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USB 3.1 (Type C) front I/O panels in the works?

post #1 of 45
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I really like how CaseLabs offers a variety of options for front panel power/reset and I/O connections which are mostly modular. For those who choose a front panel that includes the additional ports, they tend to include front panel HD audio Headphone / Mic, as well as USB 3.0. Given that USB 3.1 has made considerable headway into the enthusiast userbase thanks to Z170 and X99, especially when it comes to TypeC, are there any plans to transition to the new standard?

If I am understanding it correctly, there are lots of inexpensive USB A - to USB-C adapters allowing older devices to plug into TypeC ports, yet it is frowned upon/rarer/not compatible to do the reverse according to the standard. . Thus, it seems logical to have the new CaseLabs front panels offer up to 4x USB 3.1 Type-C depending on space/layout, alongside the front panel audio? Does something like this seem feasible?

Now if we were really going for a moonshot, making one or more of those ports Thunderbolt 3 compliant would be possibly a first for PC cases, as far as I'm aware....but if it was even feasible I expect it would add considerable cost, so I would guess it would be a separate option from the "standard" USB 3.1 TypeC kit.

Thanks!
post #2 of 45
Give it 1-3 years before sub-c becomes mainstream. For me I hate the size of USB ports. Can't wait for typeC to become the norm.
post #3 of 45
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post #4 of 45
This is likely to become a classic "chicken or egg" situation. Device manufacturers are likely to be slow to roll out type C devices because there is enough support for them. Case manufacturers will lag because there isn't enough demand. The market is slower to move than most people realize (especially here on OCN). We were years late to the USB 3.0 party and yet, still got flack for dropping 2.0 connectors. At least now, we're not reliant on third parties as we were in the past (we make our own now), so we're watching the market to see how it plays out. If the laptop market moves quickly on it, then the changeover will likely be much faster.
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post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Case Labs View Post

This is likely to become a classic "chicken or egg" situation. Device manufacturers are likely to be slow to roll out type C devices because there is enough support for them. Case manufacturers will lag because there isn't enough demand. The market is slower to move than most people realize (especially here on OCN). We were years late to the USB 3.0 party and yet, still got flack for dropping 2.0 connectors. At least now, we're not reliant on third parties as we were in the past (we make our own now), so we're watching the market to see how it plays out. If the laptop market moves quickly on it, then the changeover will likely be much faster.

You got flack for dropping USB 2.0 connectors because you deserved it. USB 2.0 is still alive and well, despite USB. 3.0 taking over. Many people have peripherals that are USB 2.0 and are not going to discard them just because a new standard came along, especially when those peripherals are working just fine and meeting their needs. Pretty much all motherboards (if not all of them) still have USB 2.0 headers, even the newest ones. There is no good reason to not have both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 on a case, especially since it makes more USB ports available without resorting to potentially speed killing hubs (btw, technically, since the introduction of Type C connectors last year, USB 3.0 is now called USB 3.1 Gen 1 and what was being called USB 3.1 is now USB 3.1 Gen 2; personally, I feel it was a boneheaded decision to do that).

Instead of being reactive to the market, why don't you be proactive? Why not be a leader and a trend setter instead of a follower, like you used to be when you first came up with the idea for modular cases? It's not like your cases will become obsolete just because a certain kind of connector turned out to be another flop, especially when all one has to do is change out an easily replaced, tiny panel that is a tiny percentage of the cost of the case. The whole idea behind your cases was to give your customers choices, something you are not doing when you wait while watching the market.
     
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post #6 of 45
Actually, it makes more sense to not have USB 2 on a panel that houses only two connectors than it is to put a single USB 2 and a single 3 on there, when motherboard connectors. USB 3 obviously handles all USB 2 devices anyway, and the connectors for USB 3 on motherboards is for two inputs. Simply put: it's a no brainer.

Back when USB 3 was first introduced to market, there were no motherboard headers for front panels. There was no need for front panel headers because motherboard headers did not exist. USB 3 was relegated to two back panel connectors, so if you really wanted front panel headers, you had to run wires out the back of the case and connect them to the back of the motherboard.

Motherboards also have speaker outputs, and who even uses them? Should we start including a tiny speaker in the front of the case to connect to?

