Make your computer fit for USB 3.1

Make your computer fit for USB 3.1

The USB 3.0 interface is far from exhausted by its potential, since 3.1 comes the next USB standard, which at 10 Gbit / s is twice as fast as its predecessor.

1Before we get to the purchase advice, however, a small comment in the USB interface definition: Rather unnoticed by the general public, the USB 3.0 and -3.1 interfaces were renamed, even if the whole rather confusing. The interface currently known under USB 3.0 is now officially named USB 3.1 Gen 1 and USB 3.1 has been renamed to USB 3.1 Gen 2. As a result, the next generation will probably be called USB 3.1 Gen 3 and have a transfer rate of 20 GBit / s. How useful the whole thing will be. But why that was necessary, is not really understandable. Since this purchase advice is only about USB 3.1-Gen-2 peripherals, we will speak for the sake of simplicity only of USB 3.1.

Together with USB 3.1 comes the new type C plug. This solved, among other things, the known problem that one always chooses the wrong one of two ways to plug the USB plug into the port. The new plug always fits, no matter how you turn it. Whether this was the reason for the change in shape, let’s take a look. The fact is that there are now two standard USB plug variants for USB 3.1. On the one hand, the familiar connector with the type A connector and the new type C variant. Because the USB 3.1 peripherals generally have the Type C connector, the future USB standard cable will become a pure Type C cable and, as a transition, a cable with a combination of Type A and Type C connectors be.


Which controller cards are suitable for USB 3.1?

Before we think about the right cable, however, we need a PC with a USB 3.1 slot. Perfect if you already have a motherboard with USB 3.1 ports for AMD or Intel sockets. If the motherboard does not support USB 3.1, a USB controller plug-in card can be installed into a free PCI Express slot.


The controller cards are available in combination of Type A and Type C or only Type A or Type C slots.

Because the USB controller cards are priced at about the same level as the USB 3.0 cards, it is quite useful to have a USB 3.1 compatible card. However, care should be taken to ensure that a type A slot is present, e.g. USB 2.0 / 3.0 sticks – without using an adapter.


USB 3.1 compatible front panel

If the USB slots are not only accessible from the back, but also from the front, a USB 3.1 compatible front panel including a PCIe card is the right choice. In addition to the USB ports on the rear, you will also get some for the front. Similar to the USB controller cards, there are also the three different versions of Type A and Type C slots.


What USB cables are there?

After the computer now has USB 3.1 ports, we come to the USB cables. As mentioned at the beginning, there are two standard versions of cables for the USB 3.1 port: the pure Type C cable and a combination of Type C and Type A. In addition to the standard cables, there are the links to the type B and Mirco B connectors.


What’s new in USB 3.1 sticks?

What would be a USB port without USB sticks? Of course there is also this in version 3.1. Although the selection is currently still very limited, but this will change in the near future. The type of plug must also be considered here. There is even a stick, the KINGSTON DataTravelermicroDuo 3C, which is compatible for both slots. In addition to the high transfer speed of a maximum of 100 MB / s, the sticks have up to 64 GB of memory.


The external USB 3.1 hard drives come

The external hard disks with USB 3.1 are certainly one of the most important and largest areas of USB 3.1 peripherals in the future. Unfortunately, there are currently very few external hard disks with USB 3.1 port available on the market. The Extreme 900 Portable SSD series from SanDisk will be available for sale starting on December 1, in versions 480 GB, 960 GB and 1.98 TB. If you do not want to wait until December, the already available Asus USB 3.1 Enclosure SSD with 512 GB memory can grow.


Other peripherals for USB 3.1

There are already some USB 3.1 capable hard disk enclosures and a hard disk docking station available. Recently, IN WIN, the 805, released a PC case that first had a USB 3.1 Type C port. Another novelty is the new Lumia 950 series of smartphones from Microsoft, which also have a USB 3.1 port. Together with the Display Dock from Microsoft, the display can be transferred from the Lumia 950 via USB 3.1 to an external monitor and controlled via keyboard and mouse.

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