your utilization.
With the increase in their popularity, you may be hearing about these stations more and more. The docking station is a one-cable solution for all your devices, not just a USB-A to USB-C converter. A docking station allows you to connect additional displays, audio devices, keyboards, mice, and even printers into a single port on your PC. Luckily, docking stations have several extra USB ports, and you can easily find one with an additional USB-C port.