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USB 3.0 Connectors - The New Standard?

The USB (Universal Serial Bus) connector standard is nearly 20 years old, and the small rectangular connector is familiar to users worldwide. The USB connector standard has been adopted across almost every industry, and in such a complete way that it probably rivals the D-subminiature connectors as the most familiar connector type in the world. Such a complete adoption means that there are literally millions of devices, computers and systems that use the USB connector.

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The range of USB connectors has grown over the years to include variations of the standard, but in that time, the capabilities of computers and equipment have improved out of all proportion. The data speeds and bandwidths that are required by today's communications equipment were the stuff of science fiction when the original USB connector was released. As a result, the USB connector has evolved in order to keep pace, and the latest generation is USB 3.0

On the surface, they look the same as the older versions and, with the exception of the blue colour that identifies the USB 3.0 standard connector, this is intentional. As we've seen, with so many devices already using USB connectors, it is important that a new connector design does not render all of this equipment obsolete overnight. And so the USB 3.0 connectors can still be used in sockets of the older versions - "backwards compatibility" in the industry lingo. Even so, why should anyone want to make the change to USB 3.0? What has USB 3.0 ever done for us?

The simple answer is... speed. The USB 3.0 connector can handle data speeds of over 5 Gigabits per second - fully 10 times the capability of the familiar USB 2.0 standard. In fact, the capabilities of the connector go beyond this. The old USB 2.0 standard uses 4 contacts to perform one-way communication. The USB 3.0 connector boasts an additional 5 contacts to allow full duplex (two-way communications).

The USB 3.0 standard is growing in popularity, with major manufacturers offering USB 3.0 capabilities on their new equipment. The need for USB 3.0 connectors will continue to grow, and world-leading manufacturer Molex is perfectly placed to assist. Molex offers a range of USB 3.0 connectors to suit all applications, all available from RS Components for delivery next day.

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Connector Geek is Dave in real life. With 29 years in the industry, Dave still likes talking about connectors almost as much as being a Dad to his two kids. He still loves Lego too...

5 Nov 2013, 12:47