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USB 3.0 Backwards compatibility for dummies

Last response: in Storage
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March 22, 2010 3:34:06 PM

Hola!

I've got probably the most basic question on the planet about SuperSpeed USB. I have a laptop with only USB 2.0 ports. Can I buy a SuperSpeed hard drive enclosure online and plug it right in to the 2.0 port? I keep hearing that 3.0 is backwards compatible, but the images of the ports don't exactly look it.

I fear the enclosure will arrive and I'll be the ign'ant fool who should have realized that what "backwards compatible" meant was that you could plug USB 2.0 devices into the 3.0 ports that I ain't got.

If the latter is the case, are there any 3.0->2.0 cables for sale?

And if you're thinking, "Why would this fellah want to buy a 3.0 device if he's only got a 2.0 speed port?" the answer is "future proofing." When I ditch my current laptop, I still want to be able to use the enclosure with my next laptop.

Thanks for the illuminating V-8 knock upside the head.
a c 415 G Storage
March 23, 2010 12:22:22 AM

You've got it. The trick to backward compatibility is that despite the fact that USB 3.0 cables actually have more contacts and more wires, both the "A" (host port) and "B" (device connector) USB 3.0 sockets are designed to be able to accept USB 2.0 cables. When you first see a USB 3.0 cable, especially the "B" end, you're likely to wonder how that could be - but it really does work.
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