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Outhouse Feb 15, 2014 9:41 PM

Usb 3.0
I've got a 18 mo desktop and a 2 yr old laptop. How can I tell if I have a 3.0 usb connection? If I don't, is it easy to add? Thanx in advance for your advice.

VTphotog Feb 15, 2014 10:34 PM

Assuming Windows, you can check Device manager in your system settings.
You can add a USB 3.0 expansion card to your desktop, but probably not to the laptop.

Ozzie_Traveller Feb 16, 2014 3:46 PM

G'day mate

On my new Toshy laptop, the USB-3 ports have a blue insert while the USB-2 port is black. I dunno whether this is universal or not


VTphotog Feb 24, 2014 9:52 AM

Those are the same colors as on my wife's laptop. The USB 2.0 ports on my desktop, though, are white. Don't know if this is enough to establish a trend.


Ozzie_Traveller Feb 24, 2014 2:24 PM

G'day Brian

Trend ? I dunno
I do know that when I go into System > Hardware etc etc I get such a list of gobbledegook that it just becomes totally meaningless


JimC Feb 24, 2014 4:46 PM


Originally Posted by Outhouse (Post 1368325)
I've got a 18 mo desktop and a 2 yr old laptop. How can I tell if I have a 3.0 usb connection? If I don't, is it easy to add? Thanx in advance for your advice.

For starters, it would be good to know the brand/models of your computers. ;-)

That way, we could just look up the specifications for those models on the manufacturer web sites and see how many ports of each type are included (and where they're physically located).

As for being able to add USB 3.0 ports, that depends on the specifications for the computers you have. For example, if you have a spare PCIe slot available in your desktop, then you can buy a card that adds USB 3.0 ports for under $20 now (that just plugs into a spare slot). Most modern desktops have an open PCIe slot. So, it's usually very simple to add USB 3.0 to them for very little money/effort (just plugging in a card that you can buy for around $15 that gives you a couple of ports).

Or, if you have a laptop with a PCMICIA slot, you can find USB 3.0 adapters that plug into it, too. They're very inexpensive (if you have a place to plug one in, as many laptops do not anymore).

But, without knowing the brand/model information about your desktop and laptop (so we could simply look up the specifications for those models on their manufacturer web sites), we'd only be guessing.

Note that in order to take advantage of USB 3.0 speed, both the host port (the port you're plugging the device into), and the client port (the device you're trying to connect) would both need to support USB 3.0. Otherwise, you're going to fall back to the speed supported by the slowest device.

For example, you can use a USB 3.0 portable hard drive with a USB 2.0 port, but you're only going to get the USB 2.0 transfer speeds with it. Ditto for the other way around (you can use a USB 2.0 hard drive with a faster USB 3.0 port on your computer, but you're going to be limited to USB 2.0 transfer speeds.

So, to enjoy the faster speeds that USB 3.0 provides, both the host (the port on your computer), and the client device (hard drive, etc. that you're connecting) both need to support the faster USB 3.0 speed.

VTphotog Feb 24, 2014 5:29 PM

Checking the wife's laptop, using Control Panel>Device Manager, under the USB devices, it does list a USB 3.0 controller.
I have been thinking about adding a card, but will probably hold off until I pick up a compatible external drive, though I may just upgrade to a newer MOBO. First on the list, though is a SSD large enough to keep some of the programs I use for picture and video editing.

mike_1 Feb 27, 2014 7:45 AM

About a year and a half ago I built a new desktop PC that has a couple of rear USB 3.0 ports (from the motherboard), and an onboard USB 3.0 connector that feeds two front ports via a third-party add-on I put in a 3.5” drive bay. My wife, the primary user of this system, thinks it’s great, but I noticed that the Logitech wireless mouse we used (m310) was really erratic and almost unusable. I had the same results with a Logitech m510 wireless mouse. My wife never saw that problem.

Aside from software updates, I really only use that PC to do backups every couple of days. I backup the data to USB 3.0 thumb drives and to a couple of 3.5” hard disks I put in self-powered, USB 3.0/eSATA external drive enclosures. After some online research, I discovered that USB 3.0 emits interference on the 2.4 GHz. Band – which just about every wireless device (including my mice) uses. Intel has a white paper out for system builders stressing the need for good shielding on their USB 3.0 products, because of this interference.

I’m not sure whether the interference is from my motherboard or the devices I use, or a combo of both. I won’t bore you with my resolution, but I had to get creative by trying out different USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports for the mouse transceiver, using a USB 3.0 extension cable for my thumb drives and mostly I use the eSATA connection for my portable hard disks. It works fine with a minimum of effort on my part.

I’m using a relatively cheap case, front ports and drive enclosures, so that could be my problem. I suspect a desktop or laptop that comes with USB 3.0 ports would not have that problem. From what I understand, the shielding technology is evolving and getting better, so it may not be an issue for most devices.

I mention all this just in case you run into any problems with an add-on card.

I’ve been checking new laptops lately and I see that occasionally some of the USB 3.0 ports are not blue, but that’s rare.


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