Is USB 2.0 or 3.0 Better?

Is USB 2.0 or 3.0 Better
Is USB 2.0 or 3.0 Better

We all have USB ports at home, but which one should you use? This blog post will help you decide. We’ll compare the two and give you some pros and cons of each to help you make a decision. 

If your computer is older- it may not be compatible with 3.0 yet because it’s still relatively new, so stick with 2.0 for now!

Is USB 2.0 or 3.0 better?

Here is the step by step compression of USB 2.0 and 3.0: USB 2.0 VS USB 3.0

Transfer Rate

USB 2.0 has a transfer rate of 12 Mbit/s or 480 Mbit/s. In contrast, USB 3.0 has a transfer rate of up to 4 Gbit/s, which is ten times faster than USB 2.0 for some cases, according to the official specifications by the Universal Serial Bus Implementers Forum.

Data Voltage

The voltage in data cables for USB 1.1, 2, and 3 are 5 volts DC nominal, and 800mA ±5% (100 mA for device charging). The new generation supports transfer rates at up to 500 mA or 4.5 watts max power which is 500 mA for USB 2 and 900mA or 1,500 mA for USB 3 devices.


USB 3.0 has a faster data transfer speed than USB 2.0, as stated above. Still, there is a certain point where the speed of your connection is limited by other factors such as distance or bandwidth caps on internet plans which means in most practical cases with the same cable and hardware, you can expect similar speeds between both versions of USB, so it doesn’t matter if you have Version 1.1 or 2.0.

It might be more cost-efficient to spend less money on the older version of USB if you don’t need the extra boost in speed or don’t want to pay double for a double price (i.e., twice as much for newer versions hardware). 


If you are not sure which size suits your situation better, then opt for the bigger one because it is easier and cheaper to work with 10 feet instead of 5. In addition, there are also many cases where people prefer short ones like 1-foot cables since they can keep all their devices closer together and make use of all 12 ports they have available on a hub without using extensions or splitter cables that take up spaces on their desks or bags.

USB 2.0 has 4 wires inside, while USB 3 has 5. If you are a person who prefers small things like wallets, purses, handbags, and so on, then the smaller version would be better for you since it takes up less space in your personal belongings.

Still, if you have an extra room or prefer to carry your items around without worrying about overloaded bags, USB 3 is the way to go. 

Backward Compatible

USB 1.1, 2, and 3 are backward compatible, meaning that you can plug your USB 3 into a USB 1 or 2 port without using any adapter. On the other hand, if you have a 2.0 cable and plug it into a 3 port computer/hub/device etc., then you will be limited to speeds up to 480 Mbit/s (60MBps) which means that on some versions of USB, one might need an adapter to transfer files at high-speed rates effectively. 

Physical Difference

USB 3 ports are larger than USB 2 ones, and they also have a different color scheme. The plug shape is another thing that people might be interested in when choosing between the two versions since most of the time; you can find USB 2 devices with flat plugs instead of pointed ends, which make it easier to connect them with computers or laptops with non-slots USB ports, such as netbooks or notebooks.

Another physical difference is that while both types use a standard type “A” male connector, the newer version has an additional row of contacts for extra power compared to USB 2.0 because this allows for more power to flow through the port. Still, it doesn’t mean that you need them; all ports on your device should be.

Larger Bandwidth

USB 3.0 has more bandwidth than USB 2.0, allowing a transfer speed of up to 4.8 Gbit/s (625 MBps), twice as fast as the newer version’s maximum 480 Mbit/s (60 MBps). The additional bandwidth makes it possible for larger files to be transferred and also transfer them faster.

Maximum Transfer Distance  

If you transfer a file from a USB 2 hard drive over the network, you probably don’t want it to drop midway and more so for something small like pictures and music files that would take a second only to copy.

To avoid this problem, people have different ways of transferring data; some prefer to plug it directly into their computer or laptop while others use a hub and switch to transfer from one device to another via the USB ports on the back of their computers (the ones most people have). A good thing about USB 3 is that you can increase both speed and distance. 

Distance: For example, if you were transferring a file from a USB 2.0 drive to a device connected via a USB 3 port and the file was too large for the connection, it would time out or stop altogether after about 15 feet. In this scenario transferring from an external drive would be impossible. 

Even though you might have enough ports on your computer/laptop, not all of them will support faster transfer speeds. So if you have an older computer/laptop with lots of USB 2 ports and using a USB 3 drive, then you’d be better off buying an external USB 3 drive to benefit from the higher transfer rate for large files over long distances.

Larger Number of Wires

Why is using USB3 bad? Well, for one, it has a larger number of wires. The USB 3 cable has 9 pins, and the newer version (USB 2) only needs 4.  

But in reality, this can be a good thing since if you were to compare them side by side and connect them to two different computers or devices with USB 3 and USB 2 ports, respectively, you would see that the connectors are different. 

The newer version uses a special type of connector that allows for more power to flow through it and charge things faster than its predecessor.


