With the introduction of new versions e USB specifications we have seen an increase in confusion, especially when names change and there is a need to adopt new names. It is not always easy to establish the USB speed: each port and each cable can support different specifications, guaranteeing very different performances during data transfer.
In the article dedicated to the differences between USB ports and cables, we provided a practical tip: when looking at a device or a USB cablereferences such as “Gen 1”, “Gen 2”, “Gen 2×2”, “Gen 3×2” are the best to establish the performance and data transfer capabilities.
The indication Gen 1 means that it is not possible to exceed one full speed theoretical data transfer rate of 5 Gbps; with Gen 2 it goes up to 10 Gbps; with Gen 2×2 you can reach up to 20 Gbps; with Gen 3×2 up to 40 Gbps (the latter achievable only with USB4). As of September 2022, USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) presented USB4 2.0 which brings the maximum bandwidth engageable at 80 Gbps.
Elgato prints the USB speed directly on the cable – great idea
Elgato is a brand of consumer technology products: founded in 2010, with headquarters in Munich (Germany), the company was acquired by Corsair in 2018. Today it produces and markets USB and HDMI cables, Thunderbolt docks, webcams, microphones, instruments for gamers, Stream Deck (a pad that extends the functionality of the keyboard), teleprompter and much more.
Matt McWilliams points out which is printed on the latest Elgato brand cables maximum bandwidth supported together with the USB standard version.
Image source: Matt McWilliams.
How much time did you spend at classify i cavi USB-C grouping them between high-speed ones, cables that can support fast charging, and cables that can do both? No cable on the market, to date, has ever reported the speed or provided information on its type. Yet it is an essential aspect because it is essential to understand which devices are fastest to avoid bottlenecks.
In the case of the Elgato USB cable photographed by McWilliams, it is clear that it is a compatible device USB Gen 1 (up to 5 Gbps). But how useful is such an indication? So much.
USB cable specifications printed on all Elgato products
Also because the USB-IF has foreseen some logos that producers can use on the packaging: we presented them in the article mentioned at the beginning. In practice, however, this is a rather useless choice because when you have several cables stored in a box, it is difficult to identify the most useful one.
Elgato’s solution is so simple and effective that it makes you wonder why it isn’t used by all manufacturers and why USB-IF hasn’t thought of it. “In the future you will see specification data on all our USB and HDMI cables“, commented Julian Fest, senior vice president of Elgato. “You no longer have to guess whether the cable is responsible for a technical problem“.
Furthermore, in another article we saw that USB cables are not all the same. The experts at Lumafield they put some USB cables under X-rays to show the differences.