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20Gb/s Capable USB 3.2 Finally Arriving to Desktops in 2019

Thunderbolt 2 Alternative

USB speeds are about to double once again with the arrival of USB 3.2 this year.  The first USB 1.0 port started out with a meager 12Mb/s, but saw a significant leap with the 480Mb/s USB 2.0. After that, the name-scheme got confusing with the subsequent release of the USB 3.1 Gen1 (formerly 3.0) and USB 3.1 Gen 2. Although what is clear is that USB 3.1 Gen 2 doubles USB 3.1 Gen1’s 5Gb/s to 10Gb/s.

Now USB-IF is keeping the confusing naming standard alive with USB 3.2. However, the good news is that we can expect the speed to double up to 20Gb/s. All while keeping the USB Type-C connector.

In comparison, Intel‘s proprietary Thunderbolt 2 also offers 20Gb/s and uses a mini-DisplayPort connector. Intel’s solution is also much more expensive, but USB 3.2 will be much more affordable in comparison. Retaining USB Type-C is also good news for most users since it is backwards compatible.

Existing USB 3.1 branding schemes will be absorbed by the new standard as well. So we will see 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps SuperSpeed), 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps SuperSpeed+), and 3.2 Gen2x2 (2x10Gbps SuperSpeed+). Which can be further confusing for most users, just like USB 3.1 Gen1 and USB 3.1 Gen2.

When Will USB 3.2 Devices Arrive?

The USB 3.2 standard itself was released back in September 2017, but according to USB-IF, 3.2 controllers will be available this year. Following manufacturing and compatibility testing of course, the safe bet is for 2020 until we see multiple devices in stores.

Ron Perillo

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