How fast is USB 3.0? (Spoiler: Not too Fast, Here’s Why)

How Fast is USB 3.0

Universal Serial Bus or USB for short has been a mainstream interface for a computer device, including a smartphone and tablet. Since its debut in 1996, USB has got many times of improvements, such as additional smaller port and speed performance. In terms of speed transfer, USB 3.0 is the fastest protocol by far. But, how fast is USB 3.0 comparing to its predecessor?

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.

How Fast is USB 3.0?

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

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

The average movie size these days is about 800 MB or so, if you are using USB 3.2 with a Type-C connector, you theoretically can copy up to three movies from laptop to USB flash drive in just a second. But, that’s not always the case.


The speed transfer is depending on processor capability and storage performance. If your processor overloaded with a bunch of tasks, the speed may be decreased during the transfer.

For information, no single USB flash drive or SD card has a similar speed with USB 3.0 (for now). This means the speed rate will follow the maximum capability of the storage system. Except you copying to external SSD device, the speed would be significantly affected.

Do I need a USB 3.0?

The vast majority of computer maker offers a USB 3.0 on their product. It allows the user to use USB 3.0 cable to transfer data faster to another device with a blink of eyes. If you regularly transfer big files through USB, this system would help.

However, if you only use a USB port to connect the keyboard, mouse, or router, then the speed isn’t necessary. After all, USB 3.0 is a little bit more expensive than the popular 2.0 version. No matter how fast is USB 2.0, if you rarely transfer files, it wasn’t a mandatory setup.


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