USB 2.0 cables are cheaper than USB 3.0 since the latter is newer and more common. For example, in some stores, you can find a pack of 5 (5ft) USB 2.0 cables for $10, while for USB 3 cables, it can cost $35-$40 for a 5-pack at Amazon or Walmart.

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What Is USB 2.0?

Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a connectivity standard designed to connect computers and other digital devices. It allows for a fast, safe transfer of data between devices powered without a separately supplied power cord. 

The USB 2.0 was released in April 2000 and has become the most popular version of USB due to its high speed and low cost, compared to other connection standards like FireWire or optical disc drives.

In recent years, USB 2.0 has become common in replacing parallel ports due to its low price and the ability to power most devices over the same cable as data is transferred. 

One of the primary advantages of USB 2.0 over other connection standards is that it is “hot-swappable,” meaning that a device can be plugged and removed while the computer is on without corrupting data or needing the system to reboot.


USB 2.0 follows a tiered star topology, with Hubs at the center and devices connected outwards in separate tiers. The USB architecture allows for up to five tiers of devices, but only three are defined: “Hub,” “HUB,” and “Host.”


-Works with a wide variety of devices.

-Fast speed.

-Low cost.

-Easily powered via USB cable (unlike FireWire).

-Cannot corrupt data when hot-plugged.


-Still has a limited data transfer rate, so it is not as fast as some other connection standards like PCI Express.

-Generally only accommodates one device per port (with some exceptions, like USB hubs or USB switches).

-It not as fast in real life compared to theoretical maximum speed.

What Is USB 3.0?

USB 3.0 is the third generation of the Universal Serial Bus, released in November 2008 and continues to be under development. It is intended to replace the older USB 2.0, which has become a standard for connecting devices such as printers, keyboards, and mice to computers.

The speed of USB 3.0 is faster than its predecessors (USB 1.1: 12 Mbit/s; USB 2.0: 480 Mbit/s). The new generation supports transfer rates at up to 4 Gbit/s, which allows it to achieve speeds 10 times faster than those of USB 2.0 in some cases, according to the official specifications by the USB Implementers Forum.


-Superior data transfer rates.

-It easier to use in situations where there are a lot of devices connected.

-It is always on, which means if your device has any power, you can transfer files from it to the computer.


-USB 3.0 and 2.0 are only compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, respectively, meaning that when people switch between devices, they need to unplug their cables or change cables altogether constantly (also applies when using multiple ports on one computer).

-Doesn’t work well with older devices that were not created for USB 3.0.

-Expensive ($35 for a 5-pack of USB 3.0 cables on Amazon).

What Is USB 3.1 Gen 1?

USB 3.1 Gen 1 is the first USB 3.1, which offers a significant increase over USB 3.0 (10x theoretical maximum speed). It has sped up to 10Gbit/s and works with cables that are compatible with USB 2.0 (such as C-A or Micro-B) while also being backward compatible with USB 1.1 and even lower standards such as the original serial bus developed by Ajay Bhatt while he was at Intel in 1986

What Is USB 3.1 Gen 2?

USB 3.1 Gen 2 is the second release in USB 3.1 with increased speeds up to 10Gbit/s and backward compatibility with USB 1.0, making it one of the best options on the market for future-proofing your computer setup. 

It works with cables that are compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 (such as C-A or Micro-B) while also being backward compatible with USB 1.1 and even lower standards such as the original serial bus developed by Ajay Bhatt while he was at Intel in 1986

Understanding USB Type-C Connector

The USB Type-C is a new standard connector that has been introduced with USB 3.1. The connector is intended to be symmetrical, suitable for either side up, and can be used with USB cables with either an A or a B type of connector on each end. 

This makes it simpler to use, without the need to try and figure out which end is up. It has been created with the intent of being able to be used similarly to Micro USB, so it will most likely become a standard on mobile phones and tablets, as well as laptops and desktops over time.

Which version should I buy?

It depends on what kind of device(s) you want to connect, how many devices you plan on connecting simultaneously, and how much your budget is for the cables. 

For example, if you are building your computer and plan on having a motherboard with USB 3.0 ports, then it makes sense to buy newer versions of cables; otherwise, the speed won’t be as fast as you would like it to be. 

If in other cases or reasons you don’t need newer versions of USB, then save yourself from spending more money by buying the cheaper version but always make sure to check what kind of connection or port is required for your device before deciding which cable(s) to get since some things only have that one version.


USB 3.0 is better because it has more wires and a different shape, but if you’re on a budget, then consider USB 2.0 cables since they are cheaper than the newer version in most stores. 

You can also buy USB 1.1 or 2 cables to use with new devices that only have one type of port available (i.e., netbooks). USB 3 ports are larger than their predecessors, too, so make sure your motherboard supports them before purchasing any cable!

I am a computer science graduate, and I love to play games. As an offline and online marketplace seller of computer hardware, I have the opportunity to help people make informed decisions about what they can use for their needs.