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  • USB 3.0 FAQ

Universally, USB provides the best way to connect computers with various other devices. Billions of USBs have been sold around the world. Until very recently USB 2.0 was the USB standard. While performing the same basic functions as USB 2.0, USB 3.0 is a superior version. USB 3.0 was created to keep up with the modern need for bandwidth speed.

How USB 3.0 Differs

USB 3.0 is faster with transfer rates reaching up to 4.8 Gbps. In addition to speed, USB 3.0 is also better equipped to accommodate devices that require a large amount of power. A maximized power bus and improved current can handle any device. Power management options also allow users to control the amount of power needed.

Users who are used to USB 2.0 may also find USB 3.0’s new transfer support system refreshing. Newer transfer types are supported with USB 3.0, which means easier communication between a device and a home computer. Transferring data is also faster with USB 3.0 due to improved cables and connectors.

Power Performance

The main reason why USB 3.0 was created was to enhance power performance. The updated version allows 80% more power for configured devices and an additional 50% of power for devices that are unconfigured. This increase in power will speed up charge time and allow devices that require a lot of power to function properly.

USB 3.0 increases power nicely, but it also allows for automatic or user-controlled power reductions. With USB 3.0 both a device and a host computer can turn off power when either one has been idle too long. Devices can also cut off power to certain portions of a device that is not being used. These power saving aspects of USB 3.0 are a vast improvement over USB 2.0.

USB 3.0 Drawbacks

As with most other upgraded items, USB 3.0 has some drawbacks. Users will find that the USB 3.0 cable length is less than adequate. The shortened 3.0 cable may affect the signal quality of certain applications. Signal extenders can provide additional signal strength if needed, though this is an extra expense.

Another unforeseen user expense is the cost of USB 3.0 hardware. Seemingly, this hardware will be a fair deal more expensive than USB 2.0 hardware. While minimal, the two drawbacks to USB 3.0 might irritate some users who are used to the 2.0 version.

Devices that Will Benefit From USB 3.0

Since USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 are largely compatible (for now), any device that worked with USB 2.0 will work with USB 3.0. Devices that are particularly power-hungry will perform better with USB 3.0. Some devices that will greatly benefit from USB 3.0 include digital video camera, external hard drives, webcams, surveillance equipment, Blu-Ray drives, and nearly anything else that demands a large amount of power.

Operating System Compatibility

It is reported that Linux and Windows 7 will all work well with USB 3.0. Whether or not Windows XP will be compatible with USB 3.0 is unknown at the time of this writing. Speculatively, MacOS X will support the new USB upgrade, though Apple has not yet confirmed this suspicion. In the event that USB 3.0 becomes the new standard, most operating systems are likely to support the 3.0 version.