The One Thing You Need to Know About USB Speed

What is USB?

USB or Universal Serial Bus is today’s most popular and usual type of connection for many different types of devices.

Keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, flash drives, external hard drives, joysticks, cameras, and many other devices are using USB ports and cables to connect. They are even used in cars, video game consoles, audio/visual equipment and so on.

We can truly say that USB is extremely successful for a long time now. 

USB Speed 1

Except for connection, we are also using them to charge different devices like smartphones, tablets, power banks, etc.

This kind of information confirms that USBs have an important role in today’s technology. Besides that, they are not expensive and you can find them in most stores, which allows users to easily replace them.

Different USB Versions

There are several versions of USBs. From the oldest USB 1.0 which was released back in 1996 all the way to the newest 4.0 version. 

Every single version differs in data transfer speed.

Most USB devices and cables today are USB 2.0 version, but there is significant growth to USB 3.0.

USB Speed

Many people don’t know the difference between a Megabyte (MB) and a Megabit (Mb) which is leading to confusion. People often think that a download speed of 1 Mbps will download 1 MB file per second. This conclusion is totally wrong. A Megabit (Mb) is 1/8 as big as a Megabyte (MB). This means if you want to download 1MB/s you will need a connection of 8 Mbps.

1MB/s = 8Mbps

So, in order to know the difference, you must know that Megabyte (MB) is used for file size and a Megabit (Mb) for download speeds. 

One more time…

For example – your internet speed is 100 Mbps which is equal to 12,5 MB/s. Which means that if you have a download speed of 100 Mbps you will be able to download 12,5 MB file per second.

USB speed 3.0

USB 3.0 also known as SuperSpeed was released in 2011. It has a maximum bandwidth rate of 5 Gbps (gigabits per second). That translates to 640 MB/s (megabytes per second). 

You got to be honest, it sounds great to have the opportunity to transfer files at such a high speed, but don’t get your heads up too early, cause you can’t achieve the full speed for now.

You must be wondering why we can’t experience a full speed of USB 3.0 flash drives? 

The reason why is because most of them are providing speed according to manufacturer specifications. 

USB 3.0, generally gives data transfer speeds of around 100 – 150 MB/s.

Of course, there are some exceptions like this Elite-X Fit USB 3.0 Flash Drive, which can be found on Amazon that provides a speed of 200MB/s (1.6 Gbps). After all, that is still much less than half of that USB 3.0’s maximum of 640MBs (5 Gbps)

USB 2.0 vs 3.0

Like we mentioned before these 2 versions of USBs are most used in today’s technology. If we want to compare them, then we can truly say that USB 3.0 offers a lot more than USB 2.0.

It provides higher speed and a higher efficiency power management compared to older and more common USB 2.0. 

Also, USB 3.0 ports are backward compatible, which we will explain down below.

There is nothing more to say than 3.0 is 10x faster than the 2.0 version.

USB 2.0 vs 3.0

Physical Differences

Except for the difference in speed, there is a visual difference too, and that is :

  • USB 2.0 has a black “block” inside the USB port.
  • USB 3.0 has a blue “block” inside the USB port.
  • USB 3.1 has a red “block” inside the USB port.
USB port color

Power Output

The average power of a USB port is about 5 volts. Your USB 2.0 is able to provide up to 500 mA current, while your USB 3.0 can provide up to 900 mA current.

If any of your connected devices require more power than those 500mA/900mA than there is a big chance that it will work slower or not at all.


USB 3.0 ports are completely compatible with any other version of USB. In other words, if you wanna connect USB 2.0 or some earlier versions of USBs to a 3,0 port, the drive will work normally.

But if you want to connect a USB 3.0 drive to 2.0 port. It will work, but it will provide the same transfer speed rate as a USB 2.0 if it is connected to a 2.0 port.

This means that the data transfer speeds will be limited to USB 2.0 levels.

So, if you want to hit higher data speed transfer rates, connect your USB 3.0 drive to 3.0 port and enjoy the much faster transfer speed.

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