How to add USB 3.0 port to your PC – and save time.
No computer or laptop is seen without a Universal Serial Bus – commonly referred to USB; it is a very important part of the Computer hardware setup and the entire utility value of a computer depends on how many USB ports and what type of USB ports are available in a system.
In those days the computers were mostly connected to printers and modems via an RS-232 serial interface and cable or RJ45 cables.
Back in those days when I used to dabble in the hardware aspects of a PC, to get these ancient RS-232 connections to work properly required a master stroke of luck. Oddly enough there was something called as male-female gender in connectors that we had to consider; we also had to make sure that the connectors had the correct number of pins (either 9 or 25).
Finally, we had to look at the baud rate and parity. It was one big fine confusion, and if even one setting was wrongly understood, the peripheral device like printer or modem would be practically useless.
All this changed with the introduction of a new type of connecting interface known as USB 1.0 in 1998. Instead of having to deal with all the mambo-jumbo like cables, connectors and gender, you just inserted a standard USB cable into a USB connector after installing the software from a CD.
This was a huge leap in connectivity! Thanks to USB 1.0, even a computer newbie could buy a new USB device and have it operating in minutes with no need to pull any hair in frustration!
Furthermore as a bonus, the speed of data transfer via a USB 1.0 connection was like a Jet Plane compared to RS-232 that seemed like a bullock cart in comparison.
If you thought that those were the good ol’ days then we have a surprise.
Come year 2000 and we had the public launch of the USB 2.0, which boasted 30 times the speed of USB 1.0.
And now with the advent of USB 3.0 we can transfer data at a dazzling rate of 10 times the speed of USB 2.0.
Essentially, it will take a USB 2.0 flash drive 22 minutes and 14 seconds to copy 10GB of files to a computer whereas it only take a USB 3.0 flash drive a speedy 6.5 minutes.
So why the need to add a USB 3.0 card – most of the computers would have a USB slot right ?
Wrong. The problem is that most of the computers’ motherboards still have USB 2.0 ports, not the new USB 3.0. Even the so-called “new” generation computers being sold in the markets today come with USB 2.0 ports.
What this means is that the newer USB 3.0 devices like external hard disks or Pen drives that you just bought will work fine with your PC but it will only work at the much slower USB 2.0 speed.
So is there a way out of this imbroglio?
Yes. Depending on your computer configuration and age when it was manufactured or assembled, there is a 90% possibility that you can add two or more USB ports at a very decent cost (approximately $20 and up). What is more – this USB 3.0 port is backward compatible – which means even a USB 2.0 device will work in this USB slot.
How to upgrade to USB 3.0
Check if your PC has an empty PCI Express (PCIe) slot into which you can plug in a USB 3.0 adapter card with either 2 or 4 USB 3.0 ports. You can easily find out if your computer has an empty PCIe slot by searching in Google and searching for the computer’s brand and model number and read the specs. In case of assembled ones you may try installing Speccy a nifty program that will list out the specs and the PCIe slots that are free.
If you are unsure yet, you can simply call your local PC engineer and ask him to check on your behalf. Either way once you’re able to determine that your computer has an empty PCIe slot you can proceed!
Just make sure that you see the words ‘USB 3.0′ in the product description for any product that you choose at Amazon.
For a laptop:
You’ll need to plug in an external USB 3.0 Express Card adapter (and not a PCIe card); unfortunately, if your laptop is an older model with a PC Card connector you won’t be able to upgrade to USB 3.0.
You can purchase a USB 3.0 Express Card adapter at Amazon. Installing it is a breeze – simply plug it into the express card slot located on the side of the laptop and install the drivers (Windows will usually automatically install the drivers for you).
Now enjoy USB 3.0 connectivity at mind-blowing speed! Till we get the USB 4.0 that is… 🙂
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