The Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0 standard was introduced in November 2008. This specification frequently referred to as SuperSpeed USB, is supported by most modern computers and gadgets.
The maximum data rate that may be transmitted by devices that follow this USB standard is 5 Gbps (5,120 Mbps), but the specification deems 3,200 Mbps to be more practical for regular use. This starkly contrasts with earlier USB standards like USB 2.0, which has a maximum data transmission rate of 480 Mbps, and USB 1.1, which has a top speed of 12 Mbps.
Although USB4 is the most recent specification, USB 3.2 is an improved version of USB 3.1 (SuperSpeed+). This theoretical maximum speed is increased by USB 3.2 to 20 Gbps (20,480 Mbps), compared to USB 3.1’s 10 Gbps top speed (10,240 Mbps).
Connectors for USB 3.0
The plug refers to the male connector of a USB 3.0 cable or flash drive. Receptacle refers to the female connector on a computer port, extension cable, or another device.
USB Type-A: Also known as USB 3.0 Standard-A, these connectors are a basic rectangular shape similar to the plug on the end of a flash drive. Physical compatibility exists between USB 3.0 Type-A plugs and receptacles and those from USB 2.0 and USB 1.1.
USB Type-B: These square connectors, also known as USB 3.0 Standard-B and USB 3.0 Powered-B, are typically seen on printers and other large devices. While plugs from earlier USB standards are compatible with USB 3.0 Type-B receptacles, USB 3.0 Type-B plugs are incompatible with plugs from prior USB standards.
USB Micro-A: Many smartphones and other portable electronics have rectangular, “two-part” USB 3.0 Micro-A connectors. While earlier USB 2.0 Micro-A plugs will function in USB 3.0 Micro-AB receptacles, USB 3.0 Micro-A plugs are only compatible with USB 3.0 Micro-AB receptacles.
USB Micro-B: Devices that use USB 3.0 Micro-B connectors have a similar appearance to those that use Micro-A connectors. Only USB 3.0 Micro-B and USB 3.0 Micro-AB receptacles are compatible with USB 3.0 Micro-B plugs. Physical compatibility exists between USB 3.0 Micro-B and USB 3.0 Micro-AB receptacles and older USB 2.0 Micro-B connectors.
Although USB 3.0 doesn’t support these connectors, the USB 2.0 specification does include USB Mini-A, USB Mini-B, and USB Mini-AB plugs and receptacles. These connectors must be USB 2.0 connectors if you come across them.