Answer: no.
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by XNine View Post

Actually, it makes more sense to not have USB 2 on a panel that houses only two connectors than it is to put a single USB 2 and a single 3 on there, when motherboard connectors. USB 3 obviously handles all USB 2 devices anyway, and the connectors for USB 3 on motherboards is for two inputs. Simply put: it's a no brainer.

Back when USB 3 was first introduced to market, there were no motherboard headers for front panels. There was no need for front panel headers because motherboard headers did not exist. USB 3 was relegated to two back panel connectors, so if you really wanted front panel headers, you had to run wires out the back of the case and connect them to the back of the motherboard.

Motherboards also have speaker outputs, and who even uses them? Should we start including a tiny speaker in the front of the case to connect to?

Answer: no.

Seriously? What a narrow minded attitude! Who ever said anything about only one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports? I agree that would be stupid, especially since both kinds of headers will feed two ports and it would be a waste not to use both halves of the header. What's wrong with having two ports of each kind on the front. Many people do.

Yes, USB 3.0 is supposed to be backwards compatible but it doesn't always work out that way. Also, many people need more than two front ports. If all four front ports are USB 3.0., using USB 2.0 devices in them will be somewhat of a waste since those USB 3.0 ports aren't available for use for rear connected devices. My next final build will use one of the USB 3.0 headers on the MOBO for the ports on the front I/O panel and the other USB 3.0 MOBO header for an internal SD and microSD card reader. Since I will need more than just two ports for the front I/O panel and the two of the devices that will be permanently parked in those ports (mouse receiver and Bluetooth dongle; they don't work well on the rear since the case shields them) are USB 2.0, it makes good sense to use one of the MOBO's USB 2.0 headers.

Many people use the speaker ports on the rear I/O panel and the headphone and microphone ports on the front I/O. Not everyone is an audiophile (a kinder name for what are often audio snobs) who uses sound cards and external DACs. Many of the newer MOBOs have onboard sound that gives sound cards a good run for the money. Besides, you are comparing apples and kumquats here, not to mention your sarcastic comment about putting a little speaker in the front is ludicrous.

Yes, the first USB 3.0 front panel ports had to be fed from pass through cables fastened to the USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O panel or an add-on card. Crude? Definitely, but it worked and it beat the holy, hairy heck out of nothing, which was the only other option available at the time. And there would be nothing wrong with doing the same thing right now for USB 3.1 Gen 2 type C.

For a company that is putting out a product line that is supposed to be all about giving its customers choices, you are certainly promoting limiting them.
     
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post #8 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

Seriously? What a narrow minded attitude! Who ever said anything about only one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 ports? I agree that would be stupid, especially since both kinds of headers will feed two ports and it would be a waste not to use both halves of the header. What's wrong with having two ports of each kind on the front. Many people do.

Yes, USB 3.0 is supposed to be backwards compatible but it doesn't always work out that way. Also, many people need more than two front ports. If all four front ports are USB 3.0., using USB 2.0 devices in them will be somewhat of a waste since those USB 3.0 ports aren't available for use for rear connected devices. My next final build will use one of the USB 3.0 headers on the MOBO for the ports on the front I/O panel and the other USB 3.0 MOBO header for an internal SD and microSD card reader. Since I will need more than just two ports for the front I/O panel and the two of the devices that will be permanently parked in those ports (mouse receiver and Bluetooth dongle; they don't work well on the rear since the case shields them) are USB 2.0, it makes good sense to use one of the MOBO's USB 2.0 headers.

Many people use the speaker ports on the rear I/O panel and the headphone and microphone ports on the front I/O. Not everyone is an audiophile (a kinder name for what are often audio snobs) who uses sound cards and external DACs. Many of the newer MOBOs have onboard sound that gives sound cards a good run for the money. Besides, you are comparing apples and kumquats here, not to mention your sarcastic comment about putting a little speaker in the front is ludicrous.

Yes, the first USB 3.0 front panel ports had to be fed from pass through cables fastened to the USB 3.0 ports on the rear I/O panel or an add-on card. Crude? Definitely, but it worked and it beat the holy, hairy heck out of nothing, which was the only other option available at the time. And there would be nothing wrong with doing the same thing right now for USB 3.1 Gen 2 type C.

