Asus' USB 3.1 UPD Panel Gives You Dual Type-C USB Ports

The new rage-proof Type-C USB connectors, along with the updated USB 3.1 standard, continue their slow rollout, appearing on more and more new PC motherboards and consumer electronics. Meanwhile, the SATA Express plugs on similarly new boards mostly remain vacant of any products to use them with - until now, with Asus' USB 3.1 UPD Panel.

Provided you have a Skylake Z170-chipset motherboard with SATA Express, plus two molex connectors from your power supply, the UPD Panel will go in a 5.25" bay in your PC case (or an x1 PCIe slot on your motherboard, but more on that later), and provide two Type-C ports and all the benefits of USB 3.1, like boosted device charging and higher data rates.

 

 

The port on the left side of that faceplate supports the new Power Delivery Standard 2.0 of USB 3.1, which allows for a whopping 100 watts of power to charge compliant devices. Both ports can move data at up to 10 Gbit/s, up from the 5 Gbit/s of USB 3.0. Asus doesn't disclose which USB 3.1 controller chip it's sourcing for the UPD Panel, though.

 

 

In a clever twist, the USB 3.1 UPD Panel isn't just a 5.25" bay device - hiding inside the case is a PCIe card that you can plug into a free slot on your motherboard, if you don't have an empty 5.25" bay to use. Still, regardless of what form the UPD Panel takes, you still need a free SATA Express and pair of molex connectors.

 

 

So what will the Asus USB 3.1 UPD Panel cost you? Amazon has them for $192 USD, and if that seems a little high, it probably is. They go for roughly $58 each in Germany, for example. Asus likely hasn't officially released these in the States yet.

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