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I want to add a USB 3.0 port to my laptop that only has USB 2.0 and a combo eSATA USB port.

I have a Pavilion dv5-2135dx which I have found no information on what motherboard it is to look for empty pci, etc.

The best solutions I have seen are expresscards but my laptop does not have slot for that. I am not sure if I can add one and if using a USB 2.0 adapter would make any USB 3.0 device not function properly. Adapters: http://goo.gl/qvKsP, http://goo.gl/yQWsp

I know there is USB 3.0 to eSATA adapters but every single one I have seen is not reversible.

If anybody knows a good way to figure out what motherboard I have, that would greatly improve my list of options. As I may be able to use Mini-PCI-E etc.

If you guys think a new desktop would be the only way to go, then please suggest that.

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Why do you want USB 3.0? There are vey few devices for it at this stage. You might as well wait until you get a new laptop with a new chipset. –  paradroid Apr 28 '12 at 17:47
    
Makes backups to external hard drives go at less than glacial speeds for one. –  Fiasco Labs Apr 28 '12 at 17:54
    
@paradroid Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle for USB 3.0 –  MLM Apr 28 '12 at 18:46
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2 Answers

For me, USB 3.0 devices have been fully compatible with USB 2.0 computer ports once the proper drivers are installed. The USB device usually comes with the drivers on it or you download them from the manufacturer's website. USB 3.0 cords are constructed so the computer end of the cable is compatible with the contacts in a USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port just has more contacts. Everything of course transfers at USB 2.0 speed.

Laptops are the bane of your existence when you own them. Buy new with all the latest options installed and hope their firmware and implementation are not buggy if newly released.

When newer, high speed port specs get adopted, find a buddy who desperately wants a laptop, sell your old one and buy a new one with the latest high speed interfaces.

What would be a simple slot fill on a desktop case is usually impossible on a laptop unless there was some expansion slot left open for future upgrade (rarely happens or the cards quit being available 6 months before you start looking for one) and as you found, the older, possibly usable slots get removed to save weight and room and the current ports are all low speed. It gets worse as they get thinner and lighter.

If your goal is higher speed backup, then the highest speed port on it will probably be your ethernet port with NAS or another computer being the targets.

eSATA is strictly an end device connection and not intended as a multiple device data bus like USB 3.0 so it's not likely you will find an eSATA to USB 3.0 converter.

The USB to ExpressCard Adapters listed in those links will still only run at USB 2.0 speed, its not worth the translation from USB 2.0 to ExpressCard to USB 3.0. The overhead will probably deliver far less than USB 2.0 speed. It's just better to load the proper drivers and plug the USB 3.0 cable into the USB 2.0 port.

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I am wanting to run a Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle for USB 3.0. I assume it needs all that USB 3.0 has to offer as previous versions used PCIe and thunderbolt. Thanks for the reply and I will leave it unsolved for a little while in case anyone else has a solution. –  MLM Apr 28 '12 at 18:45
    
Yes, I can see why you want USB 3.0. You will need the port built in to get the full speed USB 3.0 offers. My needs were for backup to an external hard drive, Western Digital has a nice USB 3.0 expansion card that now resides in every desktop case that needs one. –  Fiasco Labs Apr 28 '12 at 19:06
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If your laptop has a mini PCI-E slot inside, supposedly they make mini PCI-E USB 3.0 adapters. Here is an example.

However I have no idea how you'd attach additional ports to the chassis - there is no standard way to do this. A quick look at the motherboard here (ebay link, only one I could find) seems to suggest that the USB ports might be connected via a cable that you could plug into the module. Also reading the service manual reveals that you might be able to use the "WWAN" slot for something else if your laptop has one (don't know if the BIOS will only allow a WWAN card in that slot though..., and can't really tell from the ebay link if the motherboard for your specific model has any PCI-E slots...)

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Thanks a bunch for finding at least an example of the mobo. Hopefully I/someone can find the specs of it to find out what I actually available. –  MLM Apr 28 '12 at 22:10
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USB ports might be connected via a cable that you could plug into the module The USB 3.0 sockets shown with that board will have to be retrofitted into the case somehow, which if the laptop had an empty peripheral bay could be a possibility. A little Dremel work and some Epoxy could make it permanent. –  Fiasco Labs Apr 29 '12 at 16:23
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