[SOLVED] USB 3.0 card advice and recommendations?

hbenthow

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Dec 11, 2014
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I recently bought a Dell OptiPlex 9020 Mini Tower, which only has four USB 3.0 ports (two in front, two in back). I'm considering buying a USB 3.0 card to add some more ports, but don't know whether that's a good idea or which one to get.

Some of them have a cord to attach them to a power port on the motherboard for extra power, but my motherboard doesn't have any free slots for that. I was reading up on one of the ones that doesn't require a cord on Amazon, but one reviewer claimed that it fried a slot on his motherboard.

Here's the Amazon page of the one in question:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JFR2I2C/

Are these cards generally safe? And if so, what's a trustworthy one to get?

EDIT: Also, are the powered USB 3.0 splitters that come with a power adapter for a wall outlet and you can plug into a USB 3.0 port to split it into more (like 4 or 7) as effective as a USB 3.0 card, or do they perform more poorly (slower, etc)?

Also, below is a shot of the inside of my case so you can see what slots and ports are available and which ones aren't. If I were to get a USB card, I'd connect it to the black PCI slot at the very bottom.

 
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Phillip Corcoran

Titan
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"Does the fact that all of the drives are hooked to a hub that is running off of the same USB port cause any data speed bottlenecking?"

If it's a mains-powered USB 3.0 Hub there will be very little (if any) bottleneck.

"Also, thisi s the first time that I've heard the expression "mains-powered" as opposed to merely "powered". Is there a difference?"

Hubs are either bus-powered (powered from USB port) or mains-powered (plugged in to a wall-socket via an adapter) .

A mains-powered one ensures that all devices plugged in to it simultaneously will get sufficient power, whereas with a bus-powered hub some devices may keep disconnecting owing to lack of power.
 

hbenthow

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Buy a mains-powered USB hub (what you call a "splitter", it's proper name is a "hub"). That's the easiest solution.
I bought one with "Pluggable" brand-name --- it''s got 7 USB ports, excellent quality and has never let me down.
Ideal for my four external hard drives. it's an older version of this one:

Does the fact that all of the drives are hooked to a hub that is running off of the same USB port cause any data speed bottlenecking?

Also, thisi s the first time that I've heard the expression "mains-powered" as opposed to merely "powered". Is there a difference?
 

Phillip Corcoran

Titan
Moderator
"Does the fact that all of the drives are hooked to a hub that is running off of the same USB port cause any data speed bottlenecking?"

If it's a mains-powered USB 3.0 Hub there will be very little (if any) bottleneck.

"Also, thisi s the first time that I've heard the expression "mains-powered" as opposed to merely "powered". Is there a difference?"

Hubs are either bus-powered (powered from USB port) or mains-powered (plugged in to a wall-socket via an adapter) .

A mains-powered one ensures that all devices plugged in to it simultaneously will get sufficient power, whereas with a bus-powered hub some devices may keep disconnecting owing to lack of power.
 

hbenthow

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Dec 11, 2014
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If it's a mains-powered USB 3.0 Hub there will be very little (if any) bottleneck.
Thank you for that information.

It sounds like I should try to see if a hub is suffivient before bothering with a USB card.

Hubs are either bus-powered (powered from USB port) or mains-powered (plugged in to a wall-socket via an adapter) .
Ah, I see. I always called bus-powered ones "unpowered" and mains-powered ones "powered".
 

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