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Introduced in 2008, USB 3.0 was considered as a quantum leap in the transfer speed of data on storage media. Introducing the concept of “superspeed” (High Speed).

What is USB 3.0?

USB aka Universal Serial Bus, a standard for data transmission serial bus used to interface devices to a computer. For optimum performance, a computer with USB 3.0 port is necessary although USB 3.0 flash drive will work on a 2.0 USB port, but it will work at the speed of a 2.0 USB key.

What is USB 2.0 or 3.0?

These are simply all versions of the USB standard: they define the type of USB connector that corresponds to them. The biggest characteristic is the rate of transfer.

Information to remember: the higher USB version is backward compatible, ie a USB 3.0 port for USB memory will work with 2.0 and 3.0; a 2.0 USB flash drive will work on a USB 3.0 port but it will run at the speed of a 2.0 speed.

Understanding transfer speeds

Here’s a quick recap to understand byte conversion data:

  • 1 KB = 1,000 Byte
  • 1MB = 1,000 KB = 1,000,000 Byte
  • 1 GB = 1,000 MB = 1,000,000 KB = 1,000,000,000 Byte
  • 1 TB = 1,000 GB = 1,000,000 MB = 1,000,000,000 KB = 1,000,000,000,000 Bytes

By comparison:

  • A photo taken by a digital camera SLR averaged 3.5MB (3,500 KB – 3500000 Byte)
  • A character in word = 1 byte. So a document of 1,000 characters = 1KB = 1,000 Bytes
  • Low Speed Full Speed (Slow to Full Speed): 190KB / s to 1.5Mb / s

  • High Speed (High Speed): 60MB / s,
  • 40 times the maximum speed of USB 1.1

  • SuperSpeed (High Speed): 625Mo / s,
  • 415 times the maximum speed of USB 1.1 10 times the maximum speed of USB 2.0,
  • Compatible 1.1 and 2.0

USB 3.0: the visual difference


One way to recognize a USB device 3.0 is the size of it. As shown in the images, USB 3.0 keys are larger than the USB 2.0 key.
The circuit of the USB 3.0 key is larger, that is why USB key housing needs to be larger to accommodate the larger memory. Mini USB keys cannot be produced for USB 3.0 at this time.

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