Two years after its offifial announcement, the ultra-fast USB 3.2 is finally coming to PCs later this year.
The USB-IF standards body has announced that USB 3.2 capable controllers will be available in desktop PCs by the end of 2019. USB 3.2 offers ultra-fast 20Gbps speed.
The USB 3.2 will be named "USB 3.2 Gen 2x2" because two 10Gb/s connections run parallelly in the wire.
But the USB-IF standards body also announced a confusing new branding fot the older USB versions. The USB 3.2 specification absorbed all prior 3.x specifications. USB 3.2 identifies three transfer rates, USB 3.2 Gen 1at 5Gbps, USB 3.2Gen 2 at 10Gbps and USB 3.2 Gen 2x2at 20Gbps:
- USB 3.2 Gen 1 (previously referred to as USB 3.0, or formally as USB 3.1 Gen 1) has a 5Gbps transfer rate and is officially known by the marketing name SuperSpeed USB.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 (previously referred to as USB 3.1, or formally as USB 3.1 Gen 2) has a 10Gbps transfer rate and is now officially known as SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps.
- USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (the latest spec) has a 20Gbps transfer rate and is now officially known as SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps.
To avoid consumer confusion, USB-IF’s recommended nomenclature for consumers is “SuperSpeed USB” for 5Gbps products, “SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps” for 10Gbps products and “SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps” for 20Gbps products. In order to identify performance capabilities, USB-IF recommends submitting products to the USB-IF Compliance Program and then, once successful, using the logos for consumer recognition.
This confusing branding has been leveraged be manufacturers who say that their peripherals and PCs support “USB 3.1” which in fact is “USB 3.1 Gen 1” that offers slower 5Gb/s speed.
These new specs refer only to throughput speed, not to the physical USB cable or port. We're still in the middle of a gradual transition from USB-A to USB-C physical connectors, but that's a separate issue.
The new specifications are backward-compatible, meaning that you'll still be able to plug in an older USB device to a new USB 3.2 port.