What is a ‘USB Stick’

usb sticks

USB Sticks

USB sticks or flash drives as they are sometimes called, even memory sticks  and probably a whole lot more different terminologies for this product, but I believe we both know what I am referring to.

Businesses are competing for the sale of their brand of USB sticks, but there are a few things you need to be aware of when buying these sticks, whether they be online or from a corner store.

In essence a USB stick is just a device that plugs into a port with a tail that (in essence) houses a cache <available space for storage> USB Ports however are becoming so much more.

These USB sticks are built with different transfer speeds governed by the software onboard. usb stick exposed

Transfer speeds and what they mean to the user.

Universal Serial Bus 1.0 was introduced in January 1996 It is the original design, (mark I) if you like. which was frequently referred to as simply “USB”.  The USB 1.0 technology was developed by the following: IBM, Nortel,  Compaq,  Intel, DEC, Microsoft, and NEC. They  were devised as a way to standardize a protocol for connecting multiple devices, eliminating the need for multiple types of connectors and also allowing more bandwidth for devices. At this time, connecting devices were getting messy and a new way was sought to standardise this.  USB cables were able to transfer up to 12 Mbps, which was much faster than any previous protocols. This made it  feasible to connect hard disk drives and other devices that required high data transfer speeds to operate correctly. These connections also allowed for data transfer to/from another device. The wiring of this connection consisted of  a ground and a positive (5 volt) feed to power another device, coupled with data transfer bar to the device and data transfer from the device, Excellence in its simplicity eh?

USB 2.0 was released in 2000 as an improvement to the USB specification. isb stick 2 & 3

It boasted speeds of up to 480 Mbps, which was by far, an improvement over the original speeds of USB 1.0. At this time USB 2.0 became very popular and is still the most popular connection type for peripherals in use today.  Most computers and laptops include at least two USB 2.0 ports, and some include even more, owing to the increasing need for more ports to connect users’ devices, because of the popularity and wide use of this style of connection.

USB 3.0 was released in November of 2008, and is yet another improvement on the original protocol. USB 3.0 products  looks to be a big improvement in speed, as it can theoretically reach speeds up to 4 Gbps, which is faster than the limitation of most hard drives.

While USB has been around for a few years now, its continued improvement and refinement means it will likely be around for years to come. The promise of very fast transfer rates for USB 3.0+ means that it could replace virtually every connection on a computer or laptop.

Don’t let us forget that the port needs to accommodate the speed asked of the device. (The host controller directs traffic flow to devices) So in other words, the USB devices that are (for example) USB 3.0 it will be backwards compatible to USB 2.0, which could be the host controller speed) however if the speed of the port is only USB 2.0 speed, then the USB device will still work but at the speed of the port (USB 2.0).

usb sticks

USB 4.0 speed and release date estimates?

 There doesn’t appear to be official proposals for the USB 4.0 specification, however if its speed increase is in line with previous spec revisions, it should offer transfer rates of approximately 10,000 MBps, ten times faster than both its predecessors. In terms of release date, the previous major USB releases are spaced out by round about six years so could be around the 2020 mark for USB 4.0.
Hopefully, this information has assisted in the purchase of your next USB stick or USB device concerning the transfer speed of the USB ports, let us know what your thoughts are.
Bookmark this page and keep coming back to see what is happening in the world of Buying USB sticks Online, or leave a comment – I would love to hear what you have to say.
Wishing You Life’s Best


  1. Very informative article. I have learned something new. I didn’t pay attention to this information when I bought memory sticks in the past. I usually just check the brand and the capacity of the stick. Also I have very old memory sticks 128 MB and they still work. Are the transfer speeds you mention also applicable for SD cards?

    • Thank you for your comments, I have a couple of special uses for the old small capacity usb sticks, that is for an upcoming post, as for sd cards, they use 6 speeds from 2, 4, 6, 10, 1 and 3 The speed is noted on each card usually encased in a circle or a u. In the case off sd cards you pay for the higher speed, in the case of USB sticks, the port on the device (usb 3.0 for example) is paid for in the product itself.

  2. I like using USB sticks to send and receive data with others. The prices have gone down too, which makes them even more worthwhile to use. I always wondered what the difference between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 was. Based on what you mentioned, I can’t wait for USB 4.0 to come out.

    • Yes, it’s interesting and intriguing the way technology is unfolding, and like you I can’t wait to view the next version. Take Care

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