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My new mobo has USB 2 but the old case has USB 1.1 sockets. At least, that's what the software tells me. Each time I plug in my stick, I'm reminded that the device will work quicker if I use USB 2. I know some recommend a new USB PCI card but I want to connect through the casing front sockets (to the mobo). If there's a small replacement USB PCB with connectors available, I can't find it. I'm toying with the thought that it's the actual socket which announces what version will run. The Wikipedia entry for USB is too difficult for me but it does state some impedance values. I remember Impedance from school and I remember also that was my last memory before I gave up learning. Maplin sells both versions (strangely, for the same price) and they do look different. So I'm thinking of changing the socket on the board. Any ideas?

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From your description, is sounds like the (memory?) stick may be a 1.1 device. – Les Oct 14 '09 at 15:17

Here's that Wikipedia link; the interesting bit is in the Signaling section. As others have noted, there is no difference in the connectors.

Now, the problem you're having could be due to a few things; possible corrosion on the old connectors seems most likely, though cheap wiring between the case's connectors and the motherboard could be picking up interference and not allowing the USB2 handshake to succeed. If you're up for the case modding, replacing the case's front sockets and interior cabling should fix both possibilities.

The only other potential source of the problem (that I can think of) is that the front sockets may be part of a small PCB which includes a USB 1.1 controller. If that's the case you should be able to remove it without much trouble, and install USB sockets that wire directly to the motherboard.

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ALL USB 1.1 connectors and full-speed cables are capable of connecting to, and running at, USB 2.0 specifications.

In other words, you are only limited by the USB controller physically mounted either on your motherboard, or in a peripheral slot.

So, yes, those ports on the front of your case WILL convert to USB 2.0 ports as long as they are connected to a USB 2.0 controller.

To make the best possible match, ensure that you have proper cables for your task:

full-speed cables = 12Mb/s

low-speed cable = 1.5Mb/s

I hope this helped.

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Remember that High Speed ~= 480Mb/s. – Josh K Oct 14 '09 at 13:48

What sort of case do you have? Most cases that I've seen that have front USB ports connect them to the motherboard via a cable. Do you have some sort of case where the front ports are hardwired to your motherboard?

USB functionality is provided by a controller chip of some sort. There is no physical difference between USB 1.1 and 2.0 sockets that I've ever encountered.

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