USB 1 to USB 2 Upgarde - Advice Needed

  Fastflys 19:45 22 Nov 2006
Locked

Hi All

I have a Mesh computer with an Asus A7A266-E Motherboard. There are 4 x USB 1 ports. Two are situated near the rear top of the tower and are attached to the Motherboard in a group with other sockets such as PS/2 keyboard and mouse, Com 1 & 2, Parallel printer port etc., in other words, not in a PCI slot. Two other USB 1 ports are situated at the bottom rear of the tower. On internal inspection, this board is not fitted into a PCI slot but attached by a cable to a Header on the Motherboard.

My questions are:

Can I simply disconnect the cable from the Motherboard Header and remove these USB 1 ports?

Will WinXP Home detect that this hardware has been removed and reconfigure itself accordingly?

I would like to fit a USB 2 PCI card into a spare PCI slot on the Motherboard with further USB 2 ports on the front fitted into a spare 5.25” drive slot.

The Motherboard user manual states the following: “USB: supports up to six USB ports, two on the back panel and four midboard” Does this mean that as there are two USB 1 ports near the top rear of the tower which cannot be removed I can only fit a maximum of four USB 2 ports [2 + 4 = 6]?

A USB 2 PCI kit I have seen has two USB 2 ports on the PCI card and three front USB 2 ports in a surround which slots into a spare 5.25” drive space. The front ports are connected to the rear PCI card by a ribbon cable. Five USB 2 ports and two USB 1 ports, making a total of seven.

If it is possible to fit this kit, does WinXP Home detect new hardware and automatically install it?

What makes of USB 2 PCI card/kit would you recommend or are they all pretty much the same?

Thanks in advance for any help given.

  amateurann 23:12 22 Nov 2006

I have a similar set up to you and upgraded with a bit of help from here. This is what I did. No doubt someone will correct me if I get it muddled. You need SP2 for USB 2.0 to be supported. USB2 can also conflict with USB1 so disconnect you old USB where possible. Go into Control panel, System, Hardware, Device Manager and delete anything to do with the old USB. Turn off and fit your USB2. Start up and Windows should detect your new USB 2. I only bought a cheap card from dabs.com costing about £6 plus postage as my system is over 4 years old and pretty creaky now but it does the job fine. Hope this helps.

  Totally-braindead 23:50 22 Nov 2006

I believe its SP1 you need for USB 2 not SP2 but that aside its fairly simple to install a USB 2 PCI card. I was going to suggest one from Dabs as well. I don't personally think its necessary to disable the other USB ports but regarding connecting the front USB connectors to the USB card providing the cables are long enough I see no reason why that wouldn't work. Windows would detect they were USB 2 and then they would work accordingly.
You can have as many USB ports as you want. I think the limit is 127 but theres no way you would ever be able to use that many as the power would be split between them all and would make them unusable.
You are getting confused with what the motherboard has. It has 6 USB ports but that is on the motherboard and you can add as many as you like. A PCI card would would give you additional USB slots. The board has 6 but you can add as many more as you like.
Personally I would go for a card that gave at least another 4 as theres very little price difference between a 2 port card and a 4 port card. I would just buy a Dabs own brand one like this click here

  De Marcus™ 00:12 23 Nov 2006

Are you absolutely certain you don't already have USB2 installed/supported?

  Totally-braindead 01:14 23 Nov 2006

De Marcus™ makes a good point which I never thought to check. If you look in System under Control Panel and check the USB, if it uses the word enhanced that means you already have USB 2.

  ed-0 07:02 23 Nov 2006

Firstly the Asus A7A266-E only has USB 1.1 ports, so you need a USB 2.0 card to run USB 2.0 peripherals.

"Can I simply disconnect the cable from the Motherboard Header and remove these USB 1 ports?"

Yes, with the machine switched off and the power connector taken out of it's socket.Just tuck the wires away.

"Will WinXP Home detect that this hardware has been removed and reconfigure itself accordingly?"

Yes.


" The Motherboard user manual states the following: “USB: supports up to six USB ports, two on the back panel and four midboard” Does this mean that as there are two USB 1 ports near the top rear of the tower which cannot be removed I can only fit a maximum of four USB 2 ports [2 + 4 = 6]? "

No it means what you have now. 4 USB ports are at the rear, sticking out of the I/O shield. The other 2 ports are the headers you are using for the front of the case. If you intend to use a PCI USB2.0 card and connect the front ones to an internal 5 and a quarter inch internal bay, you can still run the old 6 USB 1.1 ports.

As to which USB 2.0 card to get, the choice is yours. I personally prefer to go for a good quality one. Most of what I buy in this type of line would be belkin, you pay a little bit more but you get free telephone support and a lifetime guarantee.

  Fastflys 16:20 23 Nov 2006

A big thank you to:

amateurann
Totally-braindead
De Marcus™
ed-0

Checked "System" - USB does not say "Enhanced"

With all my concerns addressed I now have the confidence to go ahead with this upgrade.

Regards
FF

  keef66 17:27 23 Nov 2006

I went for a cheapo Ebuyer own brand usb2 expansion card and it never worked properly. Returned it and paid a bit extra to get the Belkin equivalent and it's worked flawlessly since installation.

I use the new USB 2.0 ports for transferring big files like video, photos, mp3 collections etc, wher I really see a difference, and still use the usb 1.1 ones for slower stuff like printers.

  Totally-braindead 19:28 23 Nov 2006

The others have a good point with Belkin, it is good stuff but of course that comes at a price. I've bought a few Dabs Value own brand items over the years and never had a problem but Belkin is better quality.
One thing I should mention perhaps. You didn't mention what you wanted USB 2.0 for. If its for your printer or scanner then to be honest you will notice very little, if any difference, even if its rated for USB 2.0 as the speed of the hardware is slower than USB 2.0 can allow.
What you will notice on, and its a gigantic difference is when using the likes of an MP3 player or external hard drive.

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