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Making the Move to USB 3.0

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With a growing number of USB 3.0 hard disks, drive enclosures, and other devices on the market, it’s time to start paying attention to the newest member of the USB family. Also known as SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.0 can make data backups, file management, digital photo, and digital video faster and more enjoyable. In this article, hardware expert Mark Edward Soper helps you understand what USB 3.0 is, how it relates to older USB versions, and how you can upgrade your computer and storage devices to this new world of external versatility.
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What Is USB 3.0?

USB 3.0 is the latest version of the popular I/O interface. Touted as much faster than USB 2.0, USB 3.0 promises faster connections to common devices. But exactly what makes USB 3.0 better than USB 2.0, is it worth upgrading, how can you upgrade your current system, and what can you connect to a USB 3.0 port? This article will help you understand the new generation of USB so you can make an informed decision about whether, when, and how to make the move to USB 3.0

USB 3.0, also known as SuperSpeed USB, is the third generation of the universal serial bus interface standard. Like its predecessors, USB 3.0 is backwards-compatible with previous USB standards, supports hot-swapping of devices, and can communicate with multiple devices connected to a single port through USB hubs. So, what’s different?

  • USB 3.0 runs at up to 4.8Gbps (ten times faster than USB 2.0)
  • Supports up to 900mA power; the Powered B version of the USB 3.0 port provides additional contacts that provide up to 1000mA to another device, removing the need for AC adapters for some types of USB 3.0 devices.
  • Bi-directional data transfer over two pairs of send/receive wires
  • Asynchronous signaling instead of polling
  • Improved power management for multifunction and single-function devices
  • USB 3.0 hosts and devices use new types of connectors visible here. USB 3.0 hosts and devices also work with older USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices because they support existing USB 1.1/2.0 cables.
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