MSI Prepares First PC Motherboard With USB 3.1, Type-C Port

A boosted revision to the USB 3.0 spec, USB 3.1, is beginning its rollout, and with it comes a port design that solves a really annoying problem, at least for some people, with USB ports. You know the thing – you try to plug in a USB device and it won't go in, so you flip it over; it still won't go in, so you flip it again, and on and on.



Well, the new type-C port is not only smaller than the existing type-A and type-B jacks. It's also reversible – you can plug a device upside down or right-side up; either way, it will connect. Type-C also hopes to eliminate cables that have different USB port types on each end, and this all comes with the USB 3.1 spec's 10 Gb/s data rate, up from 3.0's 5 Gb/s.

Of course, being a brand new standard and all, you'll be dealing with the old-style USB plugs for a while longer. Accordingly, MSI announced a motherboard boasting type-C at CES, but it's not that exciting.



MSI trumpets the Z97A Gaming 6 as the “world's first motherboard to feature USB Type-C”. It has a single type-C USB 3.1 port on its back panel, surrounded by four of the usual type-A plugs, likely at 3.0 speed. I wouldn't get this board for the new USB alone, but, being an upper-end product, it may have other redeeming features.

The Z97A Gaming 6 features Intel Haswell Refresh CPU support, an overclocking-friendly Z97 chipset, three physical PCIe x16 slots, SATA Express, souped-up onboard audio, and a bold colour scheme, among other things. There's no word on availability, but expect pricing at close to $200.

As for USB 3.1, expect more and more new products, particularly smartphones and tablets, to ditch type-A and micro-B connectors for the spiffy type-C in the coming months.