How to tell if your machine has a USB 3.0 port

With more devices, especially hard drives utilizing USB 3.0 for faster read, write access, you would want to know if your machine is capable of utilizing the speed boost you’ll be getting from USB 3.0.

It's the blue port!

You may not care whether the laptop you bought a few months ago have USB 3.0, not until you get a brand new external storage with USB 3.0 capabilities. The easiest way to know if you have USB 3.0 port on your notebook is to check if the port has that sky blue color on it, or if it has “SS”, which stands for super speed, etched beside it.

So what can you get out of USB 3.0?

Really fast access compared to USB 2.0. If you’re only getting 20 MB/s transfer speed on an ordinary portable drive, an average drive with USB 3.0 can go up to 100 MB/s data transfer. Faster drives, can probably reach close to a USB 3.0’s full potential of 10x the speed of USB 2.0.

Do you need a different cable for USB 3.0?

It looks like a microUSB cable with a conjoined portion for power

USB 3.0 ports are backwards compatible so you can still use it to plug USB 2.0 cables and drives (don’t expect USB 3.0 speeds though). If you want to connect a USB 3.0 device onto a USB 3.0 port, you will need a special cable. It looks just like your ordinary USB, MiniUSB, or microUSB cables but it will have another mini port for power.

BONUS: What is that yellow-colored USB port on my laptop?

Some laptops might have a yellow-colored USB port (I know Lenovo does this). This is not a USB 3.0 port. It’s a powered port you can use to charge your devices even if the laptop is turned off.

I recently came across a USB 3.0 2TB portable storage so I got curious whether my laptop at home, or my office machine has a USB 3.0 port hence this post.

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