What is USB 3.0 and is it worth buying? Here’s everything you need to know about what the USB 3.0 is, how it fares against other USB generations, and if it’s really worth your money.
In this article:
- What Is USB 3.0?
- What Is the Difference Between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
- Do I Need a USB 3.0 Cable?
- How Long Can a USB 3.0 Cable Be?
- How Do I Identify a USB 3.0 Port?
What Is USB 3.0 | Everything You Need to Know
What Is USB 3.0?
The USB 3.0 was released after the USB 2.0, making it the third major USB generation on the market. Similar to its predecessors, its main function is still to store, receive, and transfer data across computers and electronic devices.
Perhaps its biggest upgrade from the USB 2.0 is its transfer speed. The current USB 3.0 transfer speed is at a whopping 5 Gigabits per second, which is about 10 times faster than its previous version.
What Is the Difference Between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0?
Apart from the boosted transfer speed of USB 3.0, it also has a number of significant changes such as:
- Physical Appearance: Generally, the USB 2.0 has a black block inside its port. Meanwhile, the USB 3.0 sports a blue block. This small and almost unnoticeable difference is a good identifier when shopping for USB flash drives.
- Compatibility: A USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 are compatible. You can transfer files even if you connect them together. However, if you connect a USB 3.0 cable to a USB 2.0 port, the device will assume the transfer speed of the older USb generation. So if you want to maximize the faster speed of USB 3.0, you’ll need to connect it to a USB 3.0 port.
- Power Usage: The USB 2.0 has a max mA current of 500 while the USB 3.0 can bust out up to 90 mA. But the USB 3.0 can increase and reduce this amount depending on what the user needs. For example, if the flash drive is connected but not being used at the moment, then it won’t use more power than it needs to.
- Increased Bandwith: With the USB 2.0, users only have access to a one-way communication path. This means you can only receive and send files at two separate timeframes. Meanwhile, the USB 3.0 has two different paths, making it possible to send and receive files simultaneously. Combining this with its increased transfer speed, it becomes the perfect tool for those who need to transfer considerable amounts of data.
- Boosted Speed: The USB 3.0 is ten times faster than its older model. This is the most notable difference that this newer USB generation boasts of.
Tip: Are you in the market for high-grade flash drives? Check out the top-performing flash drives techies across the globe are using today!
Do I Need a USB 3.0 Cable?
Do you need a USB 3.0 cable to use the USB 3.0? The short answer here is no.
You can use older cables and ports with the USB 3.0 since it’s backward-compatible.
However, while you may be able to use it, keep in mind you won’t be maximizing the device’s full potential. It will perform at the speed and power consumption of the USB 2.0 if you don’t attach it to a newer port.
The best thing to do here is to purchase a USB 3.0 cable so you can maximize the potential of your flash drive. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to buy the newer version if you don’t plan on using its upgraded features.
What is Backward Compatibility? This refers to the capability of newer USB generations to work when plugged into an older USB generation, but with limited features. For example, a USB 3.0 cable will work with a USB 2.0 port, but its transfer speed will follow that of the port.
How Long Can a USB 3.0 Cable Be?
The maximum length of a USB 2.0 cable is 16 feet, 5 inches.
On the other hand, the USB 3.0 doesn’t indicate whether it has a limit on cable length. But if you want to maintain the peak transfer speed, then you might want to stop at about 10 feet.
Of course, you can still browse the net for high-grade USB 3.0 cables that exceed 10 feet. Just remember that you might have to trade off some features to achieve a super long cable.
If you need to transfer multiple files on a daily basis, it’s best to adjust the units themselves rather than connecting multiple cables onto one another. Not only does it hinder your cable’s performance, but it’s not really safe as it might lead to some malfunctions or faulty wirings.
How Do I Identify a USB 3.0 Port?
Here are some of the ways you can easily identify if you’re using a USB 3.0 or 2.0:
- Receptacle Color: The fastest way to find out what version you’re using is to check the port’s receptacle. Blue receptacles indicate you have a USB 3.0 while black receptacles are for the USB 2.0.
- USB Logo: The USB 2.0 logo displays three horizontal wires stemming from a single trunk with a circle at the bottom of it. Meanwhile, the USB 3.0 logo has an SS at the bottom of the trunk rather than a circle.
- Visit Device Manager: Open the device manager and search for the USB node. If it’s a USB 3.0, Windows will display the information as such in the device manager.
This covers everything techies need to know on what the USB 3.0 is. Overall, it’s a faster device that can transfer and receive multiple files simultaneously from different units.
Whether or not you choose to purchase it is still up to you. If your old USB flash drive or cable is fine and doesn’t hinder your performance, then you could settle for the older version for the meantime.
But if you’re already due for an upgrade anyway, then it’s best to opt for the USB 3.0. Anyone looking to transfer and store data will surely appreciate its improved features.
Did this help you understand what is USB 3.0? If you have any more questions about the USB 3.0 and 2.0, post them in the comments section below!