Upgrading to USB

Q I wonder if you can enlighten me regarding USB ports. I am interested because I have run out of expansion slots and don't want to keep hanging even more pass-through devices onto my parallel ports. I have been told, however, that there are two types of USB with different plugs.

My current computer has a Gigabyte motherboard which the manual states "supports Universal Serial Bus (optional)". I thought I would take advantage of the USB support and add a USB socket. I have been to the reseller (who assembled my machine) but am still unclear as to how to get a USB port onto the machine. Do I need a USB board or similar adapter and, if so, are they actually available? The reseller was very vague on those details.

- Grant Carr

A The Universal Serial Bus (USB) standard was developed by an industry group to meet the needs of connecting peripherals to a PC. There is only one type of port. You can connect up to 127 devices to that port by daisy-chaining. However, the device has to support daisy-chaining to do this. This is why a lot of motherboards support two USB ports. In addition, you can use a USB hub to daisy-chain devices.

The easiest way to add a USB port to an older computer is to add an expansion card with a USB port. You can get one of these for around $100. Any reseller should be able to order in a USB card for you.

Perhaps the best way to get a USB port is to upgrade your motherboard. If you have an older board, you will enjoy the additional benefits of increased speed, SDRAM support, and probably a Pentium II processor slot. While motherboard costs vary according to their quality and feature set, you should be able to get one with USB support for around $200. If you plan to do other upgrades to your computer, this would be the preferred option because it should prove to be more economical in the long term.

There is a cheaper alternative that allows more devices to be attached without adding a USB port, or more importantly, having to upgrade to devices that support USB. Most motherboards support two serial ports and one parallel port. With the number of parallel port devices around now this is inadequate for many people. You can buy a multi-I/O card for around $30. This will expand the number of parallel ports to three and the number of serial ports to four. However, this may only be a short-term solution, as USB is likely to prove a popular standard for the future. For further information on USB, check out http://www.usb.org

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Roy Chambers

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?