USB 3.0 is the third major version of the Universal Serial Bus
(USB) standard for interfacing computers and electronic devices. Among
other improvements, USB 3.0 adds the new transfer rate referred
to as SuperSpeed
USB (SS) that can transfer data at up to
Gbit/s (625 MB/s), which is about 10 times as fast as the
USB 2.0 standard. Manufacturers are recommended to distinguish
USB 3.0 connectors from their USB 2.0 counterparts by blue
color-coding of the Standard-A receptacles and plugs, and by the
USB 3.1, released in July 2013, is the successor standard that
replaces the USB 3.0 standard. USB 3.1 preserves the
existing SuperSpeed transfer rate, giving it the new label
USB 3.1 Gen
1, while defining a new SuperSpeed+ transfer mode, called USB
3.1 Gen 2 which can transfer data at up to 10 Gbit/s
(1250 MB/s, twice the rate of USB 3.0).
USB 3.2, released in September 2017, replaces the USB 3.1
standard. It preserves existing
USB 3.1 SuperSpeed and SuperSpeed+
data modes and introduces two new SuperSpeed+ transfer modes over the
USB-C connector using two-lane operation, with data rates of 10 and 20
Gbit/s (1250 and 2500 MB/s).
1.1 Architecture and features
1.2 Data transfer and synchronization
1.3 Data encoding
1.4 Power and charging
2.1 Adding to existing equipment
3.1 Speed and compatibility
3.2 Radio frequency interference
4.2 Backward compatibility
7 See also
9 External links
The USB 3.0 specification is similar to USB 2.0, but with
many improvements and an alternative implementation. Earlier USB
concepts such as endpoints and the four transfer types (bulk, control,
isochronous and interrupt) are preserved but the protocol and
electrical interface are different. The specification defines a
physically separate channel to carry USB 3.0 traffic. The changes
in this specification make improvements in the following areas:
Transfer speed – USB 3.0 adds a new transfer type called
SuperSpeed or SS, 5
Gbit/s (electrically, it is more similar to
PCI Express 2.0
PCI Express 2.0 and SATA than USB 2.0)
Increased bandwidth – USB 3.0 uses two unidirectional
data paths instead of only one: one to receive data and the other to
Power management – U0 to U3 link power management states are
Improved bus use – a new feature is added (using packets NRDY
and ERDY) to let a device asynchronously notify the host of its
readiness, with no need for polling
Support for rotating media – the bulk protocol is updated with
a new feature called Stream Protocol that allows a large number of
logical streams within an Endpoint
USB 3.0 has transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, about ten
times faster than USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/s) even without
considering that USB 3.0 is full duplex whereas USB 2.0 is
half duplex. This gives USB 3.0 a potential total bidirectional
bandwidth twenty times greater than
Architecture and features
Front view of a Standard-A USB 3.0 connector, showing its front
row of four pins for the USB 1.x/2.0 backward compatibility, and
a second row of five pins for the new USB 3.0 connectivity. The
plastic insert is in the
USB 3.0 standard blue color known as Pantone
In USB 3.0, dual-bus architecture is used to allow both
USB 2.0 (Full Speed, Low Speed, or High Speed) and USB 3.0
(SuperSpeed) operations to take place simultaneously, thus providing
backward compatibility. Connections also permit forward compatibility,
that is, running USB 3.0 devices on USB 2.0 ports. The
structural topology is the same, consisting of a tiered star topology
with a root hub at level 0 and hubs at lower levels to provide bus
connectivity to devices.
Data transfer and synchronization
The SuperSpeed transaction is initiated by a host request, followed by
a response from the device. The device either accepts the request or
rejects it; if accepted, the device sends data or accepts data from
the host. If the endpoint is halted, the device responds with a STALL
handshake. If there is lack of buffer space or data, it responds with
a Not Ready (NRDY) signal to tell the host that it is not able to
process the request. When the device is ready, sends an Endpoint Ready
(ERDY) to the host which then reschedules the transaction.
The use of unicast and the limited amount of multicast packets,
combined with asynchronous notifications, enables links that are not
actively passing packets to be put into reduced power states, which
allows better power management.
The "SuperSpeed" bus provides for a transfer mode at a nominal rate of
5.0 Gbit/s, in addition to the three existing transfer modes.
Accounting for the encoding overhead, the raw data throughput is
4 Gbit/s, and the specification considers it reasonable to
Gbit/s (400 MB/s) or more in practice.
