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Windows 7: Running out of USB ports! Help!

03 May 2016   #1
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Running out of USB ports! Help!

OK, I think that I may be just one more among a billion persons with this same problem since nowadays everything is USB. LoL.

I have seven USB ports on my computer, being 5 in the back and 2 in the front.

All my five back ports are busy (audio interface, mouse, wi-fi dongle and two USB HDDs) leaving me with only the two front ports that doesn't helps too much since I still have two more HDDs, a musical keyboard, laser printer and a LOT of pendrives. To keep unplugging stuff to free up ports is not an option for me.

I bought recently a cheap USB hub that revealed to be a big crap: the only devices that I manage to make work on it are pendrives and the wi-fi dongle, and even so sometimes the wi-fi dongle refuses to work or stop to work after a while. The HDDs just light their leds but aren't even recognized by the system.

I have tried a different cheap USB hub from my wife's notebook but it's the same crap (doesn't afford HDD). Then I suppose that cheap USB hubs won't work for me.

I would like to know if there is any decent USB out there that works or even an extra USB interface that I can add to my computer. My motherboard has two long blue slots and two medium sized cream ones. All of them are free.

Thanks!




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2016   #2
cflusflwfl

Windows 7 64 bit Professional
 
 

Is the usb hub have its own power? I have found that some devices don't work right unless the usb hub is self powered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 May 2016   #3
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cflusflwfl View Post
Is the usb hub have its own power? I have found that some devices don't work right unless the usb hub is self powered.
It doesn't. I have found some powered hubs but I confess that being it from crazy Chinese brands I didn't feel too much secure on connect such stuff on my computer. LoL.

Browsing the web I just found something that may be the solution of my problem, that is a PCI express board that adds four extra USB 3.0 ports. It is a PCIE x1 and I have two PCIE x16 free on my computer. Question is: will it work?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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03 May 2016   #4
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

[QUOTE=yankleber;3244908]
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cflusflwfl View Post
Browsing the web I just found something that may be the solution of my problem, that is a PCI express board that adds four extra USB 3.0 ports. It is a PCIE x1 and I have two PCIE x16 free on my computer. Question is: will it work?
After some research, the answer is: YES, it will work. You can connect any x1, x4 or x4 in x16 slots. Just ordered mine!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #5
cflusflwfl

Windows 7 64 bit Professional
 
 

Great, let us know if it works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

[QUOTE=yankleber;3244910]
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by yankleber View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by cflusflwfl View Post
Browsing the web I just found something that may be the solution of my problem, that is a PCI express board that adds four extra USB 3.0 ports. It is a PCIE x1 and I have two PCIE x16 free on my computer. Question is: will it work?
After some research, the answer is: YES, it will work. You can connect any x1, x4 or x4 in x16 slots. Just ordered mine!

Since it can plug into an x1 slot, the fastest all the ports combined will run at is 5Gbps. If you need the full USB 3.0 speed—5Gbps—you can run only one device at a time. Otherwise, your speed will be throttled. This won't be an issue if the devices are USB 2.0 or only one or, maybe, two of the four devices actually runs at a time

Also, make sure the card has a port for additional power and be sure to use it. PCI-e by itself is not capable of producing enough power to run USB devices that run on USB power, especially when trying to run four devices at the same time.

Frankly, I feel that manufacturers that market USB 3.0 expansion cards that have more than one port running on a single PCI-e lane should be shot, then prosecuted for fraud, then shot again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #7
alphaniner

Windows 7 Professional x64, Arch Linux
 
 

PCIe USB 3 adapters can often be more problematic than PCIe USB 2 adapters, especially if it's a 'no-name' from China. Just keep that in mind if you have any problems when you get it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #8
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I hope I'm not off subject.

I would suggest that one uses Hotswap bays for drives which will hook to the sata ports on the motherboard and sata power from the power supply.
That would free up some USB ports.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #9
yankleber

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Well, what a quite lot of awesome inputs!



At this point I already ordered the USB card, but it was cheap (something around $20) so if it doesn't work as expected it won't be a total disaster. I really didn't know that a USB PCIE expansion didn't have its own power, this is absolutely a big shame!

After to be aware of it I am anticipating that I may have problems just because I am willing to plug there exactly the devices I don't swap all the time and that coincidentally are the more power starving (HDDs).

Now I got interested on the 'hot swap' stuff. I never heard about them till now, but you definitively got my attention. This is something that can be attached to any computer or does it demands some kind of special setup in the case?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 May 2016   #10
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Hot swap bays usually get installed in one or more 5.25" bays in the computer case and will need a power feed from the PSU and a SATA cable from the MOBO to each hot swap bay of the computer.

This is an example of a single hot swap bay:



This is an example of one that can hold three HDDs and occupies two 5.25" bays:



I have two hot swap bays in my current desktop machine. The 2.5" hot swap bay came built into the case. The 3.5" hot swap bay I added into a 5.25" bay.

Running out of USB ports! Help!-hdd-swap-bay.jpg

This photo shows a 3.5" HDD inserted in the hot swap bay. This particular style doesn't use an eject lever/door, which I prefer. The 2.5" bay is a little door hiding underneath the 3.5" drive. I primarily use them for updating backup drives. To use a hot swap bay, you have to be able to enable hot swap in the MOBO's BIOS.


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 Running out of USB ports! Help!




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