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How to : determine what speed a USB port is?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by flywelder, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. flywelder

    flywelder Private E-2

    I would like to add an external hard drive to my computer and have it be a second drive or slave drive.

    I have today learned that I first need to know if the USB ports on the computer are 1.0 or 2.0
    I have a Dell desk top computer perhaps 4-5 years old, maybe 6. I am running Windows XP Professional and have a Pentium 4 CPU. I have 150Gigs of RAM at 2700 MHZ .
    I hope some one will please instruct me on how to determine what speed my USB ports are?
    Is there any thing else I should know before I purchase the external hard drive
    Thanks y'all!
  2. Main Frame

    Main Frame Corporal

    Well.. unless you're looking to possibly upgrade your computer it doesn't really matter. Just get a USB 2.0 drive, if your computer only has USB 1.0 ports then the drive will operate at USB 1.0 speeds. USB is backwards compatible.

    If you really want to know then you could always google your motherboard's specs. Or if you don't know what motherboard you have you could google your computer's model number to find out.

    ..and you can't have 150gigs of RAM. Memory comes in powers of two. So you either have 2mb, 4mb, 8mb, 16mb, 64mb, 128mb, 256mb, 512mb, 1024mb, etc. Today's computers will usually have either 4gb, 6gb, or 8gb of RAM. Anything more is excessive(unless you're editing very large HD videos or something).
  3. plodr

    plodr Major Geek Super Extraordinaire

    Open device manager and expand Universal Serial Bus controllers.
    If the word enhanced is used, that means it is USB 1.1. You will see USB 2, if it is that.
    1.1 has a speed of 12 Mbps
    2 has a speed of 60 Mbps

    About the most RAM current computers will have is 8GB (under 64 bit OS, like win 7) so 150GB reported by the computer is not possible.

    Are you sure it doesn't say 150MB of RAM? If that is the case, then I think 172MB is installed but the video is stealing 32MB of the RAM so the computer is left with 150MB.
    You definitely need more RAM.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  4. flywelder

    flywelder Private E-2

    Thank you! excellent information from all of you, very helpful!
    Let me share what I saw.

    by the way, The computer has 6 USB ports in the rear and two in the front.

    I made a mistake on my RAM it lists 1.50 GB of RAM And Windows XP Version 2002.

    Q1) Main frame shared a good fact , that USB is backwards compatible, and if I I have only 1.0..... let me ask you guys this then, will this make the new external hard rive I am thinking of buying, really slow at storing and retrieving info?...or will I hardly notice it.? ( for 12Mbps and 60 Mbps seam a world apart from each other)

    Below is What I saw in Device manager: (Note I used " " marks, to save typing, I expect you know what this represents.)

    Q2) I did not see USB so it is safe then to assume these ports are 1.1?...or...is just the port that says Enhanced 1.1 and the others will be 2.0??

    I saw:

    Intel ( R) 82801EB USB Universal Host controller-24D2
    " " " " " " " -24D4
    " " " " " " " -24D7
    " " " " " " " -24DE
    " " " USB2 Enhanced " " -24DD
    USB Root Hub
    USB Root Hub
    USB Root Hub
    USB Root Hub
    USB Root Hub

  5. collinsl

    collinsl MajorGeek

    Enhanced is actually USB 2.0 which runs at 480Mb/s.The enhanced entry in device manager indicates that you have USB 2.0
  6. flywelder

    flywelder Private E-2

    Thanks Collinsl !

    Now I have only one item plugged into the computer threw a USB and that is a Cannon flatbed scanner, so that m ay be the item that shows up as the enhanced item...thus
    Help me fully understand , SO based on your information, I have 2.0 and what ever I plug into the USB ports will have 2.0 transferability?.....if true that is great!!! thanks Collinsl

    Do you agree?:)
  7. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    That's most likely correct. There were a few motherboards made during the transition period from USB 1.1 to USB 2.0 that had both types of ports. I have one of them. It's an ECS K7S5A Pro motherboard and the two front USB ports are USB 1.1; the four ports on back are USB 2.0. But, again, I believe only a few models of motherboards like this were made.

    One way to tell whether a particular USB port is functioning at the 1.1 or 2.0 standard is to connect any USB 2.0 device to that port. If the port is 1.1, Windows will normally display a box in the lower right corner of your screen which will tell you the device will perform better if it is connected to a USB 2.0 port.
  8. GCWesq

    GCWesq MajorGeek

    I also have 2.0 at the back and 1.1 at the front (oldish PC with XP SP2). I discovered that the front ports wouldn't work as long as I had the enhanced drivers installed (for 2.0). Disabling the enhanced drivers got everything working, but all at 1.1 speeds. This hasn't made any noticeable differences to any thing I use them for, but I haven't tried an external HDD. I do seem to recall reading somewhere that it was this sort of use that would encounter s significant speed difference.

    BTW, have you considered installing the slave HDD internally? It's quite a simple procedure.
  9. jlphlp

    jlphlp Master Sergeant

    Hi All and GC,

    Just a comment: There is nothing wrong with your Motherboard or The drivers. Older front ports in cases were USB 1 only. I had to replace them on my boxes to get the USB 2 to work. Probably something to do with the termination on the ports. Seems like the ones that do not work have capacitive termination and the ones that do have resistive.

    Luck, Jim
  10. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    You replaced the front ports, not your case? I'm skeptical of that notion. Can you explain how you do that? I believe the motherboard is what determines the USB speed, not the actual ports on front.

