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Ultra-fast USB 3.2 is coming to desktop PCs in 2019

The 20-gigabit port is finally ready for prime time.
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Supersmario via Getty Images

The speedy USB 3.2 format has technically been ready for the better part of two years, but it's finally ready for a PC near you. The USB-IF standards body has revealed that 3.2-capable controllers will be available later in 2019, hinting that you'll see it in desktop PCs (where dedicated controllers are most common). To put it another way, you could buy a gaming rig or workstation that handles 20Gbps speeds through a very ordinary port.

You might not want to get too excited in the near future. You probably won't see compatible motherboards and PCs until the middle of the year (when PC part makers tend to update their wares). Moreover, the peripherals you'll need to take advantage of USB 3.2 aren't likely to show until sometime later. It might be 2020 before all the pieces fit into place, and that's not counting laptops or mobile devices.

Even so, it's a big step forward. Although you can already get 40Gbps with Thunderbolt 3 (which shares the same connector as USB-C), it's still an exotic and relatively expensive technology. You rarely see more than one Thunderbolt port on a computer outside of Apple's lineup. USB 3.2 could make very high speeds relatively commonplace and spur the creation of laptop docks, extra-quick external SSDs and other devices that want as much bandwidth as possible.

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