Using PCI USB2 & Firewire card

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

Hello,

I have an ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe Board. I am curious to know if there would
be a performance boost (less usage of CPU) if I did not use the on board
USB2/Firewire connectors that the optional adapters connect to and use a
Belkin PCI combo card instead(has both firewire & USB2).

Thanks,
Shane
1 answer Last reply
More about using usb2 firewire card
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Hard to be positive here, because it all depends on the actual
    implementation on the motherboard. For example, if the USB and Firewire is
    simply provided via third party chipsets, these are probably connected via
    the PCI bus anyway. And since the add-on card is also using the PCI bus, in
    the end, there's really no difference. Both will have the same level of
    performance (assuming their respective chipsets are comparable) and require
    the same level of CPU support.

    I assume you're considering this possibility because you're comparing, for
    example, the benefits of using a PCI sound card rather than on-board sound.
    But there's a difference. On-board sound solutions are typically *far* more
    CPU intensive, by nature, than USB or Firewire (e.g., decoding an audio
    stream). In contrast, these latter *interfaces* are just that, simply
    interfaces. They don't require vast CPU resources. Their biggest problem
    is saturation of the PCI bus! This is why Intel introduced CSA w/ the 875
    chipset, to bypass the PCI bus for LAN traffic, thus relieving some of that
    PCI congestion. It's very possible the integrated USB and Firewire solution
    is *superior* to a PCI solution *if* such a solution is also able to bypass
    the PCI bus. I'm not saying it does, only that the integration of
    components on the motherboard makes it more *likely* that such optimizations
    can be applied (ala CSA). Once you move to a PCI solution, you're *always*
    hampered by the PCI bus, minimally. Could the PCI device use some form of
    DMA to bypass the CPU?? Maybe, highly unlikely though, not for a simple USB
    or Firewire card, but there's no reason to believe the on-board
    implementation wouldn't so the same!

    In the end, I doubt seriously that foregoing the on-board solution for the
    PCI solution will afford any benefit here. It will likely either be the
    same or even worse. The problem for *these* interfaces is PCI bus
    congestion, NOT CPU utilization. Something like PCI Express is the solution
    to that problem, by providing more bandwidth to the PCI bus. The only real
    possibilty for better peformance (if not less CPU utilization) is if the PCI
    solution uses a better chipset. For example, the VIA USB chipset is known
    to be a mediocre performer, and one would assume VIA motherboards use it as
    an integrated solution. If you then installed a NEC PCI USB card, known to
    be a very good performer, well, in that sense, the PCI solution might be
    better. But I don't believe either solution would have much impact on the
    CPU.

    HTH

    Jim


    "no spam" <nospam@hotmail.com> wrote in message
    news:407cb6ce$0$25661$afc38c87@news.optusnet.com.au...
    > Hello,
    >
    > I have an ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe Board. I am curious to know if there would
    > be a performance boost (less usage of CPU) if I did not use the on board
    > USB2/Firewire connectors that the optional adapters connect to and use a
    > Belkin PCI combo card instead(has both firewire & USB2).
    >
    > Thanks,
    > Shane
    >
    >
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