For a company that is putting out a product line that is supposed to be all about giving its customers choices, you are certainly promoting limiting them.

Agreed.
post #9 of 45
I wasn't talking about rear IO speaker ports, I'm taking about the mobo header for a speaker that beeps while posting.

How about FireWire? Or eSATA? PS/2? While we're at it, how about IDE? There's plenty of people who still use those, but is it the way the market and industry is moving? No.

There's a point when supporting dated technology becomes a disadvantage. And when new technology arrives, it's never a guarantee that it will work out. Look at FireWire. FireWire never saw the success it was hoping for. Maybe USB type C won't either. So far, there's little market share for it.

There's pros and cons to everything, the only way to move forward is to weigh them and see what's best.
post #10 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Case Labs View Post

This is likely to become a classic "chicken or egg" situation. Device manufacturers are likely to be slow to roll out type C devices because there is enough support for them. Case manufacturers will lag because there isn't enough demand. The market is slower to move than most people realize (especially here on OCN). We were years late to the USB 3.0 party and yet, still got flack for dropping 2.0 connectors. At least now, we're not reliant on third parties as we were in the past (we make our own now), so we're watching the market to see how it plays out. If the laptop market moves quickly on it, then the changeover will likely be much faster.

Thanks for your (amazingly swift) reply! Now maybe I'm missing a key piece of information, but given my understanding of the situation, it seems like CaseLabs would be in a great position to roll out USB 3.1 ahead of the general market?

If you are able to have your own USB 3.1 (gen2 - which is the new naming convention, confusingly) TypeC kits made, its good you aren't dependent on waiting for larger 3rd party suppliers. On the user end, I'm guessing that many users interested in CaseLabs (like those in this very board ) are enthusiasts more likely to adopt USB3.1 / TypeC early or at least see an option for it on a case as a benefit. It seems strange that you were given flack for dropping USB2.0 connectors in the past, especially as 3.0 were backwards compatible. Likewise, USB3.1 (or even Thunderbolt) is backwards compatible with 3.0/2.0 devices, so users are only gaining options not losing them. Though I admit there may be some edge cases out there, but perhaps it could be handled with that famous CaseLabs customization? A la carte parts/accessories for the current USB3.0 I/O kits could remain available, at least for a time, alongside new ones for USB3.1 TypeC? If you have manufacturing capabilities, perhaps you could even offer USB-A to USB-C adapters that are electrically 3.1 compliant, so no one could say they couldn't use their A devices from the start? Sure, people could also buy them from Amazon and whatnot, but my cursory search revealed a mishmash of suspect quality products - typical for such cables and adapters - so if the price was anywhere near reasonable, I imagine users would be happy to pick up a pack of adapters from you guaranteed to be electrically 3.1 compliant.

Given the current rate of adoption, I anticipate that there will be a wider expansion of USB3.1 TypeC over the remainder of this year and into 2017. Adoption seems to be growing considerably in all sectors, from mobile (for instance, the Nexus 5x and 6P Android phones, as well as those by OnePlus, and several tablets. This year's models will probably bring even more, thanks to the additional charging benefits 3.1 offers and TypeC makes it easy to plug in. GSMArena is full of upcoming phones/devices using TypeC, especially for flagships and those trying to do away with the 3.5mm headset jack, saving precious mm with TypeC), to laptop (Laptops from Razer, Asus, MSI, Sager/Clevo and the like seem to offer a few ports, not to mention Thunderbolt. Even some more traditional brands like Dell XPS now offer at least one port. ) to even the desktop PC case world (EVGA's inclusion on their new, pre-order case line reminded me to make this thread). When Thunderbolt 3 powered docks and external GPU (or other hardware) enclosures make a wider debut, that will continue to bolster the connector.

The general market probably moves a lot slower overall, but with all of these developments among enthusiast products, but it seems that those designed for niche populations are already arriving for sale. I would suppose most of CaseLabs user base would be happy to see USB3.1 TypeC(gen2) as an option available on new cases as well as accessories for retrofit. Thanks!

Edit: Whoops, I actually typed this on a tab with just yesterday's reply, so for context I hadn't seen the additional discussion.
Edited by Xaeos - 6/12/16 at 11:28am
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