USB 2.0 - Some general info requested

I have a 2 year old Dell 8100 1.4 ghz.  Can I use an adapter card to upgrade to USB 2.0, or do I have to upgrade the MB?

What benefit should I expect?
Should I bother?
Will this cause conflicts with my existing devices?

Any other info is greatly appreciated.


Thanks,

tcoc
tcocAsked:
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Kyle SchroederConnect With a Mentor Endpoint EngineerCommented:
Yes, you can get an PCI card from numerous manufacturers to get USB 2.0 functionality/speed.  Of course there is no reason to bother unless you are trying to use a USB 2.0 device; USB 2.0 won't make your existing USB 1.0/1.1 devices work faster.  If you're wanting to get an external USB 2.0 CD-RW or harddrive, then it makes sense.  Some of these even include the card in the box, so read first!

Most devices will work fine with the USB 2.0 card, but it is recommended to leave them on the USB 1.1 ports unless you run out of ports.

So:
1) What benefit:
None, unless you're using a USB 2.0 device(s)
2) Should you bother:
No, unless you're using USB 2.0 device(s)
3) It could potentially cause conflicts if the card you buy won't share IRQ resources properly with another card/device in the system.  However, this shouldn't be a problem at this point.

-dog*
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Some card providers:
Belkin: http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatSectionView.process?Section_Id=200433
Adaptec: http://www.adaptec.com/worldwide/product/prodtechindex.html?sess=no&cat=/Technology/USB&source=solutions
SIIG: http://www.siig.com/products/usb/index.html
(*SIIG also has a card that has USB 2.0 and FireWire on one card, which might be convenient, again only if you need it)

See CDW for some prices:
http://www.cdw.com/shop/search/results.asp?FilteredGroup=USD

-dog*
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
ALso assuming you mean its a Dimension 8100, not a Latitude/Inspiron (notebooks) 8100.  If you do have a notebook/laptop though and want USB 2.0, the above companies do make PCMCIA cards for this...

-dog*
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
One last thing (I promise!) see USBMan's information and tips:
http://www.usbman.com/USB%202%20News.htm

-dog*
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genguyCommented:
Some excellent advise from dogztar (as usual).
I have one thing to add.
Be very careful which add in card you choose. If you are running winXP you should be o.k.
If anything older, then you are at the mercy of the company that builds the card, since the drivers are specific
to each card. Since I am unable to recommend any specific brand (for instance Orange Micro) that has the
ONLY working drivers I know of for older M.S. operating systems (Orange Micro could be an example) I can only say that I have had a bad experience with a usb 2.0 card, an STLABS product which claims to work with Win98, BUT (in my experience) definitely DOES NOT.

If you need some more ports, it makes sense to buy a usb2.0 card. It is backwards compatible with the old usb, meaning your old devices will plug in and work just fine.
Just make sure you get functional drivers with your new card.
Regards,
Genguy.
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
I believe Adaptec's overpriced USB 2.0 cards work with Win98/ME also, but I'm not positive...Microsoft only officially supports USB 2.0 on Win2K/WinXP, as genguy indicated.

-dog*
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tcocAuthor Commented:
Thanks to both of you for the information; it is very helpful.

FYI, it's a Dimension 8100 running XP, so hopefully I won't have any problems.

tcoc
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Kyle SchroederEndpoint EngineerCommented:
Nope, it should be fine.  Be sure to run Windows Update (its in the Start Menu somewhere...couldn't tell you for sure if you left it as default, but its in there...) to get the official Microsoft USB 2.0 drivers.

-dog*
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