USB headers - any reason why they're not mostly USB 3.x these days?

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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I've depleted my collection of USB 2.0 brackets again and I'm having to hunt around ebay for a good deal in bulk, but it just occurred to me and surprised me a bit that motherboards* still have more USB 2.0 headers than USB 3.0. I would have thought that leaving maybe one USB 2.0 header at most would be adequate for legacy purposes. Is there a technical reason why USB 3.x headers haven't been used to replace the 2.0 headers?

* - at least, all the ASUS boards I've used in recent years.
 

Mr Evil

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Jul 24, 2015
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This sort of thing is usually because it saves a few pennies. It could also be because USB2 requires fewer pins, with less stringent requirements for trace lengths etc., which makes routing the on the motherboard easier.
 

XavierMace

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Apr 20, 2013
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There's a handful of devices that use classic USB headers (IE some AIO coolers) so having more than one is handy. Beyond that, there's not really a reason to waste board space on a bunch of USB headers. If you're out of ports, you may want to reconsider your usage, but either way they make hubs for that.
 

Insert_Nickname

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May 6, 2012
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If you're out of ports, you may want to reconsider your usage, but either way they make hubs for that.

Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but there are situations were more built-in ports are handy.

If nothing else to reduce cable clutter. A hub means at least one more cable, and potentially another wallwart w/ cable if its powered.
 

XavierMace

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Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but there are situations were more built-in ports are handy.

If nothing else to reduce cable clutter. A hub means at least one more cable, and potentially another wallwart w/ cable if its powered.

If you've got so many USB devices that you're out of USB ports, I don't think you're concerned about cable clutter. I know I've seen people talking about needing "at least 12 USB ports". I've got 4 cables coming out of my computer which sits under my desk. Power, HDMI, Ethernet, and 1 USB cable. Said USB cable runs to the top of my desk and my keyboard/mouse plug into it.
 

Mr Evil

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If you've got so many USB devices that you're out of USB ports, I don't think you're concerned about cable clutter. I know I've seen people talking about needing "at least 12 USB ports". I've got 4 cables coming out of my computer which sits under my desk. Power, HDMI, Ethernet, and 1 USB cable. Said USB cable runs to the top of my desk and my keyboard/mouse plug into it.
The more cables you have, the more important it is to keep them tidy, lest you end up with an incomprehensible web of copper and plastic.

Good for you only needing one USB port, but just because you can't imagine how more ports could be used does not mean that no one else actually needs more (I have 12, and am happy to have every one of those).
 

Insert_Nickname

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May 6, 2012
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If you've got so many USB devices that you're out of USB ports, I don't think you're concerned about cable clutter.

The only place I'm frequently out of USB ports is actually in front of the case. Most newer cases only have two ports in front, and for some odd reason manufacturers insist on dumping 5.25" (and 3.5") bays so you can't even add a few more. Its frequently not really ergonomic to use the rear ports too much.

Worse, they're usually placed so close together you can't even plug in a couple of outsized flashdrives-and-or-cardreaders in at the same time.

I know I've seen people talking about needing "at least 12 USB ports". I've got 4 cables coming out of my computer which sits under my desk. Power, HDMI, Ethernet, and 1 USB cable. Said USB cable runs to the top of my desk and my keyboard/mouse plug into it.

12 might be a little extreme. I have one for keyboard (which features an internal hub, so mouse is included), one for my monitors internal hub (doesn't see too much use since its behind the monitor), one for an external drive and one for an old (usually turned off) printer. So I'm good on pretty much anything.

Luckily my Crosshair features 2 USB3.1, 8 USB3 ports and 4 USB2 ports directly on the backplate. With headers for 5 more. So I'm well off... :)

In front of the case is a different matter. There are 3 (4 w/ dedicated charge port) ports from a hub (my case is so old it only features USB2 ports), and they're all frequently in use at the same time.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
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For my own computer, ideally I'd have every type of cable I'm likely to need already plugged in, and I just pick up the opposite end to plug into the device in question. My own board having a couple of extra USB 3.0 ports would be rather handy.

As for my comments in the OP, I build computers for customers and I try to kit them out with at least 8 USB ports (including the board's ports). After the typical two on the front of the case, I add typically two with a PCI bracket (though the brackets I've ended up ordering recently have four ports on due to only being about £1 more expensive). IMO, one of the reasons to have a desktop over a laptop is to have plenty of USB ports, especially given how laptops are typically having even fewer ports these days. A customer has a 'desktop' by Lenovo (I put desktop in quotes because it's a baby pentium with a laptop board and an SODIMM slot) with only three USB ports on the back, and it's been a real irritation for him.