USB upgrade?
October 23, 2006 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Need advice about upgrading the USB ports on my computer.

Every time I plug my flash drive in, I get a warning about plugging high-speed devices into low-speed ports. It works, but I have to click a little balloon, which irks me. So, it sounds like I just have to install a new USB card, right? What's a good one? But should I bother? What benefit am I going to see if I do this?

Tech specs: PC, 2 ghz pentium 4, this motherboard, WinXP, 1.25 GB RAM, Capricorn, 6'2", 190 lbs., etc.
posted by I Am Not a Lobster to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any of 'em should be fine, in my experience. I picked mine up at Best Buy (I know, I know, but they were there) for maybe $40. If you do anything with video (including web cams) or a digital camera, that could go faster. If you use an external hard drive or an iPod, that will also transfer faster.

It's not a bad idea to look for one that has a Firewire port on it - lots of new video devices use them, and it's faster with an iPod than USB. But the only thing that's really mandatory is that it should have at least 4 ports - anything less than that is not worth the time it takes to crack the case, not for the minimal difference in price.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 6:56 PM on October 23, 2006

I forgot to mention that the existing ports are mounted right on the motherboard. Will the new card override them, or will they still work?
posted by I Am Not a Lobster at 7:00 PM on October 23, 2006

IANALobster: yeah, they'll still work. And your specs are fine - I did this on a much older PC than that. All you have to do is install the card in a PCI slot and then load the drivers.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 7:08 PM on October 23, 2006

If it works for you, there is no problem in not doing this. No damage will be caused, no data will be lost, it's just notifying you that the device is not living up to it's potential.

The major benefit you see will be massively increased speed (assuming your devices support it).

I transferred about 150 GB to a portable hard drive through USB1, and it took days. Literally days.

Transferring all that data back to my computer was done in hours.

If you don't need that sort of speed though, you may as well save your money.
posted by tomble at 8:06 PM on October 23, 2006

I have this problem...any way to get the warning message to stop appearing without my having to install a new USB card?
posted by mintchip at 8:40 PM on October 23, 2006

AFAIK the only way to kill it is with an axe. Personally I just live with it.
posted by flabdablet at 9:16 PM on October 23, 2006 [1 favorite]

You can find cheaper cards than that at a place like I did this recently on a much older computer and I think spent less than $20. And to offer a bit of clarification to the above, your existing ports will still work but they will be slow. The ports on the new card will be the fast ones. You can use the old ports for things like keyboards and mouses and leave the new ports for things like external hardrives and flash drives.
posted by mmascolino at 8:23 AM on October 24, 2006

Flabdablet, I love you, thank you thank you thank you!
posted by IndigoRain at 6:16 PM on October 24, 2006

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