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USB 2.0 vs. USB 1.0 and 1.1

Friday, April 21st, 2006 by | Filed Under: System Tune-Up Help

John from Florida asks:

What is the difference between USB 1.0 & 2.0?

As we all may know, USB ports are on your computer so you are able to connect external devices to work with your system. Most computers today come with one or more USB ports and they’re so fast and easy to use. It’s easy just to plug something into a port and go. Most newer computers come with USB 2.0 ports (or even 3.0 in some cases!), but some of the older ones still have 1.0 or 1.1 (which are very similar to each other).

So, knowing the differences between port speeds is important to understand. The main difference between the 2.0 and the 1.0 or 1.1 is that the 2.0 USB ports aremuch faster. It’s pretty much as simple as that. USB 2.0 averages a data rate of 480 Mbps (megabits per second) while USB 1.1 only hits 12 Mbps. That’s about 40 times as fast! Wow!

Also, USB 2.0 is considered Hi-speed mode while 1.0 and 1.1 are known as full- speed USB modes. Think of it like high-speed Internet, which is just a lot faster than dial-up. It’s about the same with the port speeds, so that’s an easy way to look at it to keep it all straight.

With those basic differences covered, let’s keep going to talk about how USB 2.0 and 1.1 work together. You may read all over the place (even in WorldStart’s ads) that 2.0 ports are backward compatible with a 1.0 or 1.1. So, of course, 1.1 ports are forward compatible with 2.0.

If you have a system with USB 2.0, you will see that as your main (enhanced) port when you go into your Device Manager, but you will also see two other USB controllers listed and those are there to allow for the different compatibilities. You also need to understand that any Hi-speed USB device will convert to the full-speed operations when you use a 1.1 device in a 2.0. They will automatically default to the lower speeds.

Just to let you know, mixing the different port speeds is not a big problem. As long as your system and your devices are healthy, you won’t run into any issues when working with the different port speeds. Just make sure you follow manufacturer guidelines and you should be good to go.

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