    I converted my front ports to USB 2.0 by installing Rosewill Low-Profile PCI to 2+1 USB2.0 Cards Model RC-100. The card has pins for the wiring that goes to the front USB ports. I pulled the wires off the motherboard and connected them to the pins on the USB card.

    Hmm, that's not how my ECS motherboard worked. Before I converted the front ports to USB 2.0, as stated above, I had the enhanced USB 2.0 driver installed; that's when I was getting USB 1.1 from the front ports and USB 2.0 from the back ports.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  11. The Shadow

    The Shadow Specialist

    For a second HD, USB is always slow as dirt!
    An internal HD is always a g'zillion times faster and safer too.
    Even more so, if the drive is SATA-II and the motherboard is compatible with it.

    I have several external HD's (USB) but I seldom ever use them, just because they are so terribly slow.

    Good Luck!
  12. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Hmm, I find that a bit odd. I've used a USB external hard drive as the location of, for example, MS Office (Word, Excel, etc.) files that I work with and find opening and saving not noticeably slower than working with the files on the internal hard drive.

    Now, if you're talking about copying very large (multi-GB) files from internal to external and vice versa, then I agree the transfer speed is much slower than moving those large file from one folder to another on the internal hard drive and will be quite noticeable.
  13. jlphlp

    jlphlp Master Sergeant

    Hi USAF,

    I just happened to have USB Ports from other Cases that could be fitted into my cases that had USB 1 only ports. The mother board has only one set of USB ports devices and they are all equal.

  14. Main Frame

    Main Frame Corporal

    That's because word files are so small, even if it's only 1/20th the speed of an internal drive there's not much perceivable difference between .001 seconds and .02 seconds. But the fact of the matter is it is much much slower.
  15. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    If you have USB ports on back of your computer and on front, the ones on back are physically integrated into the motherboard, with no wiring involved. The front ports, on the other hand, are physically part of the case, not the motherboard, and those ports are connected to the motherboard by small wires. So, I find your comments incorrect. While it's true that the vast majority of motherboards have either all USB 1 ports or all USB 2 ports, even in that case, the motherboard has two sets of USB port connections, the ones on back and the wired ones on the front. And, as I said in a previous post, a few motherboards were made to support both USB 1 and USB 2.
  16. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Right, I acknowledged that in the same reply you quoted from; I went on to say: "Now, if you're talking about copying very large (multi-GB) files from internal to external and vice versa, then I agree the transfer speed is much slower than moving those large file from one folder to another on the internal hard drive and will be quite noticeable."

    If you're implying the using an external USB hard drive for working with user data files (Word, Excel, etc.) is not practical, I disagree because, as we've both stated, the speed difference is not perceivable.
  17. GCWesq

    GCWesq MajorGeek

    I'll just throw in that there is a third possibility here. I have both of the above types of ports (with 1.1 at the front and 2.0 at the back), plus additional ports at the back that I put in myself, with wired connections to the motherboard. These turned out to be 2.0 ports as well. Jim (jlphlp) (G'day Jim) advised me that the type of connection was determined by the USB hardware - at least as far as these non-integrated ports is concerned (as he said elsewhere in this post).
  18. jlphlp

    jlphlp Master Sergeant

    Hi again,

    Front ports are only sockets. Rear ports are also only sockets with no electronics only terminators for long leads. Really no different from the front ones except plug into the MB. Electronics all on the MB.

  19. GCWesq

    GCWesq MajorGeek

    I think I"M confused now.
    If that's so, then my MOBO has different electronics for the front and back connections. And that means that if I swapped the front and back connectors, the front USB should then be 2.0 and the rear 1.1 (the ones I added). Yes?
  20. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Have you not read my posts where I explained that I have a motherboard that has USB 1.1 on front and USB 2.0 on back. Of course, all electronics on connected one way or another to the motherboard. That does not mean a computer can not have two speeds of USB ports.
  21. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    No. Obviously, they can't be swapped because the rear ports are actually part of the motherboard. In other words, if you remove the motherboard, you will also be removing the rear USB ports. The front ports, as previously explained, are mounted to the case, not the motherboard, and are then connected to the motherboard via a set of wires.

    But, those front ports can be converted to USB 2.0. Go back and read my previous posts; I've already explained how I did that and posted a link to the PCI USB card I installed to do it.

    Another way of getting USB 2.0 connections in front is just to get USB extension cables and connect them to a rear port and run them up front. They can be purchased in 3 foot or longer lengths and do not cost much.
  22. GCWesq

    GCWesq MajorGeek

    I have two types of rear port (both working as 2.0) - one set integrated into the motherboard, and another set mounted to the case and connected to the MB by wires. I then have the front ports (1.1) which are connected in the same way as the mounted rear ports, by wires. So I could swap the connections on the mounted front and rear sets.
    I don't have a USB card.
  23. usafveteran

    usafveteran MajorGeek

    Well, in that case, yes, I guess you could change the wiring to accomplish what you want. Would probably be a good idea to write down the exact current wiring configuration so that you can reverse it if your attempt to change it does not work.
  24. theefool

    theefool Geekified

  25. jlphlp

    jlphlp Master Sergeant

    Hi USAF,

    Sorry but I have never seen a motherboard with USB Connectors on the front. I have only seen Cases with USB ports on the front. However I haave heard about and fixed many complaints about USB2 not working on the front.


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