If you are not familiar with USB flash drives or USB technology this page can help. Here are some basic definitions:
What is USB?
Universal Serial Bus is what the acronym stands for. USB is a standard developed by the USB Implementors Forum to define how peripherals can be connected to computer systems. There are several classes of USB devices, the most common are Mass Storage Device, Human Input Device and Composite Device.
Mass Storage Device is what USB flash drives are and other flash storage products. Mass Storage Devices use a standard software protocol to universally connect to any operating system. A Human Input Device, or HID is a keyboard or touch pad which works as a computer input device. A Composite Device is a combination of USB classes, for example a USB keyboard which also has a USB hub.
What is USB 2.0?
USB 2.0 is the most recent version of the USB standard. USB 2.0 specifications are updated protocols for hardware designers to obtain a maximum transfer speed of 480 megabits per second or Mbps. This translates into about 48MB per second in data transfer speed.
The reason for updating the older USB 1.1 standard was to increase the use of USB as the connectivity method for faster devices like video cameras, hard drives and higher performance USB flash drives. It’s important to note the 480 Mbps transfer rate is the theoretical maximum speed and most devices have a hard time doing that, especially USB sticks.
What is USB 1.1?
USB 1.1 uses many of the same connectivity standards as USB 2.0 however the specification limited the data transfer speed to just 12Mbps or 1.2MB per second. Many devices still use only USB 1.1. The types of devices used for USB 1.1 are slower input devices like key boards, mouse and USB gadgets such as lights, calculators, fans etc.
Does USB 1.1 and 2.0 Work Together?
The nice thing about USB is backwards compatibility. The connector is universal for all USB standards. USB 2.0 devices work fine with USB 1.1 interfaces or devices. All USB devices will work with a USB bus on your computer.
The only difference being a USB 2.0 device used on a USB 1.1 bus means the transfer of data is limited to that of 12Mbps. It would be hard to find a new computer using USB 1.1, but for older computers a USB stick will work just fine on a USB 1.1 bus.
Is there USB 3.0? Yes, kinda.
The USB-IF (Implementors Forum) made an announcement about USB 3.0 in Q4 of 2007. The official specification for standards will become available by mid 2008. USB 3.0 is aimed to have 10 times the transfer speed of USB 2.0. In addition, USB 3.0 will support fiber optics to maximize connectivity to a broader range of USB devices.
Does A USB Flash Drive Work On All Operating Systems?
For the most part yes. There are rare situations that a USB drive would not work on all systems. To summarize, the point of a USB flash drive is to have 100% exchange rate … meaning it should work on every computer. 99% of flash drives are FAT formated or FAT32 formated. This means the USB device will be recognized on all computers, Macs, Linux boxes and any Unix type computer.
The only time you’ll see problems is when a UFD (USB Flash Drive) is formated as NTSF (windows only) or formated as a RAW device. Here at USB Copier all flash drives are formated as FAT to insure compatibility on all computer operating systems.
How Do I Know My Flash Drive Is USB 2.0?
There is no easy way to tell if a USB flash drive is USB 2.0 compliant other than asking the manufacturer, reading the specifications of the drive or buying utility software to perform the investigation.
USB Copier has the ability to test the USB compliance so please contact us for more information about your drive.
How Do I Know My PC Is USB 2.0?
Any PC or laptop will tell you if the computer is USB 2.0 compliant.
- Go to “My Computer” and while hovering over it, right click and
- Select “Properties.” From there, click on the hardware tab and
- Open the “Device Manager.” From here a pop-up box opens and you may
- Scroll down to “Universal Serial Buss controllers” and there you should see a line item with the world “enhanced.”
- If you do not see the word “enhanced” for one of the USB controllers then your computer is not USB 2.0 compliant.
How Fast Is USB 2.0?
The maximum data transfer rate of USB 2.0 is 480 Megabits Per Second or Mbps. This is the theoretical maximum transfer speed and very few devices perform at that level. Most devices have other limitations to them, whether it be hardware design or software design, some how the performance will not reach the maximum level.
Flash drives have improved over the years but still do not transfer at the maximum rate. Each drive manufacturer is different and therefore transfer speeds vary from device to device.
USB Copier has benchmark and test software to provide performance feedback.
Do I Need USB 2.0?
No. Since USB 1.1 and 2.0 are 100% interchangeable you do not need USB 2.0. However, if you are looking to source flash drives, it is best to purchase USB 2.0 devices. One of the primary goals of using faster devices it to bring value to your customer. It’s more likely your customer will keep a high performance flash drive than one which is dog slow.
Can I Duplicate Flash Drives Myself?
Yes. Duplicating flash drives can be done at home…it’s a slow process of copy-n-paste. Once you purchase some USB hubs and calculate in the man hours to copy-n-paste flash drives you will quickly realize how expensive the process becomes.
USB Copier has specially designed hardware and software for large scale USB copying and USB duplicating. Combine the equipment hardware with USB Copier experience (all flash drives are not the same) you can rest-a-sure USB Copier can deliver a quality product in a timely manor.