• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

Question Finding USB 3.0 options for an older Gigabyte mb with no free PCIe slot

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
My sister has an older PC from iBuypower with a Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2 motherboard running some sort of AMD cpu (no clue which one).

The mb in question:

The big issue for this old tower is the lack of USB 3.0. How limiting! The bleeping video card's fan covers the lone PCIe card slot leaving only an older and slower PCI long slot. Who the hell designed this? Idiot! USB 3.0 expansion cards for normal PCI slots are over $60, which is absurd. I could likely just buy another motherboard and CPU for her for less.

Her Windows 7 is hopelessly corrupt so I am going to reinstall for her in the coming days and maybe even give her an old 256gb SSD drive as her OS drive since hers is a snail paced 5200rpm drive. The speed increase would be astounding.

There is really no budget here, but I might be willing to spend a tiny bit for her. What would be a good way to extend the life of her system? Is there a USB 3.0 add-on possibility I am not thinking of? There are two SATA2 slots open on the mb.

Should I just tell her she has to deal with USB 2.0 only and suck it up?

Is there a very very similar motherboard out there I could swap in that has USB 3.0 support? That route is kind of a last resort.

In case anyone asks, there are two ram slots, both filled, so she either has two 4GB or two 8GB sticks in there. I'll know when I turn this thing on to take a look.

Thanks. Here is the mb layout, in case anyone is interested.
layout.jpg
 

Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
5,546
1,100
126
Nothing really you should do, or can do, aside from the SSD upgrade as mentioned. If she needs USB3, it's probably time for a new comp.
 

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
Yeah, I am definitely doing the SSD upgrade. I have a Samsung 256 ggb ssd eight here. After having a look at this old pc I'll just do a fresh windows 7 install on the ssd which'll greatly increase her speed. This will be good enough for now and will give her a few more years.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
126
Gigabyte did make a newer revision of that board, GA-78LMT-USB3 and a lesser featured board (not sure of all differences, definitely only had two memory slots instead of 4) still with USB3, GA-78LMT-S2P

I happen to have one, but it's busy at the moment. ;)

What is the primary need for USB3? If external HDD, you can hook that up to the SATA. If external USB flash drive, if her use is high #of small writes, it may be just as fast to use something like a Sandisk Extreme Pro USB flash drive over USB2, as a typical low end USB3 flash drive on USB3.

What video card is it? Is there an aftermarket heatsink available that's lower profile, or just get a single height low power card like a GTX 750/950/1050/etc ?

Did you know that you can get PCIe extension cables that move the slot? I don't know how the case is laid out but there might be an unused case slot bracket above the video card or below the bottom board edge, or you could even think outside the box and mount the card to the front wall of the case so the USB ports are accessible there. They're around $4 or less, example: https://www.ebay.com/itm/233645485201

 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
19,303
1,655
126
Can you try this route.... The 1x isnt dead right? its just blocked?

Riser Cable

Went through countless risers, and aside from the USB ones that are quite unreliable for anything other than mining, this is the only one that I found that would fit under a GTX 1650 in the adjacent slot.

I thought this type of ribbon and connector would be less reliable and harder to bend and more prone to popping free of the connector but actually it's very secure even at a 90 degree angle. No problems running a wifi/bt card, either.
+

USB 3.0 card, you can just leave it laying on the floor if you have no more blank slots... well even then i do not think it will easy to mount in a pci slot, unless you want to physically remove that ancient pci slot

+

Use this rear cable to get ports since getting them from the rear will be very difficult.
 
Last edited:

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
4,407
941
136
The big issue for this old tower is the lack of USB 3.0. How limiting! The bleeping video card's fan covers the lone PCIe card slot leaving only an older and slower PCI long slot. Who the hell designed this? Idiot! USB 3.0 expansion cards for normal PCI slots are over $60, which is absurd. I could likely just buy another motherboard and CPU for her for less.
I'd definitely do exactly that before sinking money in a PCI-to-USB3 expansion card. Remember old-fashion PCI is limited to 133MB/s, which is then shared among all devices on the bus. So it's not like you'll get a massive speed-up with such a card. Most users are unlikely to notice USB2 vs USB3 either.

If this happens to be an old K10-class CPU, it'll be about due for a replacement.

As an alternative aigomorla's suggestion is good, if you don't mind the bit of jury rigging required.

Her Windows 7 is hopelessly corrupt so I am going to reinstall for her in the coming days and maybe even give her an old 256gb SSD drive as her OS drive since hers is a snail paced 5200rpm drive. The speed increase would be astounding.
I'd advise against using 7 today. If you have the 7 key on hand, 10 will still accept it as valid.

