A Primer on USB 3 for Tech Products, Which Is More Confusing Than You May Think
USB 3 technology, also known as USB-C, has been something we've reported about extensively due to its status as the latest and greatest in USB technology, with countless products now using it for its fast download/upload ability. We've also reported on Apple's reluctance to incorporate the tech on its iPhones despite using it on iPads and laptops.
But when you hear "USB 3," you as a promotional products distributor might not think to ask more questions when looking at things like charging cables or storage devices. It sounds like it should be the newest technology, right? Well, not really.
After version 3.0, which ran at a relatively speedy 5GB per second, there came USB 3.1, which bumped it to 10GB per second.
Ars Technica writes:
The logical thing would have been to identify existing 5GB/s devices as "USB 3.0" and new 10Gb/s devices as "USB 3.1." But that's not what the USB-IF [the industry group that develops USB specs] did. For reasons that remain hard to understand, the decision was made to retroactively rebrand USB 3.0: 5GB/s 3.0 connections became "USB 3.1 Gen 1," with the 10GB/s connections being "USB 3.1 Gen 2." The consumer branding is "SuperSpeed USB 10GB/s."
What that meant, according to Ars Technica, is that device manufacturers could say that something supports USB 3.1, but in reality it's "USB 3.1 Gen 1," which means it only runs at that 5GB per second rate.
That brings us to USB 3.2. Those devices that run at 5GB per second are now being listed as "USB 3.2 Gen. 1," and 10GB per second is listed as "USB 3.2 Gen 2."
If you thought, "Well, it stands to reason that 20GB per second devices will be USB 3.2 Gen 3," you'd be thinking too logically. Those devices will actually be called USB 3.2 Gen 2x2," because they run two 10GB per second connections across different sets of wires at the same time.
This is all pretty confusing, but when you're looking to invest in the latest technology, it pays to understand exactly what you're getting and what you're passing along to a client. Just because it seems like it's the best, most top-of-the-line development, doesn't make it so. If you're selling tech promotional products, the ability to inform and educate your clients on different technical specs will go a long way.