Usb 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2, 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 2×2, 4.0 Headers

There are a variety of different types of USB headers like Usb 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2, 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 2×2, 4.0 Headers, and they can all be used for different purposes in computers. Some headers are specifically designed to improve the performance of a USB device, while others are there to ensure compatibility with certain software or hardware. Whatever the reason, understanding which type of USB header is right for your project is essential.

usb 3.1 gen 1 gen 2 3.2 gen 1 gen 2 gen 2×2 4.0 headers
usb 3.1 gen 1 gen 2 3.2 gen 1 gen 2 gen 2×2 4.0 headers

difference between Usb 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2, 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 2×2, 4.0 Headers

This is clearly seen in the different versions and specifications of USB, which many users have trouble understanding. This is not surprising, especially considering their many updates. How, for example, do USB 3.0 differ from USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 from USB 3.2 Gen 2? If you look closely at this series of nomenclature units, you can see a certain pattern. Obviously, USB 3.1 Gen 1 is newer than USB 3.0 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 is newer than USB 3.1 Gen 2, but that’s not really the case.

The fact is that with the advent of USB 3.1, the usual digital marking of USB standards has changed radically, namely, these standards have been renamed. The USB specification maintainer, USB-IF, has done this to make it easier for developers and manufacturers to access design rules and device compatibility. Perhaps the latter found such a solution really useful, which cannot be said about ordinary users, in whose heads the renaming of the standards caused real confusion. All this needs some explanation. Check out detail guide on DisplayPort 1.1 Vs 1.2.

USB 3.0 Header

Introduced in 2008, the USB 3.0 standard is still used in many devices today. It can provide data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps (625 megabytes per second (MB/s). USB 3.0 is fully compatible with previous versions, but you will encounter speed limits. Although USB 3.0 can transfer data at 5 Gbps /s, when the cable is connected to a device with a USB 2.0 port, data will be transferred at a speed of no more than 480 Mbps (60 megabytes per second (MB / s). With the advent of new nomenclature rules in 2013, the simple and clear name of USB 3.0 has changed, and from now on this standard became known as USB 3.1 Gen 1 (SuperSpeed) However, on all motherboards, it is marked as USB 3.0.

X570 AORUS ELITE motherboard as USB 3.2 Gen 1.

x570 aorus elite
x570 aorus elite

USB 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2 Header

Providing speeds up to 10 Gb / s (1250 megabytes per second), the USB 3.1 standard appeared in 2013, the same one in which, according to the new rules, the USB standards were renamed. Naturally, he immediately received a new name USB 3.1 Gen 2 (SuperSpeed ​​+). On the motherboard marked as USB 3.1.

In the characteristics of the board as USB 3.2 Gen 2.

USB 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2 Header

Such confusion is explained by the fact that by the time the USB 3.2 standard was released in 2017, referred to by the new rules as USB 3.2 Gen 2 × 2 (SuperSpeed ​​++). In turn, for reasons understandable only to USB-IF, it was decided to rename the previous names, namely:

  • USB 3.0, also known as USB 3.1 Gen 1, is called USB 3.2 Gen 1 (SuperSpeed).
  • USB 3.1, also known as USB 3.1 Gen 2, became known as USB 3.2 Gen 2.

As for the name of the USB 3.2 standard, which provides speeds up to 20 Gb / s (2500 megabytes per second), we used it only for clarity of comparison, as it would be called if new nomenclature rules appeared. As already mentioned, this standard is called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2.

ASUS PRIME Z590-A board with USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C or USB-C port.

asus prime z590 a board with usb 3.2 gen2x2 type c or usb c port.
asus prime z590 a board with usb 3.2 gen2x2 type c or usb c port.

Structurally, all the mentioned standards remained the same, only the names have changed. 

The difference between the standards lies in speed and support for interface types:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 (formerly USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 Gen 1) 5 Gbps. (625 megabytes per second). USB-A, USB-C, and microUSB support
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 (formerly USB 3.1 and USB 3.1 Gen 2) 10 Gbps. (1250 megabytes per second). USB-A, USB-C, and microUSB support.
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – 20 Gbps. (2500 megabytes per second). Support only USB-C (Type-C).
  • USB4 – 40 Gbps. (5000 megabytes per second). Support USB-C (Type-C), Thunderbolt 3, and USB Power Delivery.

Must check out Difference Between HDMI And DisplayPort.

USB4 Header

USB4 is a new version of the USB standard that provides data transfer rates up to 40 Gb/s (5000 megabytes per second), twice the speed of USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. The new standard is compatible with previous versions up to USB 2.0, it promises support for USB Power Delivery and Thunderbolt 3. A distinctive feature of USB4 will be support for two speeds – 40 Gb / s and 20 Gb / s. According to the specification, the first version of the standard will be called USB4 Gen 3×2, and the second USB4 Gen 2×2, however, it is possible that the names may change, since “Gen 2×2” is already used in the description of the USB 3.2 standard.

USB Connector types

There are several versions of USB connectors, and each has its own purpose.

  • type-A keyboards, flash drives, mice, etc.
  • type-B office equipment (printers, scanners), etc.
  • mini type-B card readers, modems, digital cameras, etc.
  • micro type-B has been the most common in recent years. Most smartphones used this type of connection until type-C appeared. It still remains quite relevant.
  • type-C is the most current and promising connector, fully symmetrical and double-sided. Appeared simultaneously with the USB 3.1 standard and is relevant for later versions of the USB standards.

Superspeed, Gen: different symbols on USB ports mean

As soon as USB 3.1 appeared in the types of standards, the usual digital marking changed and became very confused. The clear and simple USB 3.0 automatically became USB 3.1 Gen 1 and was labeled SuperSpeed. And USB 3.1 itself became known as USB 3.1 Gen 2 with SuperSpeed ​​+ marking.

But this has already lost its relevance with the release of the USB 3.2 standard. It was called USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and labeled SuperSpeed ​​++. As a result, the labeling of all previous standards changes again. Now USB 3.0, aka USB 3.1 Gen 1, is retroactively becoming USB 3.2 Gen 1 with the former SuperSpeed ​​label. And USB 3.1, which became USB 3.1 Gen 2, also rose to USB 3.2 Gen 2. At the same time, structurally, all the standards remained the same – only the names change. If you are already confused by all these numbers and markings, the table below will help clarify the current names.

More briefly, now you can recognize the USB standards like this:

USB 3.0 is USB 3.2 Gen 1 aka Superspeed
USB 3.1 is USB 3.2 Gen 2 aka Superspeed+
USB 3.2 is USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 aka Superspeed++


In conclusion, USB headers i.e USB 3.1 Gen 1, Gen 2, 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 2×2, 4.0 Headers are a convenient way to connect devices to a computer. They are easy to use and provide a reliable connection. If you need to connect a device to your computer, consider using a USB header.