How fast USB 3.0 Really is? (Spoiler: Not too Fast)

How Fast is USB 3.0

Since its debut in 1996, the USB interface has gotten faster and faster. In terms of speed transfer, USB 3.0 is the fastest protocol by far. But, how fast USB 3.0 really is?

For now, we have a USB 1.0, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0. However, USB 3.0 recently got a new iteration, namely USB 3.1 and USB 3.2. Although it still the third generation, the speed performance is twice higher than their brother.

So, let’s break down those USB variants speed respectively.

USB 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0

I have harvested some information about the USB family, from 1.0 to the newest 3.0 along with the supported connector(s).

USB VariantMaximum SpeedSupported Connectors
USB 1.01,5 MB/sType-A, Type B, Mini-A, Mini-B, Micro-A, Micro-B
USB 2.060 MB/sType-A, Type B, Mini-A, Mini-B, Micro-A, Micro-B
USB 3.0625 MB/sType-A, Type B, Mini-B, Micro-B
USB 3.11250 MB/sType-A, Type C
USB 3.22500 MB/sType-C

Gathered from Wikipedia and other sources

The average HD movie size is about 800 MB, if you are using USB 3.2 with a Type-C connector, you theoretically can copy up to three movies from laptop to a USB flash drive in just one second.

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But, that’s not always the case.

The speed transfer depends on the computer’s processor capability and storage performance. If your processor overloaded with a bunch of tasks, the speed may be decreased during the transfer. Also, copying from HDD can be far slower than SSD.

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Do I need a USB 3.0?

If you regularly transfer big files through USB interfaces, then USB 3.0 is definitely would be helpful. However, if you only use a USB port to connect the keyboard, mouse, or camera, then the speed performance should not be an issue.

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