Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 12 Oct 2010, 23:18

This is a non-critical question.
My 2GB 2GHz ASUS laptop has 5 USB sockets.
The 4 on the back are used for the scanner, KVM switch(1), and two USB external hard drives for backups.
The 1 port on the side is used for memory keys, uploading images from cameras.

Tonight for the first time ever I clicked on the little balloon that appears after I hook up the two USB drives; the balloon tells me that if only I would plug the drives into the HI-SPEED ports, the drives would work faster.

Not that I care; while the backup is running I go wash the dishes and bake some cookies etc. Best stay away and let the backup run, is my motto.

The image (below) says that I have 8 ports.
Where are the other three?!??!!!
I might be confusing a port with a socket?
That CanonScan 3200/3200F is my flatbed scanner.
I am not sure why only one hard drive is shown; two were plugged in and turned on at the time the snapshot was taken.
And we know they KVM is plugged in because I'm typing this, right?
The image says "... connect it to one of the ports ... in bold type", and only the line "USB Root Hub (8 ports)" is in bold type.
1.JPG

(1) Keyboard-Video-Mouse that lets me use one keyboard and one mouse and one monitor for two machines, switching between machines with a Scroll-Scroll-Up sequence.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby BobH » 13 Oct 2010, 04:19

Is it possible that your device is USB 3.0 and that your computer has USB 2.0 ports?

One would think that if the OS knows that there is an imbalance in the speeds that it would be able to tell you more precisely what it means.

Or, maybe that's too much to expect from microsofat.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby Argus » 13 Oct 2010, 04:58

ChrisGreaves wrote:Where are the other three?!??!!!

On the motherboard, most likely. :grin:
It's very common, at least for desktops, that a desktop has, say, 4 external ports (on the back/front) and another 4 internal (or perhaps 6 + 6 etc. nowadays), i.e. sockets on the mobo, ready to be used if connected to a port, at the front etc. So, in these cases the OS reports what's there, on the mobo, not ports on the outside. It seems like ASUS has decided to not use them.

If you want some suggestions about the other, not mentioned, question about speed it would be good if you can give us some more information about the hardware; laptop and ext. hard drives (the KVM switch and scanner isn't important), i.e. models.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby StuartR » 13 Oct 2010, 05:36

BobH wrote:Is it possible that your device is USB 3.0 and that your computer has USB 2.0 ports?
...

Hi-speed USB has a very specific meaning. It is a USB 2 device.
Full-speed USB was USB 1.1
I think the equivalent term for USB3 is Superspeed, but I'm not sure
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby BobH » 13 Oct 2010, 05:39

StuartR wrote:
BobH wrote:Is it possible that your device is USB 3.0 and that your computer has USB 2.0 ports?
...

Hi-speed USB has a very specific meaning. It is a USB 2 device.
Full-speed USB was USB 1.1
I think the equivalent term for USB3 is Superspeed, but I'm not sure


Wasn't aware of that distinction. Stuart. Thanks!
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby Argus » 13 Oct 2010, 05:50

BobH wrote:Wasn't aware of that distinction. Stuart. Thanks!

But "microsofat" was. :smile:
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby DaveA » 13 Oct 2010, 16:53

Chris,
Does this machine have any "Memory chip" reader slots?
If so then these are the other USB ports.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 13 Oct 2010, 18:32

BobH wrote:Is it possible that your device is USB 3.0 and that your computer has USB 2.0 ports?
Good question, Bob, and thanks.
The laptop is 3 or 4 years old. I suspect that USB 3.0 didn't exist when I picked the computer up years ago.
Given the nature of the message it's possible that the USB sockets are all 1.0.

There's probably a program somewhere that tests the speed with a file R/W to a memory key. :scratch:
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 13 Oct 2010, 18:34

Argus wrote:On the motherboard, most likely. ... It seems like ASUS has decided to not use them.
Thanks Argus, that would make sense.
I know the BigBeigeBox has 2 USB sockets on the back, and I never did get around to connecting the one on the front; that is, the BBB mobo has capacity I'm not using.

