USB is used by all sorts of devices to transfer data. Devices include; digital cameras, smartphones, laptops, iPad, GPS units, Apple Mac, PCs and many more. Millions of devices use the current USB 2.0 format however the recently launched SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) is set to replace USB 2.0 in the next few years. The first devices to incorporate SuperSpeed USB were launched in January 2010.
What are the USB 3.0 Advantages?
From a consumer perspective the biggest SuperSpeed USB advantages are:
- Maximum transfer rate 10 times faster than USB 2.0 (5 Gbps vs. 480 Mbps); just think how fast photos will be transferred from your digital camera to your computer!
- Lower power consumption; SuperSpeed uses 1/3 the power of USB 2.0 (especially good for battery powered devices such as laptops)
- Existing USB 2.0 devices are fully compatible with SuperSpeed USB (although the speed will be limited to USB 2.0 maximums)
Note: it has also been demonstrated that CPU usage is lower with USB 3.0.
What Devices use USB 3.0?
SuperSpeed USB is unlikely to become widespread until Intel adopts the specification which will be in 2011. The USB Implementers Forum, the non-profit founded by the group of companies that developed the Universal Serial Bus specification, currently lists 78 products as being USB3 compliant. This is a very low number of devices but the proliferation of compliant devices will advance rapidly.
Some of the devices which are currently SuperSpeed USB compliant include; Samsung Story Station 3.0 and the Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI Express Interface Card. A full list of USB 3.0 compliant components may be found at the USB Implementers Forum.
Should I get USB 3.0?
So, should you still buy USB 2.0 devices? USB 2.0 is still excellent and these devices are far more widespread and less costly than SuperSpeed USB products. As noted before, USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0 so there is no reason to abandon USB 2.0 until SuperSpeed USB is far more widespread.