USB-C Speed Comparison

USB-C, or also USB Type C, first press released in 2013, got broad attention with the launch of Apples New Macbook in March 2015.

The new port brings many improvements such as smaller design, very high speed up to 40GB/s and vertically symmetrical with contacts on both sides.

A real breakthrough is the ability of simultaneous charging and data transfer!
There are currently seven different types of USB connectors already in use: USB 2.0 A, B, mini B and micro B; and USB 3.0 A, B and micro B. There’s about to be one more: the USB Type-C.

In this article, let’s take a look at how the transfer speed of USB-C performs compared to older versions of the port as well as competitors.



Speed Comparison of USB-Ports

Top speed Max power output Power direction Cable configuration Availability
USB 1.1 1.5 MB/s 2.5V, 500mA Host to peripheral Type-A to Type-B 1998
USB 2.0 60 MB/s 2.5V, 1.8A Host to peripheral Type-A to Type-B 2000
USB 3.0 625 MB/s 5V, 1.8A Host to peripheral Type-A to Type-B 2008
USB 3.1 1.12 GB/s 20V, 5A Bi-directional Type-C both ends, reversible plug orientation 2015


The original standard (Standard-B):

271px-Types-usb_th1.svgThis design was first made for USB 1.1 and is also used in USB 2.0.
It’s mostly for connecting large peripheral devices, such as printers or scanners to a computer.

Mini-USB (or Mini-B USB):

Significantly smaller, the Mini-USB Type-B ports are found in older portable devices, such as digital cameras, smartphones, and older portable drives. This design is becoming obsolete.

Micro-USB (or Micro-B USB):

Slightly smaller than Mini-USB, the Micro-USB Type-B port is currently the most popular USB port design for latest smartphones and tablets.

Micro-USB 3.0 (or Micro-B USB 3.0):

This is the widest design and mostly used for USB 3.0 portable drives. Most of the time, the Type-A end of the cable is blue.

Standard-B USB 3.0:

This design is very similar to the Standard-B, however, it’s designed to handle USB 3.0 speed. Most of the time, both ends of the cable are blue.

Other Connectors:

  • Firefire 400 = 50 MB/s
  • FireWire 800 = 100 MB/s
  • eSATA = 750 MB/s
  • Thunderbolt = 1.25 GB/s × 2 (2 channels)
  • Thunderbolt 2 = 2.5 GB/s


USB-C compared to other ports

USB-C compared to other ports

Future Developements

Intel unveiled Thunderbolt 3, with a USB Type-C connector, instead of Mini DisplayPort, and support for USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2 and PCI Express 3.0. This is great news because if Apple sticks with its new MacBook design, it could adopt the port and enable both Thunderbolt and USB Type-C without any adapters. It’s a step toward simplifying the messy sea of ports often found on laptops and PCs, and could make Thunderbolt accessible to a larger group of people than before. Thunderbolt 3 offers more than just port convenience. It’ll support a 5 GB/s connection over Thunderbolt.

In addition to crazy fast file transfer, the new Thunderbolt 3 can support dual 4K 60 Hz displays. Yes, it’s possible to connect old USB 1.1 and USB 2 devices over the port. Recording to Intel, the first Thunderbolt 3 products should ship later this year.

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