As you can imagine, the need for more memory and transfer speed are becoming very important to the delivery of flash drives. USB 2.0 has been in the market for around 10 years (the original USB standard USB 1.1 came out in 1996) and our customers are starting to ask whether their USB speeds can be increased. Some photography companies we work with need a fast transfer speed otherwise they are waiting too long and unproductively for each individual data download of photos.
USB 3.0 is available now and has data transfer speeds of between 15 to 20 times that of USB 2.0. The problem is that not many computers have a 3.0 port so they are mostly redundant until our friends from HP, Dell, Apple etc start producing them. We then only need these computers to reach the customers who use them and 3.0 will take over from USB 2.0.
The price of USB 3.0 at the moment is about double USB 2.0 but you will see a convergence in this as well and within 2 years USB 2.0 will become mostly redundant.
Features of the 3.0 USB:
- Backward compatible with USB 2.0 (means that you can use a 3.0 in a 2.0 port but not vice versa). However, the 3.0 will be slow in a 2.0 port so it becomes as useful as the 2.0.
- Higher transfer rates (up to 4.8 Gbps) as opposed to high speed 2.0 USBs which travel at less than ½ GB per second.
- New connectors and cables (unfortunate)
- Increased maximum bus speed (means the hardware works harder and faster)
- New power management features (conserves power and keeps computer cool)
- Support for new transfer types
- Full duplex data transfers
- More power – USB 2.0 provides 50% more power for unconfigured devices from 100mA to 150mA and 80% more power for configured devices from 500mA to 900mA. Large monitors and speedy portable drives can be BUS powered and battery powered computer devices that previously charged using bus power could potentially charge more quickly.
- New applications – Any high bandwidth device that works with USB 2.0 will become better if updated to a 3.0 USB. Throughput suffers under the strain of USB 2.0 in devices such as webcams, external hard drives, blu-ray burners, video capture and video adaptors as well as high end flash drives. You will see a greater use of video in the next few years because bandwith of the 3.0 is 10 times greater than the 2.0.