I suppose if I ever take the laptop apart I could look.
Or perhaps I could visit the ASUS mobo web site.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 13 Oct 2010, 18:46

DaveA wrote:Does this machine have any "Memory chip" reader slots? If so then these are the other USB ports.
Thanks Dave. There are no "holes" unaccounted for on the back.

On the side there is a USB socket (white camera cable attached), then a pair of DIN? sockets for speaker/microphone.

Then there is a weird little socket whose purpose I've never fathomed.

Just below my (tiny) red "1" is a place for a little camera card, I think.

Just below that, and above my "2" is what looks like a wide shelf-thing that should pull out, but doesn't.

Then to the right ("3") is a push-button eject device which I *think* is designed for a circuit-card, perhaps a wireless networking card or such. The plastic tray that emerges has six rectangular holes, and at first I thought it was a tray to hold 6xcamera cards, until I realized that there were no connectors! :dunce:

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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby Argus » 13 Oct 2010, 19:14

ChrisGreaves wrote:Given the nature of the message it's possible that the USB sockets are all 1.0.

I thought about that, but your screenshot says: "USB2 Enhanced Host Controller"; the Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI) is for high-speed. And for backwards compatibility computers with USB2 also have other controllers for the low- and full-speed. So, there seem to be a high-speed controller in the laptop.

I also thought about drivers; you did rebuild some computers recently, didn't you? But then, why would one external hard drive work at high-speed (or there is some other problem with that one that doesn't create that OS Notification Area balloon, and it runs at full-speed without notice), while the other with the same drivers doesn't?

I also thought about BIOS settings; in the BIOS Setup one can often find settings for "USB Configuration", one can enable and disable USB 1.1/2.0, set the mode for USB 2 etc. But then again, why would one work but not the other if this setting is set to USB 1.1?

Then there also can be hardware problems with the port, or the device; have you tried moving the external drives between ports?

The above leads me to the question if there is any difference between the two external hard drives. Are they the same brand/model?
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby DaveA » 13 Oct 2010, 20:11

Chris,
The number 1 is a memory card reader, some of these can read up to 4 different cards and will set up that many different ports.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 13 Oct 2010, 21:02

Thanks for the education, Argus!
Argus wrote:So, there seem to be a high-speed controller in the laptop.
So in layman's terms, the laptop came as "USB 2.0 equipped", I think.

I also thought about drivers; you did rebuild some computers recently, didn't you? But then, why would one external hard drive work at high-speed (or there is some other problem with that one that doesn't create that OS Notification Area balloon, and it runs at full-speed without notice), while the other with the same drivers doesn't?

I rebuilt the laptop over the past three (glutton-for-punishment) weekends, but each time following the steps laid down in my notes; that is, no wandering off into strange drivers; just letting the installation do its own thing.
It is only this week that I have questioned the pop-up balloon (it has reared its head often enough in the past that it is a bit like an old friend), and more out of curiosity than anything else. My incremental backups take about 5 minutes, tops, and a full (terabyte Image For Windows) backup about fifteen minutes, and that's the right time for a leg-stretch anyway.

I also thought about BIOS settings; in the BIOS Setup one can often find settings for "USB Configuration", one can enable and disable USB 1.1/2.0, set the mode for USB 2 etc. But then again, why would one work but not the other if this setting is set to USB 1.1?
I am at a loss.
Also given my lack of knowledge with laptops I am somewhat reluctant to start messing around in the BIOS.
Even if I knew how to get into it! I got to be fairly comfortable with the BIOS in the old desktop computers, through.


Then there also can be hardware problems with the port, or the device; have you tried moving the external drives between ports?
Not yet, but tonight I will experiment by rotating the four plugs (I have the four sockets on the back occupied) one position to the right, where "rightward" includes shunting the first plug into the empty socket-on-the-side, and I'll take screenshots to compare with yesterday's pop-up balloon.

The above leads me to the question if there is any difference between the two external hard drives. Are they the same brand/model?
They are different.
The older one is a ComStar 300GB, purchased new about two years ago.
The newer one is (brand unknown) a 500GB purchased new about 6 months ago.

