If you are a professional photographer and purchase USBs for your digital file delivery you may have run into USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. What’s the difference, what do you need, why is this important to you as a professional photographer? Here is a quick breakdown:
In the United States USB 2.0 is still widely available and used more often than 3.0; this is not the case in other countries. 3.0 is a newer generation of USB flash technology that evolved about 5 years ago. Starting in 2014 new PCs, tablets, and other electronic devices were built with USB ports to support 3.0 technology. To see if your device is 3.0 compatible just look inside the USB port. If it’s blue, you’ve got 3.0; if it’s black or gray, you’ve got 2.0.
So what’s the difference? The biggest differences between the two are:
- File transfer speed—the 3.0 transfer speed is up to 10 times faster than that of 2.0 USBs. The 3.0 USBs and USB ports have more pins or connectors that allow the data to be transferred at a quicker speed. Files can also upload and download simultaneously with 3.0.
- Improved energy efficiency—3.0 technology is also more energy efficient. They offer more power when needed, but reduce power consumption while idling. 3.0 USB’s can reduce power usage by up to 25%.
- For these reasons, 3.0 is also a more reliable option for large files such as high resolution images or videos. If you are handling large files 3.0 is better equipped to deliver and store these files.
- Cost—would it surprise you that the newer, more advanced USB was more expensive…? It shouldn’t. Broadly speaking, 3.0 USBs are more expensive, but you can find them for a very comparable price from some merchants. (I’ll give you a hint… check out Tyndell Photographic’s Crystal Flash Drives.)
Do you need to run out and upgrade your USB drives right away? Consider this… do you remember when Blu-Ray players came out? You could play a regular DVD in the Blu-Ray player–it worked just fine. BUT, you would not see the benefits of the Blu-Ray player without a Blu-Ray disc. It’s the same concept. To realize the benefits of 3.0 technology you and/or your client needs to be using a 3.0 enabled device. If the electronic device is pre-2014, then using a 3.0 is likely not necessary. If, however, the electronic device is post-2014, there’s a good chance both you and your clients will see the benefits of the upgraded technology.
This is a big deal for photographers. Digital files are very LARGE, so much of your time is spent uploading/downloading images. Theoretically, the USB 3.0 is up to 10 times faster and would speed up the overall process, enabling you to be more efficient with your digital files and providing you with a great option for digital photo packaging.
What do you think? Will you upgrade?
‘til next time…
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