USB 3.2 to Double Performance on PCs

Posted on February 28, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware with 17 Comments

The USB Implementers Forum revealed this week that its nearly two-year-old specification for USB 3.2 will become a reality in 2019, doubling the performance of USB on new PCs this coming year. The bad news? This group of idiots is making USB even more complicated than before, too.

As you may know, USB 3 today is split into two different connection types, the classic “full-sized” USB 3.x Type-A port and the newer, smaller, and reversible USB Type-C, or USB-C (for “compact”), port. From a data transfer perspective, USB 3.0 originally offered 5 Gbps data transfer speeds over the Type-A port only, while USB 3.1 provides 10 Gbps of speed.

With USB 3.2, that performance will double to 20 Gbps, though, of course, your PC will need new hardware to achieve those speeds. And this performance is still half that of Thunderbolt 3, which is often utilized in at least some USB-C ports on modern PCs.

That’s all good. But the USB Implementers Forum makes Microsoft look like marketing geniuses when it comes to naming things. As part of the transition to USB 3.2, it is rebranding USB with new technical and marketing names, which range from unreasonable to ridiculous.

USB 3.2 will be called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 internally, and USB 3.1 is being renamed, much less illogically, to USB 3.2 Gen 2. From a marketing perspective, you’ll see the new port described as “SuperSpeed USB 20Gbp” on new PCs, while USB 3.1 ports will be called “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbp.”

I guess USB 3.2 was just too simple and obvious.

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