USB hub vs. USB PCI card

Discussion in 'Dell' started by Journey, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Journey

    Journey Guest

    Question:

    - USB hub vs. USB PCI card

    Is a port on the latter faster than on the former?

    A port on the hub might compete with other devices on the hub, and
    then it only goes into one port on the back of the desktop.

    A port on the PCI card goes directly into the desktop.
     
    Journey, Mar 9, 2007
    #1
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  2. Journey

    Journey Guest

    Oops, I should have put "OT: " at the front of my subject.

    In addition to USB 2.0, I have been reading about FireWire tonight.
    That's what this post is about.

    I assumed that USB 2.0 and Firewire 400 are approximately the same
    speed. The average PC user might think that USB 2.0 is faster because
    it's is rated at 480 megaBITS per second (Mbps), while FireWire is
    rated at 400Mbps.

    What I have gleaned from a few hours of Googling (what is happening to
    the English language... I wonder how they say "Google" in Chinese...
    sorry)...

    Anyway, from what I gather, FireWire 400 has faster sustained rates,
    is more efficient, and also (I think) uses less of the computer's CPU
    resources than USB 2.0.

    FireWire can be daisy-chained (like the older Mac SCSI devices), but I
    don't know if it should be, or -- if it is OK, -- how many external
    drives would it be wise to daisy-chain. One of my external drives is
    a combo USB 2.0 and FireWire drive and sure enough there are two
    FireWire ports on the back which would allow for daisy-chaining. I
    never noticed that before.

    Some Dell products have a "1394 IEEE Adapter Card". That is a
    FireWire adapter card. I will find out whether it has one port or
    more than one port when my outlet order arrives. For some reason I
    assumed that it would be one port because on laptops there are many
    USB ports, and if there are any FireWire ports it is usually just one.
    On eBay though a lot of the adapter cards have 3 ports. I assumed
    that FireWire is mainly used for digital camcorders because maybe they
    started that way and due to that they continued that way, but it's not
    true -- FireWire is better for that kind of thing.

    That's just enough research for me to conclude:

    - If I buy any external hard drives in the future, I will make sure
    that at least one has a Firewire interfaces in addition to USB 2.0.
    Usually FireWire adds on to the cost so I will only need one or at
    most two drives with FireWire.

    - I won't daisy-chain the FireWires assuming that a Firewire PCI card
    has several ports in which case I won't need to daisy-chain.

    - I will reserve the FireWire drive(s) for data intensive tasks, such
    as doing backup images and restores if speed is an issue (just one
    example). It's hard for me to know though what is data-intensive
    without getting out my calculator and I am too lazy to do that, at
    least right now. I think that USB 2.0 is fine for most tasks such as
    playing MP3 files because an average 4 minute MP3 song is at most 8
    megabytes, so that wouldn't come near stressing out a USB 2.0 rate of
    transfer. In fact, MP3 files seem to be fine playing on a wireless
    laptop from an external USB 2.0 hooked up to a desktop.

    - USB 2.0 is much more commonly used, so any FireWire drive that I
    get will be a combo, not just FireWire-only.

    For USB 2.0, I will have the ports the computer comes with plus I will
    get a PCI USB 2.0 hub (they are less than $50). I will try to balance
    what I assign to the ports, and I will _definitely not_ daisy-chain
    USB 2.0 hubs. In the past I just added hubs and I was too afraid to
    see where they led because I wasn't sure I could escape from the
    tangled mess of wires if I got trapped back there. With a new PC
    arriving soon I'll use that as an opportunity to sort that all out.

    I don't think many people know about the differences between USB 2.0
    and FireWire, and USB 2.0 products can be marketed as being as fast as
    FireWire or faster, but that really isn't true. Knowing this might be
    useful when deciding whether to spend that little extra money for a
    combo USB 2.0 / FireWire drive in the future if you have a need for
    fast data transfers.
     
    Journey, Mar 9, 2007
    #2
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  3. Journey

    Journey Guest

    Which got me to thinking ...

    Google, as almost anyone knows, is trying to get into everything --
    maps, shopping, etc., not just search engines.

    So, let's say they get into the Chinese restaurant business. What
    would their flagship dish be?

    Moo "Google" Gai Pan

    (fortunately people can't throw things at me through their Internet
    connection ...)
     
    Journey, Mar 9, 2007
    #3
  4. Journey

    RnR Guest


    Of course I can. Give me your personal email address and then
    duck <g> !!
     
    RnR, Mar 9, 2007
    #4
  5. Journey

    WSZsr Guest

    ENOUGH ALREADY!

     
    WSZsr, Mar 9, 2007
    #5
  6. Journey

    Journey Guest


    :p
     
    Journey, Mar 9, 2007
    #6
  7. Journey

    Ben Myers Guest

    A USB PCI card (or a USB PCMCIA card for notebooks) is a simpler approach in
    electronic terms. Fewer cables and gremlins that go bump in the night... Ben
    Myers
     
    Ben Myers, Mar 9, 2007
    #7
  8. Journey

    PDR Guest

    Peking duck or char sui?

    PDR
     
    PDR, Mar 9, 2007
    #8
  9. Journey

    Doug Jacobs Guest

    Not really, but there are a lot of other factors to consider.

    The ports on a hub may or may not be powered - something to consider if
    your device is trying to draw its power through the USB connection. 2.5"
    USB HDD enclosures are an example of a device that draws power from the
    USB port and are not considered a good thing to plug into a hub for this
    reason.

    Another thing to consider is that the hub will only go as fast as the
    slowest device you plug into it. For example, you have a thumb drive that
    uses USB 2.0, and a mouse that uses USB 1.1. If you were to plug these
    both into a USB 2.0 hub, you'd only get USB 1.1 speeds to your thumbdrive.
     
    Doug Jacobs, Mar 9, 2007
    #9
  10. Journey

    Journey Guest

    Thank you -- I didn't know that, and it's a significant consideration
    for my setup.
     
    Journey, Mar 9, 2007
    #10
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