USB 3.0 is the next major revision of the ubiquitous Universal Serial Bus, created in 1996 by a consortium of companies led by Intel to dramatically simplify the connection between host computer and peripheral devices. Fast forwarding to 2009, USB 2.0 has been firmly entrenched as the de-facto interface standard in the PC world for years (with about 6 billion devices sold), and yet still the need for more speed by ever faster computing hardware and ever greater bandwidth demands again drive us to where a couple of hundred megabits per second is just not fast enough.
In a nutshell, USB 3.0 promises the following:
The good news is that USB 3.0 has been carefully planned from the start to peacefully co-exist with USB 2.0. First of all, while USB 3.0 specifies new physical connections and thus new cables to take advantage of the higher speed capability of the new protocol, the connector itself remains the same rectangular shape with the four USB 2.0 contacts in the exact same location as before.