As a bonus, 10 cuts down tremendously on F&F support calls.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Shmee

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
I have her windows 7 Home Premium key. I tried downloading a Win7 iso using that key and Microsoft said no advising to use software supplied by the company the PC came from. That's not doable. DVD lost. System hopelessly corrupt and I want to use an SSD I have on hand.

I am downloading a Windows 10 iso now but have no idea if I should install 32 or 64 bit. I imagine the hardware is 64, but I'm not sure. I think I'll try and get her system powered up to get into windows and see what she has.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
4,407
941
136
I am downloading a Windows 10 iso now but have no idea if I should install 32 or 64 bit. I imagine the hardware is 64, but I'm not sure. I think I'll try and get her system powered up to get into windows and see what she has.
All AMD CPU from the original Athlon64 are 64bit capable. (with a very few exceptions)

At this point I wouldn't bother with the 32bit (x86) version, unless you have some very specific use for it. MS has pretty much pulled the plug on it too.

* Beginning with Windows 10, version 2004, all new Windows 10 systems will be required to use 64-bit builds and Microsoft will no longer release 32-bit builds for OEM distribution. This does not impact 32-bit customer systems that are manufactured with earlier versions of Windows 10; Microsoft remains committed to providing feature and security updates on these devices, including continued 32-bit media availability in non-OEM channels to support various upgrade installation scenarios.
As a bonus, you get support for more then 4GB RAM, double the CPU registers and a bit better security (ASLR).
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
126
I'd definitely do exactly that before sinking money in a PCI-to-USB3 expansion card. Remember old-fashion PCI is limited to 133MB/s, which is then shared among all devices on the bus. So it's not like you'll get a massive speed-up with such a card. Most users are unlikely to notice USB2 vs USB3 either.
Umm, yes it is a massive speedup to go from ~35MB/s effective USB throughput to ~110MB/s, in most other computing metrics like SSD peak MB/s, CPU performance, or GPU, etc, a threefold increase is quite a lot. The problem is, PCI cards are not all that common any longer so are premium priced, unless you can find used. Shared don the bus, not really an issue with only one slot and a chipset that has PCIe doing everything else.

If this happens to be an old K10-class CPU, it'll be about due for a replacement.
Meh, there really isn't any due, depends on the use. For enthusiasts, sure it would've been replaced a long time ago but for most popular uses, there may be no justification to upgrade. The system I have a one-generation newer version of this motherboard in, and CPU, I have no need or intention of upgrading any year soon. It's not my primary use system but for what I need it for, it does fine.

I'd advise against using 7 today. If you have the 7 key on hand, 10 will still accept it as valid.

As a bonus, 10 cuts down tremendously on F&F support calls.
IMO this is backwards. If someone is used to running Win7 and the installation has been stable, it is likely to stay that way. Granted we're short in info, what has happened to cause the support visit and this topic, could be PSU failing, malware, HDD failing, who knows?

Keeping what works is far less hassle for not just the installer but also user famiilar with Win7, and Win10 can break things formerly working because it's still making significant changes updating itself. On the other hand, it is good to become familiar with Win10 too, but IMO better to do that on a secondary system, not the one someone uses for everyday things they need to get done on a timely basis, let people switch gradually when they are ready.

Just sayin', if there "really is no budget here", and if she really needs USB3 for undisclosed reasons, the shortest path is the PCIe extension cable and a PCIe USB3 card, NOT replacing CPU, motherboard, memory, OS, etc, which takes substantial time not just money. Time is not really "free", even if you donate it, you can't get it back to spend other ways.

Frankly if it is time to upgrade the hardware, going all out then it is time to look at the PSU too, possibly video card, basically talking about it making as much sense to get her an OEM Dell/etc refurb whole system rather than piecemeal upgrading something if she isn't equipped to handle the hiccups along the way, then throw an SSD in it if not so equipped.

Refurb'd OEM boxes newer than that are not all that expensive if you aren't picky, but again it depends on her needs and that era of system still has plenty of life left for most common uses, so another way of looking at it is it could make sense to keep it intact as a whole system, then she or someone else can make some use of it even if not a primary use... not sure about the OP's motherboard but the next-gen 78LMT I have, has 6 x SATA, RAID, GbE, and integrated video, has potential for some other use like a NAS box. If the OP's board has integrated video then it doesn't even need the video card for that use, so pulling it would free up the PCIe slot.

This is getting outside of the central issue here, that this is all for someone else who isn't going to DIY or else she would have already. I would either ONLY add USB3 support, or replace the whole system, with an OEM refurb if money is tight.
 
Last edited:

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
Hi, guys. She doesn't need USB 3.0. Obviously they are so much faster, but I talked with her and looked at her thumb drives. These are not large documents or files so she is fine with 2.0, imho.

