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Swap front USB2.0 for 3.0?

Last response: in Components
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May 8, 2012 4:56:33 AM

I'm researching components for a new build, and have found some cases that I'm considering, but some still only have USB 2.0 on the front. Is it possible to swap those front USB 2.0 plugs for USB 3.0 plugs after purchasing the case? If so, how much does something like that cost? If its not really cheap, its probably not worth the effort vs spending a little more on the case to get one with USB 3.0.

More about : swap front usb2

a b ) Power supply
May 8, 2012 5:06:56 AM

I don't know of any kits that allow you to do that for the front panel, brackets for the back yes, also brackets that fit in the 3.5" drive bay, but nothing built in to the case itself.
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May 8, 2012 5:12:35 AM

I just got an MSI Nighhawk. It was on sale with a rebate so 40 out the door. It has usb 2 and usb 3 on front panel as well as muti card reader. Good deal for that price.
Lots of fans and leds.
The MB I am using has usb 3 on board, but no header for me to hook up the front one.
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May 8, 2012 1:38:07 PM

Ok, sounds like I should stick with getting a case with built in USB3.0 front ports, or plan to add a 3.5" bracket then.

Megaman - you mention that your motherboard has USB 3.0 onboard but no header to hook up the front ports. I'm new to computer building, so I wasn;t aware tehre was a difference. All the motherboards I've been looking at say they have onboard USB 3.0, but I don;t remember seeing anythign specifically saying USB 3.0 header. How do I know if it has a header? And what is the difference between that and jsut haveing onboard USB 3.0?
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May 8, 2012 2:04:51 PM

When you get a case, many of them have audio, USB, card reader, power, reset, and stuff on front. Some have firewire 1394.
Each item has cables to plug into motherboard. A header in on board plastic connector for these things to plug into. Audio header does not have same pins as USB so there is some protection from plugging in the wrong place, they are keyed. The back panel MB USB is wired in the MB to shield area and there is no connector inside. USB headers have two channels per conncetor and MB cables are keyed to fit, usually taking both channels but sometimes only one leaving one open.
I got an Asus P8Z68 V LX and it has USB 3.0 on rear, but no plastic connector on MB. When I got it I did not have case yet so forgot to check availabilty of header. Specs on MB tell how many USB 3.o are available on board. Now case front USB 3.0 is not active as MB connector is inside case and a different connector than rear which is standard USB connector. Which MB will you choose? You can check online for header availabiltiy.
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Best solution

a b ) Power supply
May 8, 2012 6:13:47 PM

yes you can do it

but it depends on the case whether they have an io upgrade kit available

i upgraded my silverstone raven rv02 io ports to usb 3.0

only cost £9 for the io ports and cables to connect to the motherboard--including the usb 3.0 to mother board connector
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May 8, 2012 6:56:55 PM

MegaMan1 said:
When you get a case, many of them have audio, USB, card reader, power, reset, and stuff on front. Some have firewire 1394.
Each item has cables to plug into motherboard. A header in on board plastic connector for these things to plug into. Audio header does not have same pins as USB so there is some protection from plugging in the wrong place, they are keyed. The back panel MB USB is wired in the MB to shield area and there is no connector inside. USB headers have two channels per conncetor and MB cables are keyed to fit, usually taking both channels but sometimes only one leaving one open.
I got an Asus P8Z68 V LX and it has USB 3.0 on rear, but no plastic connector on MB. When I got it I did not have case yet so forgot to check availabilty of header. Specs on MB tell how many USB 3.o are available on board. Now case front USB 3.0 is not active as MB connector is inside case and a different connector than rear which is standard USB connector. Which MB will you choose? You can check online for header availabiltiy.


I guess I'm still a little confused. What is the point of the onboard USB connectors then if the case front USB connectors can't be plugged into them?

I haven't decided on components yet, but I think some of my top MB candidates are:

ASRock Z77 Extreme4 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157293
GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128546
GIGABYTE GA-Z68XP-UD3 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128512
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May 8, 2012 6:58:05 PM

mcnumpty23 said:
yes you can do it

but it depends on the case whether they have an io upgrade kit available

i upgraded my silverstone raven rv02 io ports to usb 3.0

only cost £9 for the io ports and cables to connect to the motherboard--including the usb 3.0 to mother board connector



Thanks for the info. I'll have to look into the upgrade kits.
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May 8, 2012 9:57:43 PM

Look at the photo of a MB of your choice magnified. Use the view + mag feature. See the connectors lined up on end of board opposite cpu or rear edge(away for rear of comp.) Shoud say middle edge maybe. . Read the labels. Your case has cables to plug into them. You could route a standard USB cable from the rear pannel into the case and snake it up front, but , you could not connect it to the front panel without an adapter. Internal cables are not the same as external. At 200$ lots of MB have more USB 3.0 headers for the front or an expansion slot in the rear. Cheap boards dont have USB 3.0. In between some boards have two or so USB 3.0 on the rear of MB with audio and video etc. oupts in the shield area. Your case has a big rectangular hole for the shield which comes with MB to fill area around rear connectors and make it pretty. Withl a middle priced Board you simply have to route your USB 3.0 cable from the device to the rear panel of your computer. Hope this helps.
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May 8, 2012 10:04:15 PM

PS. Some boards have USB2 and 3 outputs with fast charge or more power to charge you portable devices. Usually you can enable or disable the fast charge in BIOS when you set up your board. Some have ESATA to provide power to external SATA devices.
These new boards are complicated. That is why you are asking questions. Your MB will come with a manual that is supposed to help you through this but by the time you get your manual , it may be too late to correct an oversite.
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May 8, 2012 10:17:00 PM

For instance: This MB GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128546

Read the specs. It has 6 USB 3.0 connectors which is a lot. But
Under other connectors: or inside the case connectors,

1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x mSATA connector
1 x CPU fan header
3 x system fan headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x serial port header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

and no mention of an USB 3.0 header as all 6 are on rear of board. See photo or rear.
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May 8, 2012 10:41:18 PM

None of your choices (MB) seem to have a USB 3.0 Header.
Here is what I have. Not recommending it, I am just familiar with it.
ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 LGA 1155 Intel Z68
Internal I/O Connectors: Onboard USB
2 x USB 3.0 + 6 x USB 2.0
Other Connectors:
2 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin, 1 x 3 -pin)
2 x Power Fan connector(s) (3 -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x TPU switch(es)
1 x EPU switch(es)

The internal connectors are not the ones on rear shield.
More expensive boards have more options. You have to choose what you need and want to pay for.
There may be a $70 board with a USB 3.0 header. I don/t know about it.
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May 9, 2012 12:34:34 AM

MegaMan1 said:
For instance: This MB GIGABYTE GA-Z77X-D3H http://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod [...] 6813128546

Read the specs. It has 6 USB 3.0 connectors which is a lot. But
Under other connectors: or inside the case connectors,

1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x mSATA connector
1 x CPU fan header
3 x system fan headers
1 x front panel header
1 x front panel audio header
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x serial port header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header

and no mention of an USB 3.0 header as all 6 are on rear of board. See photo or rear.



Actually, I just checked the Gigabyte website. It does have USB headers:
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4144#sp

1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers

So one header supports two USB channels, correct? So this would work for a case that has 2 front USB 3.0 plugs?

The other two I linked also have USB 3.0 headers. Good to know. I didn't realize I had to check for that, or that Newegg doesn't have them listed even though the manufacturer does.
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May 9, 2012 2:39:50 AM

One header supports 2 channels. I see it now behind last PCI slot on GA-Z77X-D3H.
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May 16, 2012 3:46:32 AM

Best answer selected by csebasti.
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