This post is a part of a six-part series from the white paper "The Measure of an Enclosure-Five Factors to Consider When Choosing External Data Storage". Can't wait to read the whole paper? You don't have to! Read it right here. The paper includes a glossary, charts and illustrations to help explain further.
MAKING SENSE OF USB
Today there are many types of USB connectors and standards available. USB 1.0 is the slowest version, and along with USB 1.1 are obsolete. USB 2.0 uses connectors that are identical in shape to USB 1.0 and 1.1, but is able to transfer data at 480Mbps and is the most widely adopted USB standard to date. USB 3.0 connectors are easily distinguished by their blue markings and can transfer data at up to 5 Gbps when connected to a USB 3.0 compatible host. USB 3.1 is able to transfer data at 10Gbps, double the speed of USB 3.0, and its connectors can be mechanically identical to USB 3.0.
USB 3.1: THE NEXT FRONTIER
The USB 3.1 specification defines three aspects that are going to change how we think of data connectors, or interconnects. The first is the data transfer rate of 10Gbps, twice as fast as USB 3.0.
Next is the ability to deliver power to any device that it’s plugged into. In its fullest implementation, USB 3.1 can deliver up to 100W of power in either direction, depending on what the controller in the cable is sensing. For example, a USB 3.1 hard drive plugged into an AC power source can deliver power to a laptop that needs it. Likewise, power can be provided to a bus powered hard disk drive or printer, eliminating the need for a separate power brick to power each device.
Finally, USB 3.1 brings with it the flippable Type C universal connector. The Type C connector has no up or down orientation, so there is no more guesswork on which way to plug in your USB Type C cable.
Because these three elements can be implemented independently, there is potential for confusion in the marketplace early in the rollout of USB 3.1. However, since it is an open standard, it has the possibility of greatly influencing and changing how we think about external storage and other devices connected to our computers.
This post is an excerpt from the white paper "The Measure of an Enclosure-Five Factors to Consider When Choosing External Data Storage". Read the complete paper for technology choices and five factors to think about when making a decision on what external drive will work best for your needs.