All data is sent as a stream of eight-bit (one-byte) segments that are
scrambled and converted into 10-bit symbols via 8b/10b encoding; this
helps the receiver to decode correctly even in the presence of
electromagnetic interference (EMI). Scrambling is implemented using a
free-running linear feedback shift register (LFSR). The
LFSR is reset
whenever a COM symbol is sent or received.
Unlike previous standards, the USB 3.0 standard does not specify
a maximum cable length, requiring only that all cables meet an
electrical specification: for copper cabling with AWG 26 wires, the
maximum practical length is 1.3 meters (4.3 ft).
Power and charging
As with earlier versions of USB,
USB 3.0 provides power at
5 volts nominal. The available current for low-power (one unit
load) SuperSpeed devices is 150 mA, an increase from the
100 mA defined in
USB 2.0. For high-power SuperSpeed devices, the
limit is six unit loads or 900 mA (4.5 W), almost twice
500 mA.:section 220.127.116.11 Power Budgeting
The term "available current" can be misunderstood. It implies that if
a low power device or a USB2 device is connected to a USB3 port it can
only draw 150 mA or 500 mA from that port. However, the
available current for any
USB device plugged into a USB3 port is
900 mA (unless it is charging port compliant) as defined by the
USB3 spec. The actual current draw is determined by the device
capability. The Vbus, pin 1, and Ground, pin 4, are the same for USB
1, 2, or 3. A USB2 HDD with 2 USB2 connectors needing a total of
800 mA will draw full power from a single USB3 port. A USB2 phone
will probably charge faster since 900 mA is "available" to it.
USB 3.0 ports may implement other
USB specifications for increased
power, including the
USB Battery Charging Specification for up to
1.5 A or 7.5 W, or, in the case of
USB 3.1, the
Delivery specification for charging the host device up to
A USB 3.0 four-port hub, using a
VIA Technologies chipset
USB 3.0 Promoter Group announced on 17 November 2008 that the
specification of version 3.0 had been completed and had made the
transition to the
USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the managing body
USB specifications. This move effectively opened the
specification to hardware developers for implementation in future
USB 3.0 consumer products were announced and shipped by
Buffalo Technology in November 2009, while the first certified
USB 3.0 consumer products were announced on 5 January 2010, at
the Las Vegas
Consumer Electronics Show
Consumer Electronics Show (CES), including two
ASUS and Gigabyte Technology.
USB 3.0 host controllers include, but are not limited
to, Renesas Electronics, Fresco Logic, ASMedia Technology, Etron, VIA
Technologies, Texas Instruments,
NEC and Nvidia. As of November 2010,
Renesas and Fresco Logic have passed USB-IF certification.
Motherboards for Intel's
Sandy Bridge processors have been seen with
Asmedia and Etron host controllers as well. On 28 October 2010,
Hewlett-Packard released the
HP Envy 17 3D featuring a Renesas
USB 3.0 host controller several months before some of their
AMD worked with Renesas to add its USB 3.0
implementation into its chipsets for its 2011 platforms.[needs update]
Toshiba unveiled a laptop called "
Toshiba Qosmio X500"
USB 3.0 and
Bluetooth 3.0, and
Sony released a new
Sony VAIO laptops that would include USB 3.0. As of
April 2011, the
Dell XPS series were available with
USB 3.0 ports, and, as of May 2012, the
Dell Latitude laptop
series were as well; yet the
USB root hosts failed to work at
SuperSpeed under Windows 8. On 11 June 2012, Apple announced new
MacBook Airs and
MacBook Pro with
Adding to existing equipment
A USB 3.0 controller in form of a
PCI Express expansion card
Side connectors on a laptop computer. Left to right: USB 3.0
host, VGA connector,
DisplayPort connector, USB 2.0 host. Note
the additional pins on the top side of the USB 3.0 port.
In laptop computers that lack USB 3.0 ports but have an
ExpressCard slot, USB 3.0 ports can be added by using an
ExpressCard-to-USB 3.0 adapter. Although the
itself is powered from a 3.3 V line, the connector also has a
USB 2.0 port available to it (some express cards actually use the
USB 2.0 interface rather than the true express card port).