(later)
I rotated the 4 plugs around the 5 sockets and was told that a new hardware device had been installed, Please Reboot. I did so.

On reboot I powered on the two external drives and got NO balloon .

FWIW I wandered around (Control Panel, Administrative Tools) Computer management and found that I have 13 USB Controllers.

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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby Argus » 13 Oct 2010, 22:20

I'm sure you know what your laptops need. :grin: I don't use them very often, but they do seem to need drivers for almost everything.

Also, I agree with Dave, I think I've understood that card readers, can use different ports.

You can also sort the view in the Device Manager by connection (View menu), and expand the tree, via the PCI bus etc. to see all devices connected to the different USB controllers.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby ChrisGreaves » 13 Oct 2010, 22:31

Argus wrote:You can also sort the view in the Device Manager by connection (View menu), and expand the tree, via the PCI bus etc. to see all devices connected to the different USB controllers.


This is my blank look: :blank look:
I have sorted by connection and come up with this (image below).
It seems to tell me that I do have 5 USB controllers numbered 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, and that suggests (I'm stretching back 40 years here(1)) that each USB socket has its own controller, and indeed that there is a 1-1-1 match between what I think of sockets (what I plug things into), controllers and hubs.

1.JPG



(1) Because I seem to recall that the old IBM and CDC computers had Controllers and one or more hard drives could be driven off each controller; we were told that a controller was a simple and specialized computer that only did hard disk stuff, but did it very well.
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Re: Where are my HI-SPEED USB ports? (Asus laptop)

Postby Argus » 14 Oct 2010, 05:40

ChrisGreaves wrote:It seems to tell me that I do have 5 USB controllers [...] and that suggests [...] that each USB socket has its own controller, and indeed that there is a 1-1-1 match between what I think of sockets (what I plug things into), controllers and hubs.

Yes, you have 5 USB controllers, but I'm afraid it's not exactly that simple. :sorry: It IS confusing to me as well, as we shall see.:laugh:

With the USB interface we can connect one port to a USB hub, and suddenly we have more USB ports (than we need); if it only controlled one port then the USB host controller would now control several ports via one port. You probably know this better than I do, since I rarely have the need to use external hubs. It can be one port or more per controller, and up to 127 devices, connected and controlled by one USB host controller.

Also, if you have a computer that supports USB 2 (and they have all been doing that for many years), you will find one Enhanced Host Controller (the one responsible for hi-speed, i.e. the fastest mode in USB 2) controlling all ports, if you plug in devices which need hi-speed, for example several USB memories. It doesn't matter where you plug them (as long as one hasn't a faulty port or similar). But this means that all these devices share the bandwidth, the theoretical 480 Mbit/s (60 MB/s). There are some chipsets with several Enhanced Host Controllers, to get better bandwidth if one connects several hi-speed devices, but I've never seen one.

So what does this mean; I don't know :grin: but if you connect a low bandwidth device, such as a mouse (at least they were low bandwidth in the old days), it should be controlled by one of the universal host controllers, leaving the enhanced host controller idle.

What determines how many controllers there are? I don’t know. On my XP box I have four plus one Enhanced Host Controller; and I have four external ports so one could guess: one for each of them plus one for all of them. :grin: But then I also have internal USB headers, groups of pins, connecters (what I earlier called internal ports, before I had look at the mobo manual :grin: ), and I have one of them connected to the front with 2 ports, so in total 6 USB ports and 5 controllers. I guess that these internal connectors can be seen as left over, the chip can handle them, but they didn’t want to add more external ports to the motherboard (and to give the option to use front mounted ports).

My guess about the number of controllers vs. ports is that it’s all about ensuring that there is enough bandwidth for each port, that it doesn’t share bandwidth with another port, thus in the best case one controller per port. But then along came development, and people started connecting multiple external hard drives using USB 2 :grin: and remember, in most of the cases there is only one Enhanced Host Controller, the one for USB 2, so one controller has to do all these USB 2 tasks that are so common nowadays, if I have understood things correctly. Your four plus one Enhanced controller and five ports could mean that some ports share a controller. But I don’t know. I would definitely not think that there is only one USB 2 port and four USB 1.1.
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