The big issue with the pc was it had become unbearably sloooow. I have no idea what her hubby does but within year of my doing a clean install the system is always nearly useless. It goes from perfectly fine to impossible. Try 10 minute boot-up times. In fact, it's been so bad for over a year that her hubby hasn't used it and now has a company provided Surface. Good!! He no longer needs access to the tower.

I have decided to install Windows 10 from DVD (made used media creation tool) though I am not sure if I can choose Home Premium or how that works (I just don't remember how it goes when I upgraded one of my PC's last year).

Her Windows 7 was Home Premium (the sticker is still on the PC) and I assume I'll be asked to provide the key at the beginning of the install. I'll find out shortly.

With a fresh Windows 10 install plus OpenShell the layout will be clean and familiar enough for my sister to use and enjoy.

I would stick with Windows 7 Home Premium if I could find a fully updated installer, but oh well. I guess Windows 10 will do. There is no reason why it shouldn't work out just fine.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
126
You need to educate them about piling on 3rd party stuff, or else win10 will become bloated too. Granted, an SSD will make a world of difference, but even a lowly old 5K4 RPM HDD doesn't take more than a minute, two at most to boot Win7 until bloat is added.

On the other hand, 10 minutes is so outrageously long that I would suspect malware before mere bloat, unless it was severely deficient in memory but that shouldn't be the case with 8GB or more unless the amount of 3rd party junk added was absurd, maybe two or three so-called "security suites" installed simultaneously would bog it down.
 

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
Oh I have tried. My brother in-law is a thick brick. Brilliant, man, but stubborn to a fault. I swear he does the opposite of what anyone tells him. Now that he no longer needs to system I think it will be fine.

As of now Windows 10 is freshly installed, plus a number of programs they need, along with malwarebytes and avast (I have personally used avast with positive results). Things are going well.
 

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
1,268
1,521
96
Windows 10 has a mode with a limited account for daily user access, with an escalation password like unix when needed.

Get your sister to run that.

I find with my family members, forcing them to enter a special password to install crap causes them to think twice.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
4,407
941
136
Umm, yes it is a massive speedup to go from ~35MB/s effective USB throughput to ~110MB/s, in most other computing metrics like SSD peak MB/s, CPU performance, or GPU, etc, a threefold increase is quite a lot. The problem is, PCI cards are not all that common any longer so are premium priced, unless you can find used. Shared don the bus, not really an issue with only one slot and a chipset that has PCIe doing everything else.
Uhm, IMHO that isn't worth the $60 investment. Especially compared with what you can get for that $60 instead.

Especially for a few undefined pendrives as reported by the OP.

Meh, there really isn't any due, depends on the use. For enthusiasts, sure it would've been replaced a long time ago but for most popular uses, there may be no justification to upgrade. The system I have a one-generation newer version of this motherboard in, and CPU, I have no need or intention of upgrading any year soon. It's not my primary use system but for what I need it for, it does fine.
Having an old/new K10 system* (with significantly better specs) myself, I'll keep to my opinion. K10 isn't really that capable of running Win10. Not so much the OS itself, but all the unmentionables running in the background. Updates? Take all afternoon.

*Running 10 isn't the primary purpose, but is required for "housekeeping"...

IMO this is backwards. If someone is used to running Win7 and the installation has been stable, it is likely to stay that way. Granted we're short in info, what has happened to cause the support visit and this topic, could be PSU failing, malware, HDD failing, who knows?

Keeping what works is far less hassle for not just the installer but also user famiilar with Win7, and Win10 can break things formerly working because it's still making significant changes updating itself. On the other hand, it is good to become familiar with Win10 too, but IMO better to do that on a secondary system, not the one someone uses for everyday things they need to get done on a timely basis, let people switch gradually when they are ready.
Win7 has been out of support for almost a year (unless you happen to have an enterprise contract). That alone is reason enough to switch.

Switch when ready? In my experience they'll never switch at all then. If F&Fs want my help, they switch, because I don't have time to support all kinds of legacy OSs.

This is getting outside of the central issue here, that this is all for someone else who isn't going to DIY or else she would have already. I would either ONLY add USB3 support, or replace the whole system, with an OEM refurb if money is tight.
That is certainly a valid course. If you can get a good deal on a referb with OS license, by all means.
 

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
Last night I had my sister over to test drive the redone system and she was astounded at the speed. I asked her to bring me any program cd's she has so I can install what is needed.

