USB 3.0, released in 2008, represents a significant advancement over its predecessor, USB 2.0, which was introduced in 2000 with a meager transmission speed of 480 Mbit/s. USB 3.0 offers a transmission speed that is more than ten times faster than USB 2.0, greatly enhancing data transfer rates. With the advent of USB 3.0, the corresponding USB flash drives (U disks) were developed to harness this improved speed.
Subsequently, after 14 years, with the proliferation of Internet-driven big data, the USB 3.1 interface was introduced, building upon the foundation established by USB 3.0. USB 3.1 Gen 1 is essentially an upgraded version of USB 3.0, supporting speeds of up to 5Gbit/s. USB 3.1 Gen 2, on the other hand, provides even greater speed with a maximum capability of 10Gbit/s. It is important to note that the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) originally intended to designate USB 3.1 Gen 1 as "SuperSpeed USB" and USB 3.1 Gen 2 as "SuperSpeed USB+," but this naming scheme did not gain traction in the industry. As a result, most industry stakeholders refer to them as "USB 3.1 Gen 1" and "USB 3.1 Gen 2" respectively. Manufacturers often specify the speeds of 5Gbps or 10Gbps in their product documentation to differentiate between these two USB standards, while maintaining downward compatibility and adhering to standardized naming conventions for USB cables and devices.
With the introduction of USB 3.2 in 2017, the USB-C interface started to gradually replace the widely adopted USB-A connectivity in the industry. USB-C, due to its support for higher data transfer speeds and faster charging capabilities for peripherals, emerged as the natural choice for leveraging the advantages offered by USB 3.2 Gen 2.
USB 3.2 encompasses four distinct variants, each with its unique nomenclature and significance.
These variants are:
- USB 3.2 Gen 1: This variant corresponds to the USB 3.1 Gen 1 specification and supports speeds of up to 5Gbit/s.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2: Aligned with the USB 3.1 Gen 2 specification, this variant delivers speeds of up to 10Gbit/s.
- USB 3.2 Gen 1x2: This variant involves the use of two 5Gbit/s channels simultaneously, effectively providing a combined bandwidth of up to 10Gbit/s.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2: Representing the most advanced variant, this specification employs two 10Gbit/s channels concurrently, achieving an aggregated throughput of up to 20Gbit/s.
As USB 3.2 gained prominence, USB-A connectivity, which had long dominated the industry, began to phase out gradually in favor of USB-C. The USB-C interface not only supports higher data transfer speeds but also facilitates faster charging of peripheral devices, making it the primary USB interface for capitalizing on the benefits offered by USB 3.2 Gen 2.
To determine whether your computer supports USB 3.0 or 3.1 U disks, you can examine the color of your computer's USB ports. USB 2.0 interfaces and USB flash drive interfaces are typically black or white, while USB 3.0 and 3.1 interfaces, along with their corresponding USB flash drives, are typically colored blue. It is essential to pair USB 3.0 and 3.1 U disks with USB 3.0 and 3.1 interfaces to fully leverage their high-speed capabilities. USB 2.0 U disks, on the other hand, operate at the same speed regardless of the USB interface used.