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How Fast is USB 3.0

How Fast is USB 3.0

Compare USB 3.0, USB 3.1, USB 2.0 to SATA see the table below:

Bandwidth Table (Mbits/sec)
Thunderbolt40,000 Mbps / 40 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 210,000 Mbps / 10 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 15,000 Mbps / 5 Gbps
USB 3.04,800 Mbps / 4.8 Gbps
USB 2.0480 Mbps
USB 1.012 Mbps
Firewire400 Mbps
SATA 11500 Mbps / 1.5 Gbps
SATA 33000 Mbps / 3 Gbps
SATA 66000 Mbps / 6 Gbps
SATA Express2000 Mbps / 2 Gbps
Gigabit LAN1000 Mbps / 1Gbps


USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) provides additional bandwidth for multimedia and storage applications and has a data transmission speed 40 times faster than USB 1.1. To allow a smooth transition for both consumers and manufacturers, USB 2.0 has full forward and backward compatibility with original USB devices and works with cables and connectors made for original USB, too.

USB 2.0 power provides up to 500 mA / 5 volts / 4 wires within cable / max length 15′ / half duplex

Supporting three speed modes (1.5, 12 and 480 megabits per second), USB 2.0 supports low-bandwidth devices such as keyboards and mice, as well as high-bandwidth ones like high-resolution webcams, scanners, printers and high-capacity storage systems. The deployment of USB 2.0 allowed PC industry leaders to forge ahead with the development of PC peripherals to complement existing high-performance PCs. In addition to improving functionality and encouraging innovation, USB 2.0 increases the productivity of user applications and allows the user to run multiple PC applications at once or several high-performance peripherals simultaneously.

USB 3.0 power provides up to 900 mA / 5 volts / 4.5 watts / 9 wires within cable / practical max length 9.8′ / full duplex

The USB 3.0 (SuperSpeed USB) standard became official on Nov. 17, 2008 [source: Everything USB]. USB 3.0 boasts speeds 10 times faster than USB 2.0 at 4.8 gigabits per second. It’s meant for applications such as transferring high-definition video footage or backing up an entire hard drive to an external drive. As hard drive capacity grows, the need for a high-speed data transfer method also increases.

How Fast is USB 3.1 or USB 3.0USB 3.1 – Released July 2013. Power provides up to 900 mA / 5 volts / 4.5 watts / practical max length 9.8′ / full duplex works with both existing 5Gbps USB 3.0 hubs and devices, as well as USB 2.0 products. USB 3.1 to USB 3.0 or 2.0 may require adapters or cables.

USB Type C or USB-C Cable-Power provides up to 1.5 or 3 amp / 5 volts / 7.5 or 15 watts / 24 wires in the cable. Developed at roughly the same time as USB 3.1 , but distinct from it, the USB Type-C defines a new small reversible-plug connector for USB devices. The Type-C plug connects to both hosts and devices, replacing various type-B and type-A connectors and cables with a standard connection.

In other words the connections are the same on both ends of the cable with a pure USB-C cable. USB-C is not a new type of USB port but a new type of cable to connect USB.

Compare USB 3.1 to USB Type C

USB Type C - USB-CType-C USB is backward-compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, but adapters or cables are required. On top of that there will be adapters to make Type C hosts and devices work with existing USB devices.

Pure Type-C USB also allows for bi-directional power, so apart from charging the peripheral device, when applicable, a peripheral device could also charge a host device. So this one cable can transmit data as well as charge a device.

The throughput on a USB-C connected device is relative to it’s connection type. For example a USB 3.1 with Type C cable is still 10 Gbps (see above), the Type C cable just simplifies the cable connection to that port. A USB 2.0 with Type C cable is still 480 Mbps etc.

Video over USB 3.1 Type C

YES you can…BUT….it depends entirely on your system. As mentioned above, USB 3.1 and USB 3.1 Type C are the same as far as speed, it is just the physical connection that is different.  In summary, if you have a USB 3.1 port and a USB 3.1 Type C right next to it, chances are they share the same USB controller.

Similar to the picture shown on the laptop. In this case more than likely it will NOT support video on this Type C port without a special adapter (see below). The clue is that you have a typical looking USB port (Type A) right next to a USB Type C port. More than likely they will share the same USB be controller.

USB 3.1 Type C is standalone, chances are it WILL support video usually. This is more common with Apple MacBook systems, not so much in PC desktop systems. If you use a higher end PC desktop motherboard, it may come with a totally separate USB Type C add in card like the one show here.

This will have its own controller, and therefore WILL support video output over Type C.

Thunderbolt 3 vs USB 3 type C

Compare Thunderbolt to Type C

Thunderbolt 3 looks exactly the same as a USB type C port. The difference is that it will have a lightning bolt icon next to the port.

Thunderbolt 3 is not a USB cable at all; it is a unique hardware interface standard developed by Apple and Intel. It does all the same things as USB-C but many times faster, plus transmit video and connect to monitors.

So if you want to connect an extra monitor look for the lightning bolt next to the port. This tells you it is Thunderbolt port and can transmit power as well as video on that port.


If you need and extra monitor and you only have a USB Type-C that does not carry video, there is hope.

USB to HDMI AdapterBy using a high quality adapter such as the one shown here by Cable Matters, you can get video through a USB 3.0 port. This special adapter converts USB 3.0/3.1 to either HDMI, DisplayPort, or VGA depending on what type of monitors you have. (USB to HDMI version shown).

This is often used when you need to add additional displays to a laptop, but also works for desktops. You can use several of them if needed, one per monitor required.

One final note, this utilizes a universal DisplayLink driver which is a free download making installation easy.


This is merely an external version of internal SATA 1, 3, or 6 connections (see table at top of page). Internal SATA ports are right on the motherboard, eSATA ports are usually on the back of the computer near the USB ports. eSATA ports are red in color and depending on your motherboard capability they could be either 3000 or 6000 Mbps in speed.

These ports are typically found on external hard drive products. eSATA ports are used to connect directly to an external storage device or to another computer transmit data at blazing speeds. eSATA would be a good port to use for an external hard drive backup solution for very fast backups of large files. Max recommended cable length, 3ft.

Computers with USB 3.0 / 3.1 Ports:

NTI QuadStation Computers