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How Fast is USB 3.0

How Fast is USB 3.0

Compare USB, Thunderbolt and SATA Speeds

Bandwidth Table (Mbits/sec)
Thunderbolt 480 Gbps
Thunderbolt 340 Gbps
USB 4 Gen 3×240 Gbps
USB 4 Gen 320 Gbps
USB 4 Gen 210 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 2×220 Gbps
USB 3.1, 3.2 Gen 210 Gbps
USB 3.1, 3.2 Gen 15 Gbps
USB 3.04.8 Gbps
USB 2.0480 Mbps
USB 1.012 Mbps
Firewire400 Mbps
SATA 11.5 Gbps
SATA 33 Gbps
SATA 66 Gbps
SATA Express2 Gbps
Gigabit LAN1Gbps


USB 2.0

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

USB 2.0 has a data transmission speed 40 times faster than USB 1.1. It has full forward and backward compatibility with previous versions.


Supporting three speed modes (1.5, 12 and 480 megabits per second), the 2.0 version 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 introduction of USB 2.0 allowed PC industry leaders to forge ahead with the development of PC peripherals to complement existing high-performance PCs.

USB 3.0 Type-A

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

USB 3.0 (also called SuperSpeed) standard became official on Nov. 17, 2008. Boasting speeds up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0 at 4.8 gigabits per second. The increased transfer rate speeds up the process of transferring high-definition video footage or backing up 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 Type-A

Power provides up to 900 mA / 5 volts / 4.5 watts/ full duplex.

Released July 2013, the 3.1 version has a max cable length of 9.8′ It works with both existing USB 3.0 and 2.0 hubs and devices.

USB 3 – Type C

 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 , USB Type-C defines a new small reversible-plug connector for USB devices. The Type-C plug connects to both hosts and devices, replacing type-A connectors and cables.

In other words the connections are the same on both ends of the cable with a pure USB-C cable. The Type C port 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 Type C to Type A adapters or cables are required.

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.

Can I use Video over USB 3.1 Type C?

YES you can…BUT….it depends entirely on the Typc C port in your computer. The Type C port above next to the blue USB 3.1 port would NOT carry video, the one below would.

Can i Connect a Monitor to a Type C Port?

Some USB 3 type-C can also transmit video, but how can you tell? Usually the Type-C port is set apart from the other USB ports , and has a lighting bolt icon or a D (for DisplayPort) next to it. Often called thunderbolt, see pic below.

Similar to the picture shown on the laptop above. If you have a USB Type-A right next to a USB  Type C , chances are they share the same USB controller and it does NOT support video.

USB Type C Video

Type- C Adapter Cards

If your desktop computer does not have USB 3 Type-C built in, you can add it with an adapter card like this one.

This type of card is installed into a PCIe slot on the motherboard. Drivers may or may not need to be installed but a simple thing to do.

Thunderbolt vs USB 3 Type C

USB type c vs thunderbolt ports

Compare Thunderbolt to Type C

Thunderbolt 3 connector looks exactly the same as a type C. The difference is that it will have a lightning bolt icon next to the port and throughput speeds are different.

Thunderbolt 3 is not a USB cable. It is a unique hardware interface standard owned by Intel. It does all the same things as USB-C but many times faster, plus it can transmit video and connect to monitors. See bandwidth table at top of page for speeds.

So if you want to connect an extra monitor look for the lightning bolt OR a DP (DisplayPort) symbol next to the port. This tells you it is Thunderbolt port and can transmit power as well as video over that port. Thunderbolt 4 is even faster with speeds up to 80Gbps.

Charging Over USB

charging power over usb

Older versions of USB Type A charged at a max of 5v (see table). USB Type C and USB 3 PD (Power Delivery) can charge much faster. Note that special power cables may be required for higher voltage charging.

Check with your device manufacture for those details and always use a high quality cable. Cable Matters makes very high quality video cables and adapters.

USB Video Adapters

If you need to connect an extra monitor and you only have a regular USB 3  port (no video), this will work.

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 here if you need it.


Computers with USB 3.0 / 3.1 Ports:

NTI QuadStation Computers