One USB Connection To Rule Them All

One USB Connection To Rule Them All

Sounds like the movie ‘Lord of the Rings’ doesn’t it. Over the years, the USB connection has taken on many forms.

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The type of connector you’re most familiar with is called USB Type-A

The blocky, almost square port used in many large peripherals like printers and some external backup enclosures is USB Type-B but it usually has a USB Type-A connector on the end which goes into your computer.




Release name Release date         Maximum transfer rate
USB 1.1            August 1998          Full Speed (12 Mbit/s)
USB 2.0           April 2000               High Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB 3.0           November 2008    SuperSpeed (5 Gbit/s)
USB 3.1           July 2013                 SuperSpeed+ (10 Gbit/s)

This can transfer data back and forth between the external drive and your computer at either USB 3.0 speed or USB 3.1 speed [if your device is equipped to handle it], and is also USB 2.0 backwards compatible for those computers or laptops that do not have either a USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 interface.

Companies have been slow to implement/include these USB changes in laptops and desktops. USB 3.0 has only been showing up in laptops/desktops for the last 3-5 years. Most laptops/desktops these days have at least two USB 3.0 ports.


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The universal color for a USB 3.0 port is blue. USB 2.0 is usually black and sometimes white.


In desktops these are not always available as a front connector so you have to plug a USB 3.0 device into the back which is not always convenient. If you weren’t aware of this change and you plug your new USB 3.0 device into the front USB port hoping for improved data transfer speeds, you will be disappointed because it will only be a USB 2.0 port and you may think you have a faulty USB 3.0 device.


Ok, so what is the ‘One USB Connection To Rule Them All

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It’s Type-C (sometimes abbreviated as USB-C)


What are the advantages of Type-C?
There are a couple of physical advantages to using the Type-C format. First, the plug is orientation-free (there is no “up” side of the connector – it can be plugged in either way), and connections between Type-C devices are direction-free (either end of the cable can be plugged into either device). The connector is designed to be very compact compared to Type-A and Type-B connectors, and more durable than Micro-B, having been designed for upwards of ten thousand cycles (insertion and removals) of use. In terms of functionality, Type-C cables can take full advantage of USB 3.1’s 10Gbps transfer rate and maximum power transfer of up to 20V 4A (100W) – more than enough to charge a laptop or power a monitor. Microsoft has also announced that Windows 10 will support direct connection and data transfer between computers using Type-C.  Info Courtesy of DataPro


Ok, so now I’ve got you all excited about the prospect of a super speed USB connection.

Problem is there are quite a few mobile phones but very few laptops and few if no desktops using USB Type-C. But you can buy a USB Type-C add on card for desktops which is good.

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Most new laptops/desktops have USB 3.0 using the Type-A plug

and the roll out has started to include include USB 3.1

Then slowly but surely computer manufacturers will start making devices to take advantage of USB Type-C

The new USB C standard is awesome. It doesn’t matter which way you plug it in, it’s tough, it’s fast and it’s going to become the new default connector.


So what does this mean?

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While USB Type-C is the new USB format we are still a few years away from seeing this being used as the main type of connector. Hopefully it will start to be seen more on mobile devices, laptops and desktops.  A change like this is slow because there are still a lot of devices out there that use the Type-A format.