What is USB 3.1?

USB 3.1 technology is present in the lives of many users, just not everyone delve into it. We are talking about changes in the USB connection and the difference between USB 3.1, USB 3.2 and USB-C.

The universal USB sequential bus is a connector and the corresponding plug to it for connecting two computing devices, for example, a PC with gamepad or camera.

The year of the appearance of USB was the 1995th. Prior to that, the owners of computers had to use many different ports - parallel, consecutive, PS / 2, DIN, etc. Of course, no reason - and even more so universality - speeches at that time did not go. Only with the introduction of USB, the manufacturers of technology were able to come to a single standard of connections.

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officially represented in July 2013, USB 3.1 technology changed USB 3.0. The shape and physical dimensions of the connector remained the same, but the speed of working with data has increased significantly. Since that time, confusion began in the names and high-speed indicators of connectors using related technologies. Some people still do not see differences between USB 3.0, USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 and use these concepts as interchangeable (at least in everyday life).

In the Official Agreement on the names of the interfaces, the following is said:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 corresponds to the Marking of USB 3.0. The maximum bandwidth is 5 Gbps. Known also called SuperSpeed ​​USB.
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 is USB 3.1. Maximum bandwidth - 10 Gb / s. Additional designation - SuperSpeed ​​USB 10 Gb / s.
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 is USB 3.2. Maximum bandwidth - 20 Gbps. Additional designation - SuperSpeed ​​USB 20 Gb / s.

The specified speed indicators are theoretical maxima USB. In normal conditions, they are practically not achievable. The increase in coping speeds of large files becomes noticeable in comparison: when using devices with USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB 3.1) wins on the background of older USB 3.2 Gen 1 or USB 3.0 interfaces.

In recent years, USB 3.2 Gen 2 is becoming more widely distributed, but still supported by all devices. A clear example of changing generation generations - Dell XPS 13 laptop. Model XPS 13 9360 2017 released was supplied with two ports of USB 3.2 Gen 1, and the 2018 and 2019 models were already equipped with USB 3.2 Gen 2 type USB-C (O USB-C Talk a little bit later).

In addition to the speed of working with data from USB 3.2 Gen 2, there is another important advantage - support for the Power Delivery function (accelerated power supply). If PD is present in both connected devices, the charging speed can reach 100 W through one cable. The function has a special value for charging large laptop type devices. Most often it is implemented in the USB-C connector format.

USB-C and USB 3.1 is not the same

USB -C is often associated with USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 2 × 2. These concepts indicate different things. The letter designation USB - A, B, C - refers to the physical form of plugs and connectors, and numeric - 3.2, 3.0, etc. - are indicators of data transmission.

Now the transition from classical ports USB-A, USB-B and microUSB towards USB-C is active. It is small in size, the plug is inserted into it with any side.

With regard to the data rate, only USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 is achieved on USB-C.

USB-A is considered to be an outdated interface, but it is still widely used in laptops, PCs, consoles and beliefs (although most often all these devices along with USB-A are equipped yet and USB-C).


The shape of the connector (USB-A, USB-C, etc.) does not ensure that USB 3.2 GEN 2. For example, Microsoft Surface is present in the laptop, smartphone or tablet. For example, Microsoft Surface Book 2 received two USB-A ports and one USB-C, all of them work according to the USB Gen 1 standard, which is actually USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0), and not 3.2 Gen 2 (USB 3.1). That is, the maximum bandwidth for all USB interfaces Microsoft Surface Book 2 is 5 Gb / s, which has long been not considered an advanced indicator.

An unprepared person All these numbers will instantly dismiss. This once again proves: To select equipment with the latest connection standards, you need to read between the lines.

What about Thunderbolt 3?

Now the confusion will be even stronger. The new term - ThunderBolt 3, with which the USB-C port may have compatibility.

Thunderbolt 3 is a data transfer technology that works with the USB-C physical connector and provides a speed of up to 40 Gb / s (4 times higher than that of USB 3.2 Gen 2, and 2 times higher than that of the rapid USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2). Possible compatibility with USB 3.2 Gen 2 cables.

Thunderbolt 3 is used for charging, moving data, and streaming video to optional external displays. All these features are made possible by the use of USB-C, a universal connector that is compatible with previous generations of USB.

A USB-C port may have Thunderbolt 3 capabilities, or it may only work with USB 3.2 Gen 2. These nuances are indicated by manufacturers in the specifications.