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What Is USB 3.0 Cable Difference

The second half of this year will be exciting for as USB 3.0 products and devices make it’s way into the retail space.  Today we are going to start off with one of the first products, the USB 3.0 Cable.

usb 3.0 cable

USBFever released their 6 foot USB 3.0 cable for $10.  The cable is USB A male to A male connector.  The cable looks the same as a USB 2.0 cable, so what’s the difference in a USB 3.0 cable?  Read on:

USB 3.0 is also called USB SuperSpeed.  When data is being transmitted under the SuperSpeed dual simplex signaling occurs, meaning…it’s possible two sets of data signals could be transmitted over the cable.  This is required to keep the USB 3.0 specification backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.0.  To accomplish the dual simplex signaling, the USB 3.0 cable needs more wires.

So here’s the breakdown of USB 3.0 wires inside the cable:

  • There are two wires for power.
  • Two wires for non-SuperSpeed data transmition
  • Four wires for SuperSpeed data

Collectively this gives you an 8 wire USB 3.0 cable.  This is different from a USB 2.0 cable by having twice as many wires.  A USB 2.0 cable only has four wires:  Power, Ground and Data for each direction.  USB 3.0 includes these 2.0 requirements plus the additional 4 wires needed for SuperSpeed.

Another notable feature of USB 3.0 specification which we can find in USB 3.0 cables is the power load.  With USB 3.0 the new power load is 150mA.  This is about 50% more than USB 2.0.  The minimum operating voltage dropped from 4.4V to 4V.

Click if you need a schematice of a USB 3.0 connector, I wrote about this a couple months back.

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