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What is USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?

USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 is a multi-lane operation for new hosts and devices, allowing for up to two lanes of 10 Gbps operation to realise a theoretical 20Gbps data transfer rate. It delivers a strong performance boost to meet essential demands for USB storage. It allows the user to transfer data between devices quicker and supports backwards compatibility, addressing any concerns related to functionality with your older technology. Backwards compatibility implies that new drives support existing USB specifications.

USB-C®1 connector

A USB-C connector has four pairs of metal pins functioning as "lanes" that transfer and receive data. USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) and USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) use one TX lane (transmit) and one RX lane (receive), based on the positioning of the connector. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 takes advantage of all four lanes to achieve up to the theoretical 20Gbps transfer rate.

Why USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?
A chart comparing USB 2.0, 3.2 Gen 1, 3.2 Gen 2 and 3.2 Gen 2x2 transfer speeds using the XS2000 external SSD with various file types showing 3.2 Gen 2x2 to be the fastest.

Figure 1: Transfer speeds

USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20 Gbps) is 2X faster than its predecessor, USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps).
Figure 1 shows the transfer rate test results for different types of data transfer. The drive being tested is the XS2000 2TB portable SSD drive from Kingston.

XS2000 sitting on a laptop

An increasing number of host devices with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 support are being released and the XS2000 aims to leverage these hosts with its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 controller. The technology and transfer rate are only supported by the USB Type-C connector. USB Type-C connectors offer various improvements over USB Type-A, including multi-lane operation capability and a reversible connector with no ‘up or down’ orientation. Figure 2 includes a table showing the XS2000 benchmarks in all the supported USB technology.

XS2000 benchmark results
Specification Also known as Connector
XS2000 benchmark results2
read (MB/s) / write (MB/s)
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB USB-A
USB Micro A
USB Micro B
USB Mini A
USB Mini B
480 Mbps 42.76/43.35
USB 3.2 Gen 1 USB 3.0
USB 3.1 Gen 1
USB Micro B
5 Gbps 465.16/463.80
USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB 3.1
USB 3.1 Gen 2
USB Micro B
10 Gbps 1068.63/1038.85
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 USB 3.2
USB-C 20 Gbps 2086.65/2009.56
USB4 USB4 Gen 2×2
USB4 20Gbps
USB4 Gen 3×2
USB4 40Gbps
USB-C 10 Gbps, 20 Gbps, 40 Gbps
(depends on host specs)
Thunderbolt 4 n/a USB-C 40 Gbps 1069.20/1042.883

Figure 2: Benchmark results

What devices support USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?

There are a variety of motherboards and laptops that have implemented USB 3.2 Gen 2x2. Here is a short list of hosts with at least one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2:

Manufacturer Model/Type
ASUS PRIME Z390-A motherboard
ASUS PRIME Z590-A motherboard
GIGABYTE GC-USB 3.2 GEN2X2 PCIe expansion card
MSI X299 PRO motherboard
MSI Z490 MPG Gaming Edge (WiFi) motherboard
MSI Z590 MPG Gaming Edge WiFi Intel motherboard
MSI TRX40 Pro WiFi AMD motherboard
DELL Inspiron 15 5515 15.6" laptop computer AMD
DELL Inspiron 15 5510 15.6" laptop computer Intel
ABLECONN PEX-UB159 PCIe expansion card
ORICO PE20-1C PCIe expansion card
What about Thunderbolt™ and USB4?

Thunderbolt and USB4 are different interfaces that have the protocol capabilities to run alternate mode or DisplayPort Alt mode. DisplayPort Alt Mode provides USB-C cables and connectors the ability not only to transfer data but also video and/or audio. Thunderbolt/USB4, although rated at 30/40Gbps, is commonly maxed out at USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds (10Gbps) (see Figure 2 above). Check the specification of your host device to confirm the USB transfer rate capabilities.

In future, with new generations of USB standards and the arrival of USB-C, there will be even better improvements.


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