All right you are in the market looking to buy a new cool USB flash drive to transfer the data across your devices. You must be in search of a USB drive which comes with a good data transfer speed standard and is available at a very reasonable price.  

Hold up all your enthusiasm before it gets you scammed.

What kind of scam? Are we talking about cheap or fake USB drives and manufacturers? No, we are not talking about an intentional scam like selling you a cheap or fake UBS drives but an unintentional scam even the seller may be unaware of. You may be thinking that I am crazy and talking weird things here, but I assure you after reading this whole article you will thank me for saving your day. Let’s roll.

Popular USB Flash Drive Standard

The year 2020 is about to start and every one of us is trying to use the latest technology. Similarly, you must be in search of USB 3.0 instead of buying that old & legacy USB 2.0 standard if you have some knowledge about the USB drive standards or if your techie friend suggested you do this. Clearly, you both are looking for the right thing because nowadays USB 3 standards are most popular ones because of good hardware implementation and sophisticated data transfer rates, but you may not be able to buy the right product even after all of this. Let’s talk about everything in terms of data transfer speed because obviously, we all love more and more speed.

Confusing USB Drive Naming Convention and Speed Standards

We will eventually talk about USB 3.0 standard but let’s first discuss legacy standards for the records. The first standard of USB drives called USB 1.0 came with a standard theoretical speed of 1.5 Megabit per second (Mbit/s) or 0.1875 Megabyte per second (MB/s). A slightly improved version, USB 1.1, came with a better speed limit of 12 Mbit/s or 1.5 MB/s. After that USB 2.0 standard was released where transfer speed was increased up to 480 Mbit/s or 60 MB/s. USB 3.0 standard came with even better implementation and more transfer speed which was 5 Gbit/s or 625 MB/sYou must be thinking that the up-gradation will continue with this numbering scheme like increase the speed and increment the number by one; therefore, the next standard should be USB 4.0. You are completely wrong here and the weird things starts happening at this point.

The team behind the release of these standards decided to completely confuse the consumers with the weird naming scheme. They renamed the USB 3.0 standard to USB 3.1 Gen 1 and released a new standard with a naming scheme of USB 3.1 Gen 2 with a transfer speed of 10 Gbit/s or 1.25 GB/s. The speed in the new standard was increased to two times as that of USB 3.0 but the issue was the renaming of USB 3.0 to USB 3.1 Gen 1.  Still, it was quite digestible as you only have to remember that USB 3.0 = USB 3.1 Gen 1. The team decided to play even harder and give a greater twist to this naming convention. They again renamed the USB 3.1 Gen 1 to USB 3.2 Gen 1 and now this time also renaming USB 3.1 Gen 2 to USB 3.2 Gen 2. You must be thinking “OK not bad” the new standard after USB 3.2 Gen 2 would be USB 3.2 Gen 3 with more transfer speed. Well, you are wrong again.

The new standard was USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Heck yeah! the team finally got you. Confused? Don’t be because I am here to help you guys. The x2 in the latest standard means two data transfer lanes instead of one (You can search more about USB data transfer lanes on the internet). The transfer speed of the new standard was stated to be 20 Gbit/s or 2.5 GB/s. To market these three different versions of USB speed standards, which are quite popular nowadays, the team came up with another unique marketing naming scheme. According to the new marketing naming scheme, 5 Gbit/s is being called SuperSpeed USB, 10 Gbit/s as SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps, and 20 Gbit/s as SuperSpeed USB 20 Gbps.

It may take you a while to remember all these crazy naming schemes but once you do you will not be fooled to buy a USB 3.1 Gen 1 at more price than simply buying USB 3.0 at a lower price and getting the same transfer speed in the end. Now, it’s totally up to you which USB drive standard you buy according to your requirement and your budget. For your convenience, I’ve summarized below all the messed-up naming scheme of USB 3 drive standards.

You are totally welcome to take a print of this table and take with you while you go buying USB sticks next time. Be careful and always take a closer look at the packing to find out which speed standard is mentioned. All right Amigos take care and safe shopping and must tell your suggestions in the comment box below. 😉