USB 2.0 vs 3.0: Everything You Should Know in 2023

Cici updated on Aug 17, 2023 | Home > Knowledge Center

The concept of USB was initiated in the 1990s under the objective explanation of the "Universal Serial Bus." The idea behind this terminology involved the standard used to connect peripherals on a computer. While it turned out to be a source of describing communication protocols, it directed itself into becoming a method to transfer data between devices. USBs and USB ports emerged within the development.

However, to improve user experience, the enhancement of USB 2.0 and, eventually, USB 3.0 was observed. This article defines the boundaries of USB 2.0 VS. 3.0 to help users understand the differences.

USB 2.0 VS. USB 3.0: Definition

Before we dissect all the differences between USB 2.0 and 3.0, we will clarify their definitions. USB 2.0 and 3.0 display the generations in the USB specifications introduced to the market. Look through both sections to develop an understanding of the definitions:

What is USB 2.0?

This generation of USBs was introduced in 2000, succeeding the first generation. While it made its mark among users for providing high-speed results and high bandwidth, it offered a maximum transfer speed of 480Mbps. USB 2.0 turned into the world's most commonly adopted generation of USBs.

usb 2.0

What is USB 3.0?

The USB 2.0 was replaced by the 3.0 upgrade, which brought more speed, agility, and sustainability for users. While it was released in 2008, USB 3.0 has observed several iterations with improvements. Regardless, it was a game-changing upgrade when put in relativity with its previous version. With a transfer rate rising to 5Gbit/s, things changed in the field of data transfer.

usb 3.0

With a clear definition of both USB generations, it is the perfect time for a USB 2.0 VS. 3.0. Let's proceed to figure out a proper comparison between the USB types and generations in the market.

USB 2.0 VS. USB 3.0: Eight Main Differences

Our differences will be displayed with the help of a comparison table showing a proper USB 2.0 VS. 3.0. These eight prominent differences will guide you in developing a clear narrative on both technical generations of Universal Serial Bus:

Features USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Interior Color Black or White Blue
Maximum Speed 480Mbps 5Gbit/s
Power Consumption Delivers 5V at 500mA, making a total of 2.5W Delivers 5V at 900mA, making a total of 4.5W
Backward Compatibility If plugged in USB 3.0, it will work as 2.0, regardless. If plugged into USB 2.0, it will work as 3.0, making it backward compatible.
Connector Wires 4 9
Cable Length 5 meters 2 meters
Signaling Method Half Duplex – Can send or receive data one at a time. Full Duplex – Can send or receive data simultaneously.
Price Up to $10 Up to $40

With this table, it is clear that USB 3.0 provides better services and features than its predecessor. With better speed, power consumption, and methodologies, USB 3.0 is the clear winner in the USB 2.0 VS. 3.0. If you want to know the specific speed of the USB, you can use the DiskMark feature of EaseUS Partition Master to test it.

USB 2.0 VS. USB 3.0: Which One is Suitable for You

Are you still confused about selecting USB 2.0 or USB 3.0? While searching for the best one, there are several factors to look into. We will focus on the pointers necessary to assess how to select a suitable USB drive. A few situations have also been focused on while selecting a USB drive. This will help you find the suitable one considering your requirements:

  • For Less Cost: If you are prevalent in saving the cost of buying a USB drive, it is best to buy a USB 2.0. Because the initial cost of a USB 3.0 is three to four times higher than the 2.0 drives.
  • For Fast Speed: Some users require swift processing speed in executing more operations. USB 3.0 fits in perfectly, providing 8-10 times higher speeds than USB 2.0. In the USB 2.0 VS. 3.0, the latter wins by huge margins.
  • For Large Files: For handling bigger files of many GBs, a USB drive that is more sustainable and swift is preferred. As USB 3.0 holds better infrastructure for handling large files in smaller periods, you should consider using it.

While you search for the best USB drive for yourselves, there are several things to look into. First, ensure that the USB drive is from a renowned company for creating good USBs. Secondly, there are a few color code indications for USB 2.0 and 3.0. Have a clear view of the indications so that you can buy the right USB drive that you are willing to buy. After you decide the type of USB, you can use a professional USB format tool to format USB to NTFS to be compatible with the systems.


We have provided a clear overview of USB 2.0 VS. 3.0 with all the essential pointers. These factors guide users about the differences in both devices properly. Furthermore, if you are searching for a USB drive, this article has mentioned some excellent tips that can help you find the suitable one for your need. 

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Updated by Cici

Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.

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