What is USB 3.0?

USB 3.0 is a connection standard that came as a third generation of the universal serial bus and it became the perfect successor of USB 2.0. It is also known as SuperSpeed USB as it was able to achieve high speed data transfer rate. It was released in November 2008 and its tenure hasn’t ended.

Most of the computers and peripherals still use this USB standard because of its support for high speed transfer rate, although USB 4.0 is present in the market. It was a massive upgrade from previous generation USB and has a maximum data transfer rate of 5Gbps, making it ten times faster than USB 2.0.

Microsoft started supporting USB 3.0 from its Windows 8 operaitng system while Linux started doing it from the beginning with its Linux version 2.6.31. It was able to meet the demand for fast transfer and better power efficiency and this is why it has become a favorite choice for most modern devices.

What Are All The Hype About USB 3.0?

USB 3.0 Super Speed is the third generation universal serial bus standard that became a rage among users. Let’s check what is all hype;

  • It is able to increase transfer rate by a significant margin but also increase the power output from 100 miliamps to 900 miliamps.
  • Almost all current peripherals and computer hardware utilizes USB 3.0 and the main reason is its capability to handle traffic in both directions
  • This protocol utilizes a dual bus architecture where it allows the interface or cable to write and read at the same time; thus increasing the data transmission speed in between devices. It also integrates new features where the host quickly detects its readiness without needing synchronous notification.
  • In a real world scenario, USB 2.0 will take around five minutes to transfer a 10GB file but a USB 3.0 would take only 87 sec to transfer the same. The cable of this standard has eight lines in its configuration that has not only increased the speed but also the efficiency and reliability.
  • It also offers backward compatibility with USB 2.0 but you would get the data transfer rate of USB 2.0 due to speed capping.
  • It is able to rectify some faults of its previous generation and one of them is limiting power drainage by the host controller from idle devices.
  • This modern generation USB has replaced device polling with a unique protocol which prevents any idle device from getting power drained by host controllers.
  • With time, USB 3.0 got many technological improvements and the first implementation began with USB 3.0 adapters which are mainly ExpressCard and PCIe. Then slowly devices like PC computers, laptops. Hard discs, flash drives etc started getting them.
  • The technological improvements also brought more USB 3.0 standards which are USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.2 Gen 1X1. The tech companies responsible for technological improvement of USB 3.0 also brought USB 3.1 which theoretically increased the maximum speed up to 10Gbps. They also bought the USB 3.2 version which was able to achieve a data transfer rate of 20Gbps.

How To Identify USB 3.0?

The best way to identify USB 3.0 is by assessing the color and almost every manufacturer uses blue color to separate it from other USB standards. Many USB 3.0 cables and ports also carry the initials of SS on their body and it also helps you to identify it.

In general, the availability of USB 3.0 cable or port is mentioned in speicificiton or feature list of the device. For example if you are buying a new gen motherboard, it will specify the availability of USB 3.0.

SuperSpeed USB 3.0: How Fast Is It?

As the name suggests, USB 3.0 SuperSpeed was introduced to cut down all data transfer bottlenecks and allow devices to achieve super speed data transfer. Theoretically, it can achieve a transfer speed up to 5Gbps as opposed to 480Mbps of USB 2.0.

So you can easily transfer a file of 25GB within five seconds instead of waiting for a long time with older USB protocols. Howeve in the real world test, the transfer rate was a lot slower than their theoretical rate.

Macrowrld conducted a theoretical test where they transferred a file of 10GB to a USB 3.0 hard drive and the transfer rate achieved was 114.2MBps. You should remember that the theoretical transfer rate of USB 3.0 is not the same for every Bus type.

PCIe 2.0, PCIe 2.1, PCIe 3.0 and ExpressCard 2.0 bus types had a maximum transfer rate of 4.8Gbps. While PCIe 1.0a and ExpressCard 1.0 bus types could only achieve a transfer rate of 2.5Gbps.

Connectors Associated With USB 3.0

USB 3.0 is associated with some useful connectors that come handy for connecting various types of devices. The number of connectors may be less than USB 2.0 but it does the job;

  • USB Type A: USB Type is the most common connector type for USB 3.0 protocol that is widely found in modern computers and laptops. These connectors are compatible with every old USB generation making it suitable for connecting various old devices. Despite having more internal pins, USB 3.0 Type A connectors have a form factor like other USB standards.
  • USB Type B: USB 3.0 Type B connector type on the other hand is not as popular as USB Type A because it is not compatible with older Type B receptacles. However its configuration helps it connect with newer USB protocols. Type B connectors have a limited usage and they are compatible with modern printers and hard drviees.
  • USB Micro A: USB 3.0 Micro A is another connector type of this protocol that has a dual plug and they are only compatible with devices like smartphone, portable HDD, portable scanner etc having Micro-AB receptacles.
  • USB Micro B: The MIcro B connector for USB 3.0 standard has a different configuration than the connectors associated with SUB 2.0. So they are not compatible with the old generation and mostly used for hooking modern smartphones and external hard drives.
  • USB Type C: USB 3.0 Type C connector is another popular connector type that not only can handle a lot of power but also fits with modern devices due to its small form factor. Nowadays, manufacturers extensively use them in their laptops and other devices because it can handle video, data transfer, charging and network requirement.

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