What is USB 3.2? USB 3.0 vs 3.1 vs 3.2

In my previous posts, I’ve talked about the different types of USB ports (USB 2.0, 3.0 etc.) and connectors (Type A vs. Type C) common on desktops and laptops. Newer systems will likely include another type of connector – USB 3.2 – but what is it? How does it compare to other USB variations like USB 3.0 or even 1×3.2? What’s this Gen 2×2? If you want to know more, keep reading!

What is USB?

Using USB, PC components and peripherals can communicate with each other in a standard manner. USB was originally designed to replace the multitude of proprietary interfaces that appeared in the early PC era, but is now regulated by a non-profit group called the USB-IF. Nowadays though, there are so many varieties of this type connecting component that Universal has become nothing more than an ironic name for what was once thought capable of being just that. Still – even if it can’t live up to its given name anymore – USB remains the most widely used connector for all devices relating to computers.

What is USB?

What is USB 3.2?

Essentially, USB 3.2 rebrands all USB devices and connections. What was originally known as USB 3.0 is now 3.2 Gen 1, USB 3.1 becomes 3.2 Gen 2, and the newest addition to the family is 3.2 Gen 2×2 (also know as SuperSpeed+). Confused? You’re not alone; here’s a quick grid that will hopefully help clear things up for you.

New nameOld nameOriginal name
3.2 Gen 2×2N/AUSB 3.2
3.2 Gen 2USB 3.1 Gen 2USB 3.1
3.2 Gen 1USB 3.1 Gen 1USB 3.0

Older brands and devices may still use some of the older names while newer brands will use new names but they are equal in all other aspects.

USB 3.0 vs 3.1 vs 3.2 vs Thunderbolt

Having established that USB 3.2 Gen 1 and Gen 2 are just slow versions of USB 3.0 and 3.1, let’s compare their speeds to the only actual new USB version: 3.2 Gen 2×2.

Max speed
3.2 Gen 2×220Gbps
3.2 Gen 210Gbps
3.2 Gen 15Gbps
Thunderbolt 3/440GBps

As you can see, despite the fact that 3.2 Gen 2×2 doubles the maximum speed of previous generations, it cannot rival the 40 GBPS achievable by Thunderbolt 3/4. Still though, at 20 GBPS USB Gen 2×2 will be able to deliver sufficient performance for any device; albeit without the versatility and total bandwidth offered by Thunderbolt interfaces. Unless there is a specific need for an application or device which necessitates its use with Thunderbolt interfaces – then Gen 2×2 will suffice just fine.

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