I am absolutely giving them a limited account! That's a damn good idea.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mopetar and Leeea

Leeea

Golden Member
Apr 3, 2020
1,268
1,521
96
I am absolutely giving them a limited account! That's a damn good idea.
My mother has a computer that all of her grand kids play on when she babysits (pre-covid). It has been functional without my intervention since 2015. I told my mother the password, and she keeps it in her password purse.

That computer also has an ad blocker installed, which greatly reduces the number of support calls. Malvertising* seems prevalent everywhere now, and is easily the number 1 way computers get malware now. If you care about her data security, you need to install one.

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malvertising
 
Last edited:

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
6,414
3,306
136
It's good that you're able to squeeze some extra life out of the system, but at a certain point it may be advisable to have them start setting aside some money for an upgrade. Once you factor in all of your time doing triage on the current machine, I think it may be cheaper for you if they had something newer.

If they don't have a heavy workload even a more modern APU at the low end would be suitable, and you could probably reuse a lot of the current parts and build a decent upgrade for relatively cheap. I'd probably wait until the next generation chips land since AMD seems to have stopped manufacturing many of the older parts causing the prices to rise considerably over what those parts could be had for months ago.

Stopping whatever crud is degrading the performance might help for awhile, but even the legitimate programs like a virus scan can really hurt performance on older machines. Whatever was causing the problem apparently isn't being caught by the existing scan which makes me question if it's really a malware problem.
 

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
One problem I am having is inability to add a local user account. Windows 10 is still new to me and ALL the directions I find online for this point are wrong. Possibly because I have OpenShell (Classicshell) installed??? Not really sure. There seems to be no way to simply add another user account. Only change the one I have (listed as Admin). Kind of frustrating.

As for the past problems, I think the bulk of the problem was from the insane amount of stupid programs my bro-in-law installed, many that were running in the background. Sports crap, photo crap, work programs, etc. etc. He also would refuse to reboot for days or even weeks on end simply because people would tell him to because the system needs it. He's insanely stubborn.

Right now the system is running extremely well, as it should with a fresh install. I just need to add a bleeping basic user account.

Specs:
AMD FX 4130 Quad 2.81 GHz.
8GB ram.
NVIDIA GeForce GT640
256gb Samsung SSD (one of my old drive, but it wasn't heavily used).

For what she needs (word processing, YouTube) she's fine.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
 
Last edited:

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
4,407
941
136
Specs:
AMD FX 4130 Quad 2.81 GHz.
8GB ram.
NVIDIA GeForce GT640
256gb Samsung SSD (one of my old ones, but it wasn't heavily used).
That's actually pretty decent. You should be able to squeeze 3-4 years out of that box easily. If you add 8GB RAM, and perhaps a GT1030 down the road, I wouldn't be surprised if it lasts 5+ years yet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Matt_Stevens

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
126
Win7 has been out of support for almost a year (unless you happen to have an enterprise contract). That alone is reason enough to switch.
That is a good reason to use Win7, that it has had years of patches so a mature OS, while Win10 not so much, with every new patch comes a risk of problems.

Some will say security blah blah blah. I've never had a single security incident on Win7. Then and now it's more about safe computing practices and points of entry like email attachments or browser flaws, at least for the home user behind a router.

There are good reasons to stay on the MS treadmill, constantly updating their latest OS, like needing it for driver or software support including newer DX for gaming, but otherwise, you're better off with a mature OS that MS stopped "supporting".
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
6,561
860
126
Specs:
AMD FX 4130 Quad 2.81 GHz.
8GB ram.
NVIDIA GeForce GT640
256gb Samsung SSD (one of my old drive, but it wasn't heavily used).

For what she needs (word processing, YouTube) she's fine.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
Yes, these uses do not call for new hardware, besides the SSD.

As I'd already mentioned, they don't call for new OS either. In the past when I have *fixed* someone's computer, I made an OS partition backup, and would have just restored that, taking 5-10 minutes to do so. Then with a known good state, it is easier to see if there is a hardware problem too. Heh, if upgrading them to an SSD, I could bring the SSD with OS partition already put on it and take 1 minute to swap it.

If there is no hardware fault, and it wasn't a new (Win10) OS fault updating itself, then it is a user fault and you can spend hours on it (if you take all the various advice to change things) then they are back to old habits all over again.
 

Matt_Stevens

Senior member
Dec 17, 2009
460
6
81
It's entirely the fault of my brother inlaw. No doubt. Never said it wasn't. :)

I will be doing an OS backup. It would have been nice to go with Windows 7 but I couldn't figure out how to get a proper install disc or file that would work with the key. No worries. Whatever. It will do what it needs to do and frankly I'll have my sister unplug it from the net unless she is in need of browsing or youtube.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
roynany Motherboards 2
mxnerd Motherboards 10

ASK THE COMMUNITY