Universal Serial Bus 3.0

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What Does Universal Serial Bus 3.0 Mean?

Universal Serial Bus 3.0 (USB 3.0) is a hardware communication interface used to connect peripheral devices to a digital unit or computer. It is the third generation of the USB interface developed in 2008 and standardized by USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF).


The USB 3.0 interface provides a faster data transfer rate (DTR) than previous USB versions. USB 3.0 uses a dual-bus structural design, whereas earlier versions use a serial interface. The USB 3.0 also replaces device polling (checking connections or determining the need to communicate) with an interrupt architecture protocol.

USB 3.0 is also known as SuperSpeed USB.

Techopedia Explains Universal Serial Bus 3.0

A USB 3.0 device may be plugged into a USB socket and used as a USB power supply for direct current (DC) in connecting portable devices.

Compared to older USB versions, the USB 3.0 provides various features:

  • Higher DTR of up to 5 Gbps
  • Decreased power consumption
  • Higher speed connectors and cables
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0
  • Better power management structure
  • Support of bulk and isochronous transfers
  • Up to 80 percent more power with configured devices
  • Up to 50 percent more power with non-configured devices
  • Replaces device polling with interrupt architecture protocol
  • Supports full-duplex data transfer using dual-bus architecture
  • Supports a a power savings mode when idle (by either the computer or a device)

The USB 3.0 has 4-pin architecture, versus earlier versions. The USB 3.0 Type A plugs and sockets are backward compatible with USB 2.0, but USB 3.0 Type B plugs do not accept earlier socket versions.

The USB 3.0 was designed to increase power input, decrease power consumption and increase DTR speed. Currently, the USB 3.0 standard supports a DTR of up to 5 Gbps. Typically, the throughput is 4 Gbps, and the USB-IF considers a DTR of 3.2 Gbps attainable.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.