USB Port

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USB Port

Short for universal serial bus, USB (pronounced yoo-es-bee) is a plug-and-play interface that allows a computer to communicate with peripheral and other devices. USB-connected devices cover a broad range; anything from keyboards and mice, to music players and flash drives. For more information on these devices, see our USB devices section.

USB may also be used to send power to certain devices, such as smartphones and tablets, as well as charge their batteries. The first commercial release of the Universal Serial Bus (version 1.0) was in January 1996. This industry standard was then quickly adopted by Intel, Compaq, Microsoft, and other companies.

USB Connector Ports

USB Connectors Pinout

USB transfer speeds

» USB 1.x
It is an external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of 12 Mbps and is capable of supporting up to 127 peripheral devices. The picture shows an example of a USB cable being connected into the USB port.

» USB 2.0
It is also known as hi-speed USB, was developed by Compaq, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC, and Phillips and was introduced in 2001. Hi-speed USB is capable of supporting a transfer rate of up to 480 megabits per second (Mbps), or 60 megabytes per second (MBps).

» USB 3.0
It is also known as SuperSpeed USB, was first made available in November 2009by Buffalo Technology, but the first certified devices weren't available until in January 2010. USB 3.0 improved upon the USB 2.0 technology with speed and performance increases, improved power management and increased bandwidth capability. It provides two unidirectional data paths for receiving and sending data at the same time. USB 3.0 supports transfer rates up to 5.0 gigabits per second (Gbps), or 640 megabytes per second (MBps). Following the release of USB 3.1, it has been officially renamed to "USB 3.1 Gen1" for marketing purposes. The first certified devices included motherboards from ASUS and Gigabyte Technology. Dell began including USB 3.0 ports in their Inspiron and Dell XPS series of computers in April 2011.

» USB 3.1
It is also known as SuperSpeed+, was made available as of July 31, 2013, and is the latest version of the USB protocol. USB 3.1 is capable of transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps, putting it in line with the first generation of Apple's Thunderbolt channel. Today, many devices use the USB 3.0 and 3.1 revisions for improved performance and speed.

» USB Type-C
It was developed around the same time as USB 3.1 and is a reversible-plug, 24-pin, double-sided connector for use with USB devices.

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