Whether you want to transfer data to your computer, charge your smartphone, connect peripherals to a computer or use a flash drive to transfer data, USB serves as the best choice.
The super fast data transfer rate and quick charging have made it an obvious choice for most users. Like every other technology, USB is also growing gradually with time.
Although all the USB generations might look similar at first glance, they are quite different in terms of charging speed, data transfer rate, form factor, and many more. Today, we will go over USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 and take a look at how they differ from each other.
So without further ado, let’s jump right into the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
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Main Differences Between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
With every generation, the USB standard has evolved in many ways, and it also happened to USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Whether it is the form factor, data transfer rate, power management, price, or configuration, both protocols differ from each other in some way. So it is time to take a look at the major differences between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
At first glance, both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 might look the same at first glance, but they are quite different. USB 2.0 protocol comes with a black color code, and all the ports carry the same color code.
On the other hand, USB 3.0 gets a blue color code, and the block inside every port of this protocol comes with this color code. So when you take a look at a USB cable or a USB port in your motherboard, you can find out about the USB generation by the color code. However, modern USB 3.1 protocols get a red color code.
Another area where both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 differ from each other is their wiring configuration. USB 2.0 standard comes with a configuration of four connector wires where two wires are for data and two for power delivery.
In contrast, USB 3.0 comes with nine connector wires, and these extra five have increased the bandwidth by a large margin. The addition of extra wires in the USB 3.0 configuration has also enabled two-way data communications and the introduction of new types of connectors.
The addition of another physical bus in USB 3.0 also helped it integrate the feature where a peripheral device can asynchronously notify its host that it is ready for communication.
Data Transfer Rate
One of the major differences between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 is the data transfer rate they have on offer. USB 2.0 is the second generation protocol that was able to handle a data transfer rate of 480 Mbps (theoretically).
Although it was sufficient for usage when it was released, the arrival of USB 3.0 made USB 2.0 quite slower in comparison. USB 3.0, due to its improved physical bus and more bandwidth, was able to achieve a theoretical data transfer rate of 5 Gbps.
USB 2.0 came with one-way data communication, but USB 3.0 protocol got two-way data communication which helped it achieve a ten times faster data transfer rate. The USB 2.0 standard can receive or send data one at a time and can’t do both at the same time.
In contrast, USB 3.0 comes equipped with two-way data communication where it can receive and send data at the same time due to its dedicated function. It helped USB 3.0 to handle large data, which can be problematic with USB 2.0.
Power Usage Difference
Another major area where USB 3.0 differs from USB 2.0 is power usage. USB 2.0 has the ability to deliver power up to 500 mA, which is 2.5W at 5V. However, USB 3.0 has been able to cross the barrier and deliver 900 mA of power which is 4.5W at 5V.
Due to this increased power delivery, not only can it charge faster, but it can power delivery of large devices. What made USB 3.0 more prominent among users because it has the ability to deliver extra power whenever required.
It is quite advanced in power management in comparison to USB 2.0 because it can conserve power when the device is in idle condition while connected.
When it comes to the compatibility difference between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, we can say USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0.
You can easily connect a USB 2.0-compatible peripheral to the USB 3.0 port, and it will function smoothly. Even USB 3.0 devices are also backward compatible with USB 2.0 standards, but they will work at the transfer speed of USB 2.0.
Maximum Cable Length Difference
In terms of cable length, there is also a difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. USB 2.0 standard cables are slightly longer than USB 3.0 standard cables, and the difference is by two meters. USB 2.0 cables’ length can go up to five meters, while USB 3.0 cables are limited to three meters.
In general, USB 2.0 standard devices are less pricey than USB 3.0 standard devices. For example, if you go out in the market, you can get a USB 2.0 supported flash or hard drive at an affordable rate, but for a USB 3.0 standard version, you will have to shell out a lot more.
The price also increases when you go for a USB 3.0 device with faster transfer speeds. USB 3.0-supported devices might be expensive, but they will save you a lot of time by allowing you to transfer large data quickly.
However, it will be worth the money if you are using it with a USB 3.0-supported port. We are not saying USB 2.0 is not worth it, but if you are someone who occasionally transfers data, then USB 2.0 will be an ideal choice.
USB 2.0 VS USB 3.0
Well, USB 3.0 is the clear winner in comparison with USB 2.0 if you consider efficiency and time over pricing. It ensures not only impressive data transfer speed but also ensures high power delivery. The backward compatibility with other USB standards also makes it suitable for day-to-day usage, and most modern devices are compatible with USB 3.0 protocols.
USB 2.0 may be an older USB standard, but many devices still use it. This standard is suitable for users who have a limited need for transferring data at high speed. Moreover, you can use it with almost any USB 3.0 device, so you won’t have any problem in establishing a connection.