Differences between USB 2 and 3 cables?

  Housten 14:56 12 Jan 2015

Good Afternoon, Gentleman,

I would like some advice, due to my ignorance!! I am going to be getting a different computer in the next few days and I am just wondering about USB cables. All the cables, and extensions, that I have at present are 2.0 and on the new computer there are 3 USB 3.0 ports. Some time ago I bought an external hard drive and I did not realise it was 3.0 until I got home. Getting the computer will it be worth using the 3.0 ports or are the 2.0 ports worth using? I am talking about backing up, because I will need to buy a 3.0 extension cable to enable me to use the 3.0 hard drive. So what I really want to know is: IS it worth the trouble and cost of getting an extension cable in order to utilise the 3.0 hard drive to its full extent? I do not know if the difference - if any - in speed, and time, is worth all the faffing about!!!

  northumbria61 14:58 12 Jan 2015

USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0 - Take a look at Difference Compared

  northumbria61 15:03 12 Jan 2015

So to sum up - the transfer rates: USB 2.0 offers transfer rates of 480 Mbps and USB 3.0 offers transfer rates of 4.8 Gbps - that's 10 times faster so well worth it - your backups will take a lot less time!

  Housten 15:15 12 Jan 2015


Many thanks for your replies. I was going to ask if a 2.0 cable extension would slow down transfer rates of a 3.0 cable, but after reading the "Difference Compared" you showed in your first reply I see it will, so I will buy a 3.0 extension. I do not know at this point in time if that will be more than one, but I will get one for now.

Again, many, many thanks for your very kind help.

  Bris 16:57 12 Jan 2015

As far as speed is concerned all USB cables are the same the only thing you need to look out for are the plugs on the end i.e. they must fit the device you are connecting to.

USB is backward compatible so a USB3 device will work in a USB2 port but at USB2 speed and a USB2 device will work in a USB3 port but again at USB2 speed.

To achieve the benefits of USB3 both the device and the port must be USB3 and the cable doesnt matter.

Its worth noting that cables should be kept short i.e. no more than a meter and if you are looking for a longer one then get a quality cable and not a cheap one.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 17:52 12 Jan 2015

cables are not the same

usb3 has extra connections and therefore more cores in the cable.

you will need to buy a usb 3extension cable to use with your drive if the enclosed cable is not long enough cost about £5.

you can use usb 2 things on the usb 3 connection but it will not increase the speed.

use the usb 2 ports for things like keyboards mice and printers and save the usb3 port for your faster drives.

  Bris 18:54 12 Jan 2015

FB.. thanks for that.

Well just goes to show you live and learn.

  northumbria61 17:28 13 Jan 2015

Bris - if you look at that LINK I posted and scroll down to the heading Contents: USB 2.0 vs USB 3.0 then No.3 Physical Differences all is revealed.

  Bris 17:48 13 Jan 2015

northumbria61.. thanks, my fault, I should have followed your link. I wondered why I was getting a message that my USB3 dock was telling me I would get more speed if I plugged it into a USB3 socket when it already was.

I was using a USB2 cable which fits the USB3 B socket but having had a good look its obvious that there is a difference.

Got 2 cables on order.

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