The newest USB standard is the second major revision to USB technology. USB 3.0 is an upgrade from USB 2.0 and unlike the first major revision, USB 3.0 ports look completely different than its predecessor. The wire is much thicker, due to the 5 new lines of internal wiring; and a close inspection of the ends reveals a different pin set on the 3.0 cables. A big problem with the first revision was the fact that the cords were nearly identical. The size difference makes it easily identifiable. Every incarnation of USB cables has increased the speed of data transfer rates, but this leap is the largest by far.
Speed and Transfer Rates
Imagine being able to transfer a 27 Gigabyte movie, in less than two minutes! This is possible with USB 3.0 technology. The real power of USB 3.0 is its speed. USB 3.0, clocks in at (5Gbps) this makes it ten times faster than USB 2.0, which had a speed of (480Mbps). That 27 Gigabyte movie would take approximately 15 minutes to transfer, on a USB 2.0 slot. Solid state devices ,such as USB thumb drives will benefit the most, from the increased speed. This is because the older, more traditional hard drives, with magnetic hard disks can only transfer data, as fast as those disks can spin.
No Real Competition
With the increase in speed, 3.0 is a viable choice to contend with eSATA, which has a speed of (3.2Gbps). The knock against 2.0 was always its lack of speed, for high speed external hard drives. eSATA solved that issue, but has never become a standard, due to the two foot limitation on the length of the connected cable. Besides, there are just too many peripherals that use USB ports on the market, such as digital cameras and printers, for eSATA to ever be considered a viable alternative.
Getting up to Speed
If you want to reap the benefits of new “SuperSpeed USB 3.0” technology, you must have a PC or Mac with a USB 3.0 input. Most of the newer model PC’s come equipped, with at least one compatible port. An alternative is to install a USB 3.0 card, in your desktop computer. Some laptops are also adaptable, via the card slot input. Once you are up to speed, you will notice a big difference, in how fast many of your devices, such as hard drives, printers and scanners, operate.