However, this USB 2.0 port is only capable of supplying the power
for one USB 3.0 port. Where multiple ports are provided on the
express card, additional power will need to be provided.
Additional power for multiple ports on a laptop PC may be derived in
the following ways:
Some ExpressCard-to-USB 3.0 adapters may connect by a cable to an
additional USB 2.0 port on the computer, which supplies
ExpressCard may have a socket for an external power supply.
If the external device has an appropriate connector, it can be powered
by an external power supply.
USB 3.0 port provided by an ExpressCard-to-USB 3.0 adapter
may be connected to a separately-powered USB 3.0 hub, with
external devices connected to that USB 3.0 hub.
On the motherboards of desktop PCs which have
PCI Express (PCIe) slots
(or the older PCI standard), USB 3.0 support can be added as a
PCI Express expansion card. In addition to an empty PCIe slot on the
motherboard, many "
PCI Express to USB 3.0" expansion cards must
be connected to a power supply such as a Molex adapter or external
power supply, in order to power many USB 3.0 devices such as
mobile phones, or external hard drives that have no power source other
than USB; as of 2011, this is often used to supply two to four
USB 3.0 ports with the full 0.9 A (4.5 W) of power that
each USB 3.0 port is capable of (while also transmitting data),
PCI Express slot itself cannot supply the required amount
If faster connections to storage devices are the reason to consider
USB 3.0, an alternative is to use eSATAp, possibly by adding an
inexpensive expansion slot bracket that provides an eSATAp port; some
external hard disk drives provide both
USB (2.0 or 3.0) and eSATAp
interfaces. To ensure compatibility between motherboards and
peripherals, all USB-certified devices must be approved by the USB
Implementers Forum (USB-IF). At least one complete end-to-end test
system for USB 3.0 designers is available on the market.
USB Promoter Group announced the release of
USB 3.0 on November
2008. On 5 January 2010, USB-IF announced the first two certified USB
3.0 motherboards, one by Asus and one by Gigabyte. Previous
announcements included Gigabyte's October 2009 list of seven P55
USB 3.0 motherboards, and an
ASUS motherboard that was
cancelled before production.
Commercial controllers were expected to enter into volume production
in the first quarter of 2010. On 14 September 2009, Freecom
USB 3.0 external hard drive. On 4 January 2010,
Seagate announced a small portable HDD bundled with an additional
USB 3.0 ExpressCard, targeted for laptops (or desktops with
ExpressCard slot addition) at the CES in Las Vegas Nevada.
Linux kernel mainline
Linux kernel mainline contains support for USB 3.0 since
version 2.6.31, which was released in September 2009.
FreeBSD supports USB 3.0 since version 8.2, which was released in
Windows 8 was the first
Microsoft operating system to offer built in
USB 3.0. In
Windows 7 support was not included with
the initial release of the operating system. However, drivers that
enable support for
Windows 7 are available through websites of
Intel released its first chipset with integrated
USB 3.0 ports in 2012
with the release of the Panther Point chipset. Some industry analysts
have claimed that
Intel was slow to integrate
USB 3.0 into the
chipset, thus slowing mainstream adoption. These delays may be due
to problems in the
CMOS manufacturing process, a focus to advance
the Nehalem platform, a wait to mature all the 3.0 connections
USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0, SATA 3.0) before developing a new
chipset, or a tactic by
Intel to favor its new Thunderbolt
interface. Apple, Inc. announced laptops with
USB 3.0 ports on 11
June 2012, nearly four years after
USB 3.0 was finalized.
AMD began supporting
USB 3.0 with its Fusion Controller Hubs in 2011.
Samsung Electronics announced support of
USB 3.0 with its ARM-based
Exynos 5 Dual platform intended for handheld devices.
Speed and compatibility
Various early USB 3.0 implementations widely used the NEC/Renesas
µD72020x family of host controllers, which are known to require a
firmware update to function properly with some devices.
A factor affecting the speed of
USB storage devices (more evident with
USB 3.0 devices, but also noticeable with USB 2.0 ones) is
USB Mass Storage Bulk-Only Transfer (BOT) protocol drivers
are generally slower than the
SCSI protocol (UAS[P])
On some old (2009–2010) Ibex Peak-based motherboards, the built-in
USB 3.0 chipsets are connected by default via a 2.5 GT/s PCI
Express lane of the PCH, which then did not provide full PCI Express
2.0 speed (5 GT/s), so it did not provide enough bandwidth even
for a single USB 3.0 port. Early versions of such boards (e.g.
