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Parallel Port & USB 2 Cards

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October 12, 2002 6:29:19 AM

Hello folks.

Would you be so kind as to answer me a few questions?

Is there such thing as a "Parallel Port Card" which would add a parallel port to a motherboard which does not have one of its own? (Are they PCI, etc.?)

Do they function on all KT266A, KT333 and KT400 motherboards?

Do they work just as well as if the motherboard has a parallel port of its own?

Is there such thing as a "USB 2 Port Card" which would add a USB 2 port to a motherboard which does not have one of its own? (Are they PCI, etc.?)

Do they function on all KT266A, KT333 and KT400 motherboards?

Do they work just as well as if the motherboard has a USB 2 port of its own?

Do USB 2 ports sometimes, usually or always have USB 1 compatibility also?

Thanks much!
DuckTape
October 12, 2002 7:31:37 AM

Quote:
<i>Is there such thing as a "Parallel Port Card" which would add a parallel port to a motherboard which does not have one of its own? (Are they PCI, etc.?)</i>

Yes. Both PCI and ISA. They are usually not difficult to locate.

Quote:
<i>Do they function on all KT266A, KT333 and KT400 motherboards?</i>

I can't think of any reason why these kinds of cards would <i>not</i> function on a VIA board, regardless of the chipset. This is not exactly new technology, and a modern Windows operating system should automatically install the drivers.

Quote:
<i>Do they work just as well as if the motherboard has a parallel port of its own?</i>

Whether the mainboard already has a parallel port normally has nothing to do with "how well" an add-in card like this might function, unless there is a conflict with another internal device ... and that still is not directly attributable to the fact that the mainboard already has a port.

How well they "work" has much more to do with the device that will be using the port. Add-in cards like this are usually limited to one or two IRQ and I/O addresses, at best. If the software used for a peripheral "looks" for a device to be on a standard parallel port, with a certain IRQ & I/O address, and can't find it, because the add-in card has an IRQ address that is different, and can't be altered in the BIOS and/or Windows, the device will never be "found" and will not be able to function while connected to the card.

For example, I've found that many older scanners function quite well with add-in parallel port cards, but many printers, which require a specific address for the bi-directional communication ... these often do not. But this depends entirely on the device, it's requirements, and the software package that is used with the device. For example, I've got an old Canon printer that never had a complaint with an add-in card. I once had a HP printer that ran fine on an add-in card. But I've used an older HP scanner that absolutely would not function unless installed on the mainboard port.

This sometimes requires some experimentation, as you can see.

The cards generally come with jumpers for two IRQ and I/O addresses. They generally work just fine. Whether the device you attach will function and be correctly located while attached to the card, that remains to be seen.

Quote:
<i>Is there such thing as a "USB 2 Port Card" which would add a USB 2 port to a motherboard which does not have one of its own? (Are they PCI, etc.?)</i>

Yes, and yes.

Quote:
<i>Do they function on all KT266A, KT333 and KT400 motherboards?</i>

That's a more difficult question. These are fairly new devices, and there have been some issues with USB 1.1 controllers in the past with VIA chipsets.

As it stands, if you have WinXP, you'll need to obtain the drivers for the controller card from the card manufacturer, or install Service Pack 1. I would still prefer using the manufacturer's drivers, personally ... although that might depend on the driver date. The same can be said of Win2K, although Windows Update supposedly has a workable USB 2.0 driver. I have not tested the Windows Update driver, so I cannot offer a comment on its functionality. Service Pack 3 for Win2K contains several USB fixes, but does not include USB 2.0 drivers.

This is the link to the Win98/98SE/ME USB 2.0 V2.42L <A HREF="http://www.viaarena.com/?PageID=71" target="_new">driver package</A> for VIA chipsets.

IMHO, I would suggest using a chipset no older than the VIA Apollo P4X333 with the VT8235 South Bridge to be sure of full support for USB 2.0.

Quote:
<i>Do they work just as well as if the motherboard has a USB 2 port of its own?</i>

I can see no reason for a system that currently has support and drivers for USB 2.0 to have any difficulties with accepting any additional ports, internal or external, unless there are issues I am currently not aware of with these controllers. Personally, I would prefer an external powered USB 2.0 hub for everything, except perhaps, a joystick. Or as with the parallel ports, a device that can't be located on a generic powered hub.

Quote:
<i>Do USB 2 ports sometimes, usually or always have USB 1 compatibility also?</i>

All USB 2.0 hubs and ports are backwards-compatible with the older USB 1.1 standard and devices.

Toey

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