Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a standard connection type often used in devices such as computer, laptop, and smartphone. Although different versions are available, USB 2.0 and 3.0 are the most popular.
What’s the difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0?
Both types work efficiently to connect between devices but each has different characteristics. Learn more about versions of USB and main differences between USB 2.0 vs 3.0 below.
A. Version of USB
There are at least six types of USB commonly used in electronic devices from smartphone to camera and laptop. These versions have different specifications, such as data transfer rate and supported device.
Let’s take a closer look at the following list.
1. USB 1.x
This is the earliest version of USB. At full speed, this type is able to transfer data up to 12 Mbps. Besides, it can handle up to 127 peripheral devices.
2. USB 2.0
Also known as hi-speed USB, this type was introduced back in 2000. It can transfer data up to 480 Mbps at high speed. Moreover, USB 2.0 is able to support USB 1 devices.
3. USB 3.0
This SuperSpeed USB was initially released in 2008. As an improved version of the previous type, it offers amazing speed up to 4.8 Gbps. Besides, USB 3.0 supports USB 2.0 devices.
4. USB 3.1
This type of USB is also known as SuperSpeed+. It was introduced in 2014 and it has the ability to transfer data up to 10 Gbps.
5. USB 3.2
Another type of USB commonly found on the market is USB 3.2. This SuperSpeed+ type was released back in 2017 and it can transfer up to 20 Gbps.
6. USB 4
This is the latest version of USB. Firstly introduced in 2019, it is able to transfer data up to 40 Gbps.
B. USB 2.0 (High-Speed USB)
Among several USB types rolled out to the market, USB 2.0 is one of the most popular. This hi-speed USB was introduced in April 2000 and it successfully upgraded signaling rate of data transfer. Compared to its predecessor, it offers significantly higher rate up to 480 Mbps (full speed).
This type of USB is half-duplex, which means it has the ability to send or receive data at one time. When it comes to price, USB 2.0 is generally more affordable than that of USB 3.0.
Additionally, USB 2.0 provides up to 500 mA and it’s considered not that efficient. As for the cable, the length can reach up to 5 meters long with 4 wires.
C. USB 3.0 (Super-Speed USB)
USB 3.0 was initially released in 2008 and it is also known as SuperSpeed USB. Compared to USB 2.0, its data transfer speed is significantly higher as it is rated up to 5 Gbps. Designed as full duplex, it is able to send and receive data concurrently.
USB 3.0 cable can reach up to 3 meters long and it doubles the wires up to 9. As for power usage, it provides up to 900 mA which allows power efficiency.
D. USB 2.0 vs 3.0
USB 2.0 and 3.0 have several differences not only in transfer speed but also size, cable length, and more aspects. In order to help you understand the main difference, take a closer look at five points below.
1. Data Transfer Rate
First and foremost, data transfer rate between USB 2.0 and 3.0 is significantly different. While USB 2.0 speed can reach up to 480 Mbps, USB 3.0 transfers data at 4,800 Mbps or 4.8 Gbps. In other words, USB 3.0 is around 10 times faster than USB 2.0.
Furthermore, new USB 3.1 has been released with incredible speed up to 10 Gbps. This data transfer rate is twice faster than USB 3.0 and 20 times faster than USB 2.0.
2. Backward Compatibility
Backward compatibility means whether or not USB ports and drives are compatible with the earlier version. USB 3.0 ports are backward compatible, which means you can plug USB 2.0 or USB 1 drive to a USB 3.0 port. These drives are able to work normally.
In addition, USB 3.0 drives are also compatible with USB 2.0 ports. However, the transfer rate will be the same as the USB 2.0 drives. If you want to experience the USB 3.0 speed at its fullest then you must connect USB 3.0 drives to USB 3.0 ports.
3. Power Consumption
Another difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0 is on the power usage. While USB 2.0 provides up to 500 mA current, USB 3.0 offers up to 900 mA current.
Also, USB 3.0 is able to deliver more power when needed. Compared to USB 2.0, the later version is able to conserve power when the flash drive is not in use. This makes the USB 3.0 more efficient.
4. Cable Length
When it comes to cable length, both USB types have different specification. USB 2.0 has a quite long cable (both full speed and hi-speed) up to 5 meters. Meanwhile, USB 3.0 limits the length of its cable up to 3 meters.
If you wish to get a longer distance, you can use a USB extension cable available on the market. These extension cables allow you to connect between devices without interruption.
5. Larger Number of Wires
Both USB 2.0 and 3.0 have different number of wires within the cable. Different number of wires surely affects the power transfer for each type.
USB 2.0 has four connector wires in total, which is capable of transferring power up to 500 mA current. On the other hand, USB 3.0 that makes higher power transfer is equipped with 9 wires in total. This spec makes it possible to transfer up to 900 mA current.
6. Larger Bandwidth
Last but not least, bandwidth is another distinguishing factor between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. Since USB 2.0 features one-way communication, data are sent and received on the same pathway. This is different with the USB 3.0 that features a separate data path for simultaneous data transfer.
Overall, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 have several differences based on some aspects. Despite the difference between USB 2.0 and 3.0, each type work well to connect devices and transfer data.