Gigabyte Technology P55A-UD4 or P55A-UD6) have a manual switch (in
BIOS) that can connect the USB 3.0 chip to the processor (instead
of the PCH), which did provide full-speed
PCI Express 2.0
PCI Express 2.0 connectivity
even then, but this meant using fewer
PCI Express 2.0
PCI Express 2.0 lanes for the
graphics card. However, newer boards (e.g. Gigabyte P55A-UD7 or the
Asus P7P55D-E Premium) used a channel bonding technique (in the case
of those boards provided by a PLX PEX8608 or PEX8613 PCI Express
switch) that combines two
PCI Express 2.5 GT/s lanes into a
PCI Express 5 GT/s lane (among other features), thus
obtaining the necessary bandwidth from the PCH.
Radio frequency interference
USB 3.0 devices and cables may interfere with wireless devices
operating in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. This may result in a drop in
throughput or complete loss of response with
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
devices. Various strategies can be applied to resolve the problem,
ranging from simple solutions such as increasing the distance of
USB 3.0 devices from
Wi-Fi routers and
Bluetooth devices, to
applying additional shielding around internal computer components.
There were some devices (for example Vivo Xplay 3S) which were
promised to come with
USB 3.0, however ultimately didn't ship with USB
3.0, because of manufacturer's inability to resolve the
electromagnetic interference caused by the
USB § Connectors
USB 3.0 Standard-A receptacle (top, in the blue color "Pantone
300C"), Standard-B plug (middle), and Micro-B plug (bottom)
A USB 3.0 Standard-A receptacle accepts either a USB 3.0
Standard-A plug or a USB 2.0 Standard-A plug. Conversely, it is
possible to plug a USB 3.0 Standard-A plug into a USB 2.0
Standard-A receptacle. This is a principle of backward compatibility.
The Standard-A is used for connecting to a computer port, at the host
A USB 3.0 Standard-B receptacle accepts either a USB 3.0
Standard-B plug or a USB 2.0 Standard-B plug. Backward
compatibility applies to connecting a USB 2.0 Standard-B plug
into a USB 3.0 Standard-B receptacle. However, it is not possible
to plug a USB 3.0 Standard-B plug into a USB 2.0 Standard-B
receptacle, due to a physically larger connector. The Standard-B is
used at the device side.
Since USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports may coexist on the same
machine and they look similar, the USB 3.0 specification
recommends that the Standard-A USB 3.0 receptacle have a blue
Pantone 300C color). The same color-coding applies to the
USB 3.0 Standard-A plug.:sections 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124
USB 3.0 also introduced a new Micro-B cable plug, which consists
of a standard
USB 1.x/2.0 Micro-B cable plug, with an additional 5-pin
plug "stacked" inside it. That way, the USB 3.0 Micro-B host
connector preserved its backward compatibility with the
Micro-B cable plugs. However, it is not possible to plug a
USB 3.0 Micro-B plug into a USB 2.0 Micro-B receptacle, due
to a physically larger connector. To be perfectly clear, you can run a
device with a USB3 Micro-B socket on a USB2 Micro-B cable at USB2
USB 3.0 Standard-A plug (top) and receptacle (bottom), with
The connector has the same physical configuration as its predecessor
but with five more pins.
The VBUS, D−, D+, and GND pins are required for USB 2.0
communication. The additional USB 3.0 pins are two differential
pairs and one ground (GND_DRAIN). The two additional differential
pairs are for SuperSpeed data transfer; they are used for full duplex
SuperSpeed signaling. The GND_DRAIN pin is for drain wire termination
and to control EMI and maintain signal integrity.
USB 3.0 connector pinouts
USB 2.0 differential pair
Ground for power return
SuperSpeed transmitter differential pair
Ground for signal return
SuperSpeed receiver differential pair
The USB 3.0 Powered-B connector has two additional pins for power
and ground supplied to the device.
Power provided to device (Powered-B only)
Ground for DPWR return (Powered-B only)
USB 2.0 vs
USB Micro-B SuperSpeed (
USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 (or earlier) Type-A plugs and
receptacles are designed to interoperate.
