When I first heard of USB 3.0, I realized I had no clue what had been different / improved upon between USB 2.0 the original USB. I, as many, plugged in my USB memory stick or device and just used it. So what exactly makes USB 3.0 noteworthy? Well, in my opinion, it’s the convenience this technology brings with it.
USB 3.0 also carries the name SuperSpeed USB 3.0. Faster is better and the real beauty of it – it’s power efficient too. In simple terms USB 3.0 has gigabit transfer capabilities for speed and the ability to support higher power demanding devices – monitors for example. Okay, monitors plugging into a USB port might not be that exciting for most so I’ll make it more interesting. Quicker data transfers with high-definition video content, high megapixel digital cameras, multi-gigabyte mobile phones, and portable media players. Plus 3.0 will support a better experience with 3G/4G data cards, VGA monitors and Ethernet connections which will enable laptops and netbooks to eliminate those additional connectors. Megabit speeds just aren’t fast enough.
USB 3.0 is also backwards compatible – so you can still use your USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices in a USB 3.0 connection. The speed will just be limited by the USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 device capabilities.
For those that want a little more detail or the techy differences:
• USB 2.0 has 4 wires: two data wires, power and ground. USB 3.0 uses an extra 5 wires – two transmit
lines, two receive lines and an additional ground – for a total of 9.
• USB 3.0 is asynchronous – meaning equal upload and download speeds. The controller will send packets
‘asynchronously’ point-to-point directly to the right device instead of broadcasting packet to every
USB device. This is done by using information contained in the data packet’s header. Hence, there is no
need for polling.
• Power efficiency is a secondary objective for USB 3.0. When there is a demand for more power, a
non-configured device can utilize about 50% more power and a configured device can use about 80%
more power. When less power is required the host computer or the device can initiate a power savings
state when idle.
In short, my next computer will have USB 3.0 capability because I want the convenience the speed will bring to my technology experience.