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This USB 3.0 HDD case has something that looks like a USB A receptacle requiring an A-A cable, something quite unusual.

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The only alternative that Amazon.de is offering, has the 10-pin USB 3.0 Mini-B connector, something very rare as well.

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I don’t want to end up having to have a specific cable for each device, so I’m wondering if this is normal for USB 3.0 devices. What kind of cables should I stock?

  • I've got a hard drive that uses that cable. I think you can use a normal A cable, BUT you fallback to USB2.0 speeds. – Rich Homolka Jan 21 '15 at 2:13
  • @RichHomolka Did you consider an USB-A to USB-A cable "normal" before the introduction of USB 3.0? – AndreKR Jan 21 '15 at 2:17
  • @AndreKR I've seen other A to A cables before... they're certainly rare and non-standard. – Brad Jan 21 '15 at 2:23
  • Posted a more in=depth answer, but the fact that there are USB A connectors on both ends of the cables provided with this drives is utterly bizarre to me. USB 3.0 cables are weird enough; why are manufacturers for these enclosures doing that? Perhaps there is some licensing or trademark related issue that would force some manufacturers to opt for USB A connectors? I can’t fathom a rational reason for these enclosures to exist otherwise. – JakeGould Jan 21 '15 at 2:42
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    In fact previously I had overlooked this one that indeed has the normal Micro-B. I found it only when I - inspired by your answer - searched for Micro-B explicitely. – AndreKR Jan 21 '15 at 2:45
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I don’t want to end up having to have a specific cable for each device, so I'm wondering if this is normal for USB 3.0 devices. What kind of cables should I stock?

So the links to products you provided definitely only show USB A connectors on both ends which is definitely unusual. I have numerous USB 3.0 drives and the all have an A connector on one end and a B connector on the other end. But USB 3.0 cables are definitely not like a standard USB 1.0 or 2.0 cable. So if your goal is to avoid carrying specific cables for specific devices, you will still have to make sure you have a USB 3.0 cable of some sort since there are 5 additional connections that need to be made for a USB 3.0 connection.

These images from Wikipedia show exactly what the pinouts are on the connector; 1-4 are basically USB 1.0/2.0 equivalents, but 5-9 are where the USB 3.0 magic happens. So in general USB 3.0 cables are completely different beasts from USB 1.0/2.0. Whichever way you look at it, you’re going to have to add at least 2 more cables anyway to the stuff you carry around if you want to make sure that all bases are covered.

Here is a USB A connector:

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And in my experience, more and more USB 3.0 devices are using the USB 3.0 Micro-B variant; note the extra connections right next to the standard micro USB connection:

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But a USB 3.0 standard B spec exists and it looks like this; note the extra connections on top of the standard micro USB connection:

enter image description here

  • You might want to put the paragraph "And in my experience..." at the top or make it bold, because that is the actual answer. – AndreKR Jan 21 '15 at 3:06
  • @AndreKR Thank you! I’m so glad this helped you out! Well, I don’t agree with pushing that info to the top and in bold since I believe the question you have posed is whether USB A-to-A connectors are normal in USB 3.0 specs. The rest of my question addresses the issue. I feel the structure is correct as is. – JakeGould Jan 21 '15 at 3:10

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