You bought a new PC with third generation USB ports, you plug in your external hard drive and suddenly you see how the transfer speed is not what you expected. Your PC is supposed to have a USB 3.1 or USB 3.2 interface, but everything is transmitted at 3.0 speed. You start to wonder why.
Limited to 3.0 on USB port hubs
You bought a new tower to build a new PC and observed how most of them have a front hub with the same I / O configuration built in as standard. A few USB 2.0 Type A ports, several USB 3.0 Type A ports, rarely USB-C ports and the corresponding audio mini-jacks. But if we want to use USB 3.1 or USB 3.2, we are forced to install an additional hub on our PC.
Another place where it seems impossible to get bandwidth for devices beyond USB 3.0 is in the USB-C ports, where in theory it would be possible to get bandwidth of 10 even 20 Gbps in many cases we have to settle for just 4.8 Gbps of bandwidth which is a reduction in performance especially if we are using an external SSD, one of the devices that uses the most bandwidth from the USB port.
USB 3.X, a quick overview of its interface
The USB 3.2 and USB 3.1 standards include two interfaces in their controller. On the one hand, a USB 2.0 interface with which all devices using this version of the protocol will communicate. On the other hand, a USB 3.1 or USB 3.2 interface to which all devices using a third generation USB interface will be connected. In this context, this should not be a complication since USB 3.2 is backward compatible with USB 3.1 and 3.0.
But backward compatibility is tricky, because internally the driver used for USB 3.0 is not the same type of driver that is used for USB 3.1 and USB 3.2. In the case of USB 3.0, it is called USB SuperSpeed, while USB 3.1 and 3.2 are called SuperSpeedPlus.
How are USB 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 ports different? To begin with, if we compare the number of pins between the different versions of the interface, we will see that they are the same and have the same configuration in USB Type A, Type B and Type C. Therefore, the additional bandwidth is obtained based on increasing the clock speed and with it the power consumption of the USB controller, but the difference is negligible enough that the fastest USB interface is not sought after.
The reason many manufacturers use USB 3.0 speeds is because internally, although they use a USB 3.1 or USB 3.2 controller, what they do is subdivide the external devices. From one Gen 1 × 2 or Gen 2 × 1 interface, we can get two Gen 1 × 1 interfaces, or in other words, two USB 3.0 interfaces. From one Gen 2 × 2 interface, you can get four USB 3.0 interfaces.
For the general public, having more USB ports with which to connect as many devices as possible is considered to be much better, the problem arises when we often expect certain USB ports to work a certain way and not.