Is USB 3.0 worth it?

After taking a stroll in Microcenter in search of a new external hard drive, you immediately notice the USB 3.0 logo on one of the boxes. Because you are already aware of USB 2.0, you become skeptical but, nevertheless, excited about what this new technology is. You stand there weighing your options as the 1 TB USB 2.0 external is $60 less than the USB 3.0 model. The first question you have is:

Will a USB 3.0 device work on my USB 2.0 computer ports?

Yes. USB 3.0 is completely backwards-compatible with USB 2.0. This means that buying that brand new USB 3.0 external hard drive will definitely work on your older computer. However… you will not see the true speed increase of USB 3.0 when using it with older technology. Newer motherboards are coming out that have built-in USB 3.0 chips that will allow consumer to fully receive the benefits of these newer hard drives. As you continue to weigh your options you wonder if there is any way to get a USB 3.0 port on your older computer. The answer is once again: yes. Buy buying a USB 3.0 PCI card, you will get very close to the speeds of a dedicated USB 3.0 connector.
So how much difference is there in speed?

While manufacturing companies tout the specifications of their devices, more times than not they fail to meet those lofty expectations. USB 2.0 theoretically transfers data at up to 480 Mb/per second. We all know that that is not the actual data speeds. In addition, USB 3.0 states that they can produce speeds of up to 5 GB/s. However, so many factors limit the performance of drives in reaching speeds this quickly. All in all, once can expect to see a substantial upgrade in the speed of both reading and writing from the drive. However, those looking for 100X speed increases will find themselves rather disappointed by what USB 3.0 has to offer for the time being.

Due to the relatively small amount of price difference between top tier USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 drives, it is fair to say that USB 3.0 may only be worth it to some. Some may find that USB 2.0 is just fine how it is. While others, who are dealing with largest files, may really appreciate the speed enhancements of USB 3.0. Regardless, it will soon become the new standard as more devices makes the switch such as : computers, cell phones, gaming systems, printers, camcorders, etc. It is always a good bet to stay current in the world of technology as new programs and new peripherals will be made in order to optimize the newest technologies. Similar sentiments have been expressed from users who constantly debate the real differences between DDR2 and DDR3.