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Choosing the best cable for you: Thunderbolt versus USB 3.0 versus USB 2.0

May 10, 2013

usb_30We all know that USB 3.0 is meant to be faster and more efficient for data transfer than 2.0, but should you really invest in upgrading your home or office to meet the new standard? Who wins in Thunderbolt versus USB 3.0? Whether or not you should upgrade your existing set-up or not has been hotly debated in recent months. Let this guide help you navigate the pesky question of whether or not upgrading is right for you.

First, let’s deal with USB 2.0 vs. 3.0. If your hardware only supports USB 2.0, you won’t be seeing accelerated data transfer, but you’ll be paying a premium for your USB 3.0 cables. If you want faster file transfers and you’re using older systems, it may be time to upgrade your hardware before you deal with your cables. It’s important to remember that your file transfers are only as fast as their individual parts allow them to be. So if your desktop or laptop is equipped with USB 3.0, and you’ve just purchased a USB 3.0 cable, you won’t see faster speeds if you’re linking them to an external drive that still operates on USB 2.0.

If you’re comparing Thunderbolt versus USB 3.0, the competition becomes more interesting. USB 3.0 is more ubiquitous, but Thunderbolt is faster and more reliable. Ultimately, if you need professional components that only work for Thunderbolt, you should go that route. But if you don’t have any special demands, the USB 3.0 products should work just fine for you.

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