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Windows 7: "good" or "bad" USB 2.0 cables?

11 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
"good" or "bad" USB 2.0 cables?

I'm moving my desktop away from my desk, so it will be out of reach of most of my peripherals, mouse, keyboard, joystick, headset, USB charger/cable for my phone. To get around this I plan on getting a bunch of USB 2.0 extension cables to plug into the motherboard slots, and making a USB "port" closer to where I sit. As far as these cables go, are there good or bad USB 2.0 cables? I understand a digital signal either gets there or it doesn't, but could you have interference issues with a bunch of cheap cables if they were unshielded, or any issues like that? Or should I be fine to go ahead and get a bunch of cheap cables?

Thanks,
Tom


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11 Oct 2013   #2

W7 Pro x64 SP1 / W8.1 Pro x64
 
 

Unshielded signal cables will only suffer from interference if they're run beside or in close proximity to mains cables so that's not a problem. Whether they actually work or not will probably only depend on the length of the cables you're going to use, I'm pretty sure there's a maximum limit to USB cable lengths (5m I think) before they start to drop transfer speeds, although I could well be wrong there.
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11 Oct 2013   #3

 

With powered hubs you can extend the length of USB cables up to 150 feet; I have not tried it but you can have a look at the theory here.
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11 Oct 2013   #4

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Five meters (roughly 16 feet) is the maximum for high quality passive USB cables; cheap cables use smaller conductors and no shielding that might cause unacceptable losses and are subject to early failure. Active USB cables, like this one, are more versatile than cables with hubs along the way; they don't require an external source of power, unlike hubs. Active USB cables aren't cheap but it's still better to use one per device, rather than one cable and run all devices off a hub at the end of that cable. Each device actually running off a hub steals bandwidth (and speed) from the other devices running off the same hub (you can get away with some devices on a hub, such as most keyboards and mice, and other devices, such as printers and scanners can run off hubs as long as only one or two devices are actually running at a time).

Have you considered using wireless peripherals and a mains powered charger for the phone? Wireless printers, keyboards, and mice are easy to find; scanners, not so easy.
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11 Oct 2013   #5

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Regarding wireless peripherals, provided the USB extensions would work, its either like $12 for some extension cables, or a couple of hundred for new peripherals, and even then, you can't get wireless joysticks, and I'm avoiding getting a wireless headset for interference issues.

If I went with the cables, I was just looking at something like this. They would be 2 or 3 meters (9-13 feet?) long, and run in a group of 4 to 6, and they would be close to a multiboard.

If I simplify the situation, imagine me sitting at the leftmost end of a desk, with my desktop at the opposite end, and the wall power plug in the middle. There would be a multiboard in the center of the desk, above the plug, with a power cable running to the right for the PC, and several to the left for screens, speakers, etc. The USB cables would (ideally) run parallel to all this from the PC to the leftmost end of the desk. So as Boozad mentioned, they are running next to power cables, but will those kinds present an issue?

Finally regarding active USB cables, I looked into this briefly, but its like 10x the price, and if I am looking at getting 4 or more of these cables, it gets expensive very quickly.
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11 Oct 2013   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

I'm sure as Lady Fitzgerald said, it depends on what you are running off the cables. I am running 2 10' extension cables now for Keyboard and Mouse and have no problems at all. Mine also run next to a wall plug and it seems to have no affect on them. However, I would suspect if you wanted to connect something that required more power than a keyboard or mouse, you may have some issues. Powered hubs are OK if you only connect one or two low power requirment devices at the same time. If you look at them they are connected to 1 USB port, so you are actually running several devices off of 1 port even though you have external power.
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11 Oct 2013   #7

Win7 Enterprise, Win7 x86 (Ult 7600), Win7 x64 Ult 7600, TechNet RTM on AMD x64 (2.8Ghz)
 
 

I have bought several USB 2.0 (15ft) cables from eBay at inexpensive prices. Used them for placing printer & scanner at a distance from the desktop tower.
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11 Oct 2013   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

To help clarify the "it depends" kind of posts, this is exactly what I plan on running off the extended cables:
  • Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
  • Gigabyte M6900 Mouse
  • Logitech G110 Keyboard
  • Logitech G35 Headset
  • (possibly)USB-Micro USB cable for transferring files to my phone, not intended for charging, though the phone will try to charge using the cable

To my understanding, none of these are particularly power intensive, the most of which would probably be the headset.

When I used the term "port" in my first post, I just meant that I would make a custom housing for all the cables to tidy things up a bit, I have no intention of using a USB hub or anything like that.
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12 Oct 2013   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tomha View Post
Regarding wireless peripherals, provided the USB extensions would work, its either like $12 for some extension cables, or a couple of hundred for new peripherals, and even then, you can't get wireless joysticks, and I'm avoiding getting a wireless headset for interference issues.

If I went with the cables, I was just looking at something like this. They would be 2 or 3 meters (9-13 feet?) long, and run in a group of 4 to 6, and they would be close to a multiboard.

If I simplify the situation, imagine me sitting at the leftmost end of a desk, with my desktop at the opposite end, and the wall power plug in the middle. There would be a multiboard in the center of the desk, above the plug, with a power cable running to the right for the PC, and several to the left for screens, speakers, etc. The USB cables would (ideally) run parallel to all this from the PC to the leftmost end of the desk. So as Boozad mentioned, they are running next to power cables, but will those kinds present an issue?

Finally regarding active USB cables, I looked into this briefly, but its like 10x the price, and if I am looking at getting 4 or more of these cables, it gets expensive very quickly.
For only two or three meters, passive USB cables will be fine; active cables would be overkill. To avoid interference from the power cables running nearby, you should use high quality cables; they are more likely to be shielded. Keeping your USB cables as far as possible from any power cables running parallel to them will also help to avoid interference. In other words, don't bundle your USB cables with power cables; keep them in separate bundles and put a foot or two difference between the bundles. USB cables usually can cross power cables without any problems. It's when they run parallel to each other in close proximity that interference might become a problem, the longer the parallel run, the higher the chance of interference.

What specific peripherals are going to be extending?
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12 Oct 2013   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

I would think you would have no problem with most of those. I am not sure about the joystick or headset, but It should work for them. I'm running a Logitech G510 Keyboard and a G500 mouse of of a 10' cable and have been doing so for over a year and have had no problems. So, I suspect you wouldn't either.
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 "good" or "bad" USB 2.0 cables?




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