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USB 3.2 specification announced, now only half the speed of Thunderbolt 3

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the USB 3.2 specification should be released in September 2017, and we should be seeing USB 3.2 devices soon after. USB 3.2 is the first post-USB Type-C specification, and all decent quality USB 3.1 Type-C cables should be compatible with this new standard. USB 3.1 hosts should also be fully capable of using USB 3.2 devices, albeit at slower speeds.

The main new feature of USB 3.2 is the transfer speed — twice the speed of USB 3.1 Gen2 at 20Gbps. This is still only half of Thunderbolt 3’s 40Gbps, but since USB is much simpler to implement and is already a royalty-free standard you should expect to see USB 3.2 implemented much more then Thunderbolt 3.

This high speed is made possible by using two lanes of 10Gbps each, meaning (as Intel would say) USB 3.2 is similar to two USB 3.1 Gen2 connections “glued together.” This is very similar to how Thunderbolt 3 operates, with four, 10Gbps, PCI Express generation 3 lanes being used in tandem to provide a total 40Gbps speed.

I can only see this standard being implemented on prosumer devices for the time being, as most consumer use cases are perfectly fine with USB 3.1 Gen2, and Thunderbolt 3 exists purely for the professional space and is a much better fit for it. What do you think? Might you have a use for USB 3.2? Discuss in the comments below!

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