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I just bought a new laptop which has a USB 3.0 port. Does this mean that if I connect to my External Hard Drive via USB, and the external hard drive is older and doesn't have USB 3.0, that I'll still get the speed of USB 3.0 since my computer port is USB 3.0?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

No - USB 3.0 is backwards compatible and a USB 3.0 port with a USB 2.0 device plugged into it and vice versa would work as a USB 2.0 device at USB 2.0 speeds.

USB 3.0 has an additional 5 connectors to enable the extra speed so a USB 2.0 device will be unable to take advantage of it

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Also note that plugging in USB 2.0 devices won't drop USB 3.0 devices down to USB 2.0 speeds, unlike when you plug in a USB 1.1 device into USB 2.0. – surfasb Jan 1 '12 at 9:25
Assuming you use a hub, or would it drop everything on that system down to 1.1 speed? – Journeyman Geek Jan 1 '12 at 10:40
It's per controller. Most systems I've seen have two controllers. A hub just extends the controller. – surfasb Jan 1 '12 at 11:06

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