USB 3.0 Type-B receptacles, such as those found on peripheral
devices, are larger than in USB 2.0 (or earlier versions), and
accept both the larger USB 3.0 Type-B plug and the smaller
USB 2.0 (or earlier) Type-B plug. USB 3.0 Type B plugs are
larger than USB 2.0 (or earlier) Type-B plugs; therefore,
USB 3.0 Type-B plugs cannot be inserted into USB 2.0 (or
earlier) Type-B receptacles.
Micro USB 3.0 (Micro-B) plug and receptacle are intended
primarily for small portable devices such as smartphones, digital
cameras and GPS devices. The Micro USB 3.0 receptacle is backward
compatible with the Micro USB 2.0 plug.
A receptacle for eSATAp, which is an eSATA/
USB combo, is designed to
USB Type-A plugs from USB 2.0 (or earlier), so it also
accepts USB 3.0 Type-A plugs.
In January 2013 the
USB group announced plans to update
USB 3.0 to
Gbit/s (1250 MB/s). The group ended up creating a new USB
specification, USB 3.1, which was released on 31 July 2013,
USB 3.0 standard. The
USB 3.1 specification takes over
USB 3.0's SuperSpeed
USB transfer rate, also referred to
USB 3.1 Gen 1, and introduces a faster transfer rate called
USB 10 Gbps, referred to as
USB 3.1 Gen 2, putting
it on par with a single first-generation Thunderbolt channel. The new
mode's logo features a caption stylized as SUPERSPEED+. The
USB 3.1 Gen 2 standard increases the maximum data signaling rate
Gbit/s (1250 MB/s), double that of SuperSpeed USB, and
reduces line encoding overhead to just 3% by changing the encoding
scheme to 128b/132b. The first USB 3.1 Gen 2 implementation
demonstrated real-world transfer speeds of 7.2 Gbit/s.
The USB 3.1 standard is backward compatible with USB 3.0
USB 2.0. It defines the following transfer modes:
USB 3.1 Gen 1 - SuperSpeed, 5
Gbit/s (625 MB/s) data signaling rate
over 1 lane using 8b/10b encoding, the same as
USB 3.1 Gen 2 - SuperSpeed+, new 10
Gbit/s (1250 MB/s) data rate over
1 lane using
On 25 July 2017, a press release from the USB 3.0 Promoter Group
detailed a pending update to the
USB Type-C specification, defining
the doubling of bandwidth for existing
USB-C cables. Under the
specification, existing SuperSpeed certified USB-C 3.1 Gen 1
cables will be able to operate at 10
Gbit/s (up from
5 Gbit/s), and SuperSpeed+ certified USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 cables
will be able to operate at 20
Gbit/s (up from 10 Gbit/s).
The increase in bandwidth is a result of multi-lane operation over
existing wires that were intended for flip-flop capabilities of the
The USB 3.2 standard is backward compatible with USB 3.1/3.0
USB 2.0. It defines the following transfer modes:
USB 3.2 Gen 1x1 - SuperSpeed, 5
Gbit/s (625 MB/s) data signaling rate
over 1 lane using 8b/10b encoding, the same as
USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB
USB 3.2 Gen 1x2 - SuperSpeed+, new 10
Gbit/s (1250 MB/s) data rate
over 2 lanes using 8b/10b encoding.
USB 3.2 Gen 2x1 - SuperSpeed+, 10
Gbit/s (1250 MB/s) data rate over 1
128b/132b encoding, the same as
USB 3.1 Gen 2.
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 - SuperSpeed+, new 20
Gbit/s (2500 MB/s) data rate
over 2 lanes using
Extensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI)
List of computer peripheral bus bit rates
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As measured by the Ellisys
USB Explorer Protocol Analyzer, the IP
realized 10 Gbps
USB 3.1 effective data rates of more than
900 MBps between two
Synopsys HAPS-70 FPGA-based prototyping
systems while using backward compatible
USB connectors, cables and
^ Saunders, Brad; Nardozza, Liz (25 July 2017). "
USB 3.0 Promoter
USB 3.2 Update" (PDF). USB.org.
USB 3.0 Promoter
Group. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
^ Bright, Peter (26 July 2017). "
USB 3.2 will make your cables twice
as fast... once you've bought new devices". Ars Technica. Retrieved 27
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