This is a topic I find most people didn’t really know about is USB devices and connections. To keep it simple, you want to match the device (DVD-ROM, Portable HD, WebCam, Printer, etc) and connection of the same standard version, i.e., USB 2.0 connection on your laptop with a USB 2.0 device. During the switch of USB1.0 to USB2.0 most companies didn’t want you to know about the change, so that they can keep selling USB 1.0 products, and it caused some problems, for some products are not backward compatible. So you don’t want that to happen, although it is said that USB 3.0 is backward compatible.

At the end of the day, what does an average consumer needs to know about USB?

  1. It is a standard for connection of peripheral equipment to your PC.
  2. New standard is about new transfer rate, i.e., USB 3.0 (5Gbit/sec) is faster than USB 2.0  (480mbit/sec).
  3. On your computer, it is daisy-chained, although you will see multiple USB ports, i.e., you are sharing the same port for multiple extended equipment. In other words, the speed of data transfer is reduced by the number of devices attached.
  4. It’s backward compatible, and the lower denominator is the connection speed. In other words, connecting a USB 2.0 portable DVD ROM to a USB 3.0 will only transfer data at a maximum speed of a USB 2.0 port(480mbit/sec).
So this means when you buy a new computer, check which type of USB ports it come with, I have seen some with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and know which one is which. Since it is still fairly new-ish, USB 3.0 devices will be more expensive as usual for companies to make more money, so make your decision based on return on investment(ROI); in other words, if you have a USB 3.0 port on your computer, and you really need to buy a new portable drive, it would make more sense to buy a USB 3.0 drive than a USB 2.0’s, maybe not so much on a cost/MB perspective, but for future usability and time saved on backing up. It’s all up to you, but at least arm with knowledge of what you are paying for. Do you own research!