January 15th 2023

Can you tell the difference between USB interfaces?

USB can be said to be the most widely used interface on our computers, and with the development of technology, the function and speed of the interface are also increasing. Since consumers have higher demands, they will naturally pursue USB interfaces that perform better, faster and stronger. But there is a problem with the naming of these interfaces. Sometimes it is called USB 3.1 GEN2 and sometimes it is called USB 3.2 Gen2 at another. What are the specifications for naming these interfaces?

USB 3.2 Gen2

Can you tell the difference between USB interfaces?

I believe everyone is familiar with USB 1.0 and USB 2.0, but USB 3.0 has been renamed many times since it was first released in 2008, and there is no pattern to be found. USB 3.0 has be ‘upgraded’ to USB 3.2, but with a suffix of Gen1.

USB 1.0 2.0 3.0 3.1

Different USB interface forms

At the MWC2019 World Mobile Communication Conference, the USB-IF organization renamed USB 3.1 Gen1 to USB 3.2 Gen1 with a speed of 5Gbps; USB 3.1 Gen2 was renamed to USB 3.2 Gen2 with a speed of 10Gbps; and a new USB 3.2 Gen2X2 protocol with a speed of 20Gbps is added.

USB4 20 USB4 40

The type-C interface may be from a different protocol

Then here came USB4 again. Note that this time there is no space between USB and 4, and there is no decimal point after the number 4, it is divided into USB4 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps speed) and USB4 Gen 3×2 (40Gbps speed).

Thunderbolt 4

Do you feel dazzled now

Are you dazzled when the old names and new names are mixed together? That’s right, when selling USB interface devices, many merchants are either vague or use different versions of names, making it difficult for us to know which version it belongs to, and some merchants cannot tell the difference themselves .

The names are becoming more and more diverse, how should consumers decide which to purchase?

Lightening interface connect

Lightening interface can connect with more devices

The answer is related to the equipment. If you want a main control or a laptop, considering the upgration and use in many years in the future, you should try a version with a higher protocol, and the unit price of the computer is more expensive, so the increase in USB price does not put so much pressure on the budget.

If you want storage devices such as USB flash drives and mobile hard drives, USB 3.0, which is also the 5Gbps version of USB 3.2 Gen1, can already meet the needs of most usage scenarios. Higher interface protocol does not mean faster reading speed and writing speeds, the performance is infected by computer hard disk and storage main control.

Thunderbolt 4 usage scenario

The display interface should also be suitable for the usage scenatio

Users who want monitors or display cables should consider how professional they are. For most users, basic DP or HDMI should be enough, but for designers and professional users, they must choose protocols such as USB4 and Thunderbolt 4. Of course, you should also choose certified products when purchasing. Don’t blindly go for cheap product, so that you won’t suffer heartbreak if you bought a copycat.

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