Synopsys Shows World's First USB 3.2 Demo With 20Gbps Speeds

Last September USB-IF, the USB governing body, published the specifications for USB 3.2. The emerging specification bonds two 10Gb/s channels together to achieve up to 20Gb/s of throughput. That's half the throughput of Thunderbolt 3, which is USB's strongest competitor.

Synopsys released a video of the world's first USB 3.2 demonstration. Synopsys used a Windows 10 host system running existing USB drivers embedded in the operating system. The target device was a Linux system configured as a mass storage device running a powerful array capable of at least 2,000 MB/s of throughput. The prototype hardware sitting in the middle consists of USB PHYs built on the FinFET process running at 10 Gb/s per lane. According to Eric Huang from Synopsys, lane bonding allows the interface to achieve USB 3.2 speeds.

We don't expect to see any device-side products using the new standard until mid- to late-2019. When these products do emerge, they will utilize commodity Type-C cables. Synopsys was very specific about the cables used in the demo. The company tells us that it used off-the-shelf Belkin USB 3.1 Type-C cables (like pictured above), which are the same as you can purchase at Target or other big box retails stores today.

USB 3.2's increased bandwidth will enhance existing technologies, but you'll need to purchase new hardware. We should see USB-connected monitors and storage products adopt the technology first, followed by professional and consumer devices soon after.

Chris Ramseyer
Chris Ramseyer is a Contributing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews consumer storage.