Everything You Wanted to Know About USB
Why USB Cables Matter - and Everything You Wanted to Know about USB
What Devices Use A USB Cable?
It's ironic in a way that there are so many cable types and variations despite being a "Universal" serial bus. Like all things, USB technology has improved over time, but it all started somewhere. Here we'll go over the generations of USB and how the data transfer and charging speeds have improved from one generation to the next.
- USB 1.0 is the first generation of USB Type-A connectors. The max data transfer speed is 12Mbps and charging power up to 15W. The first generation of USB specs are tremendously slow by today's standards, but will still work with the latest USB data ports if you don't need fast transfer speeds. That's the beauty of backward compatibility for the USB standard. USB 2.0 has a max data transfer speed of 480Mbps and supports lengths up to 5m. The max charging power for USB 2.0 is typically up to 15W. USB 2.0 is still widely used today, though it is getting phased out by 3.0 quickly.
- USB 2.0 has a max data transfer speed of 480Mbps and supports lengths up to 5m. The max charging power for USB 2.0 is typically up to 15W. USB 2.0 is still widely used today, though it is getting phased out by 3.0 quickly.
- USB 3.0 (or 3.2) comes in 3 variations. Gen 1 has a max data speed of 5Gbps and usually tops out with 3m cable lengths. Max charging power is typically up to 15W. Gen 2 USB 3.2 maxes out data speeds at 10Gbps but only allows for 1m cable lengths. Max charging power however can go up to 100W with compatible chargers. Gen 2x2 USB 3.2 maxes at 20Gbps data transfer speeds. USB 3.0 is currently the most popular version today and is standard on most computers.
If you connect a USB 2.0 cable to a USB 3.0 port, you will be limited by the connection protocol of the source and the receiver. If both the source and receiver are both 3.0, then you'll get USB 3.0 speeds. If the source is 3.0 but the receiver is 2.0, then you'll be capped by the receiver's ability to transfer at USB 2.0 speeds. This is an important distinction to make so you don't expect a USB 2.0 hard drive to magically start transferring at USB 4.0 speeds if you have the port.
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