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Will a PCI 2.0 USB Card Provide Increased Speed for a PC with USB 1.1 Port?

Posted on 2008-10-28
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
Hi Everyone;

        I have an older pc which has 2 onboard 1.1 USB ports.  Since all of my external USB devices are modern using the 2.0 standard, naturally, the pc makes these devices perform under their potential.  In other words, the devices run at the pc's USB 1.1 speed instead of the USB 2.0 speed.  With this point in mind, can I simply purchase a PCI USB 2.0 card and get 2.0 standard speeds?  Or, will the pc still default to 1.1 speed even with the PCI USB 2.0 card?  I have 5 free PCI slots, so, installing such a card will not be a problem if it will solve my USB speed concern.

          Any shared thoughts to this question will be appreciated.

          Thank you

          George
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Question by:GMartin
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neod earned 200 total points
ID: 22826280
Depending on how old the machine is this *could* help.  The solution depends on what are the 2.0 devices.  If it is for a keyboard and mouse I would say this would not help.  If this is for a hard drive, flash drive, or anything that uses or stores a lot of data, those will be sped up.  Bottom line though is this: the best way to speed up a computer is to add RAM and clean up fragments and temp files.  
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by:GMartin
ID: 22826316
Hi

      The application within this scenario is as follows:  The flash drive and external USB hard drive will be hooked up to the USB 2.0 card.  The keyboard and mouse will continue to use the PS/2 ports.  

       Sorry for omitting this information.

       George
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by:sublifer
sublifer earned 200 total points
ID: 22826564
Yes the drives will see a notable improvement with the pci USB 2.0 card.  

They will not default to the 1.1 version speeds because they are on different root hubs with a different host controller.  Of course keep in mind that plugging a device into the old 1.1 ports will still only operate at 1.1 speeds.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 22826978
Hi

       Thanks so much for the followups.  After reviewing all of the information presented so far, I do have a couple of followup questions which should comprehensively wrap this thread up.  First, when I install a PCI 2.0 USB card, will I need to go into the BIOS and disable the onboard USB?  Or, can I basically just leave the old 1.1 ports enabled?  I ask this question out of the concern of possible hardware conflicts between the onboard 1.1 USB port and the new PCI 2.0 USB card.  And, secondly, if the PCI 2.0 USB card should ever become defective because of physical or mechanical reasons, is there any risk of the device hooked up to it, like an external USB hard drive, becoming damaged as well?  

           Any followups to these closing questions will be appreciated.

          Thank you

          George
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by:nobus
nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 22829206
hey George, some answers for you :
-if you install a usb 2 card, this wil perform in a separate usb controller (as said) as usb 2 on ALL PC's
-you do not need to disable the on-board controller; you can still use uit for mouse and keyboard, or slow  devices
-if the card becomes damaged, NORMALLY, nothing happens to the disk; of course, if there is a power surge thry the usb cables up to the disk, then yes. (but let's not pray for disasters -  they come frequent enough)
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by:sublifer
sublifer earned 200 total points
ID: 22835502
I think nobus answered your last questions there but I did want to confirm and agree that:

1. The onboard controller will not need to be disabled in the bios, current drivers are backwards compatible and will distinguish the ports without any trouble.

2.  If the card becomes defective (on its own) it shouldn't pose any trouble to anything attached to it.  Do be sure to get the card properly seated before powering on the PC (I've caught an AGP card and port on fire once because it was in at an angle that crossed the wrong contacts) The only other thing that could go wrong would be lightning/power surge to your PC which certainly could damage anything attached.

Hope that helped.
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Author Comment

by:GMartin
ID: 22847749
Hi Everyone;

         As closing remarks, I want to thank each person for participating in this thread.  I found each reply to be well thought out and rich in detail.  Using everyone's shared insights, I now have a much better understanding of what to expect when I install the PCI 2.0 USB card.

         Many thanks again.

        George
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