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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking at adding an external DVD/RW drive to my present computer (Dell--vintage 1997) which has a USB port. The ad states that it needs a USB 2.0 port. Is this referring to a 2nd generation (harware) port itself (different than my USB port from 1997), or is this referring to the software for the USB port? In addition, I am running Windows 2000 Pro now, but still have the original 266 Mhz (pentium II) processor. Would I have problems trying to add on an external DVD/RW drive to my present system?
Thanks for any advice.
 

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USB 2.0 is a new standard for USB that is not upgradable via software (it is different in the firmware somewhere). The USB port on your Dell is likely not 2.0. You can add a USB 2.0 PCI card however (lots on the market now...)
 

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I recently added a SIIG 5-port USB 2.0 PCI card to my PC, and it was a breeze (although this was in Windows XP, which has the appropriate drivers built in). USB 2.0 is fully backward compatible; in other words, USB 2.0 ports can support USB 1.1 devices, and most USB 2.0 devices can be connected to USB 1.1 ports, although in both cases the connection will be at the lower USB 1.1 speed.

For an external drive, I would get the USB 2.0 PCI card, since speed will be important.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the advice. I will look into a PCI card. Also, are there
DVD/RW drives that are scsi compatible as opposed to using a USB port? I already have a scsi card which connects to an external CD/RW drive and scanner. The scsi card allow up to 7 connections, and this maybe a way to add a DVD/RW drive, but I am just not familiar w/ DVD/RW drives yet. Thanks again for the info.
 

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A word of caution on SCSI cards. Cards that are optimized for scanners might not be the best thing for for a DVD drive. But it would depend on the SCSI card. The other thing is that a SCSI DVD RW would probably cost 2-3 times as much as a USB compatible one. Just take a look at SCSI hard drives compared to IDE drives. There're better, but you need a high volume server to notice a difference. On your base PC, I doubt that you could tell the difference.
 

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I'd stick with the USB 2.0. You may want to look for a combo card that has both USB and Firewire ports. Since you're getting the card, why not get both of the new fast standards?

SCSI is fickle when it comes to old cards and new appliances. Especially when it comes to cables and connectors. You can spend more on cable adapters than on the card.

The only problem with USB is that there are no dos drivers so you can't really do an emergency recovery from DOS recovery disks. SCSI has DOS drivers.
 

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JimH said:
Thanks for the advice. I will look into a PCI card. Also, are there
DVD/RW drives that are scsi compatible as opposed to using a USB port? I already have a scsi card which connects to an external CD/RW drive and scanner. The scsi card allow up to 7 connections, and this maybe a way to add a DVD/RW drive, but I am just not familiar w/ DVD/RW drives yet. Thanks again for the info.
Since you have a couple of SCSI devices already, you probably already know adding a device is either:
  • a snap
  • serious voodoo
It sounds like you'd spend more money, and possibly more time, going the SCSI route.

Let us know how you go!
 

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I did a bunch of research on this. I also have W2K, but was looking to kill 2 birds with one card slot.

I got a digital video camera and needed Firewire (ieee 1394) - OHCI Compliant - and wanted to get usb2 as well in case I wanted to add an external hard drive or superfast wireless network card.

This card is inexpensive, includes several external plugs for each format, and has one of each internal plug (which could allow you to add a devce in a drive bay and then plug into either one of the adapters inside the CPU.

Finally, for an external hard drive, I think firewire is still faster than usb2 (I could be wrong tho).

I've had no problems installing ir or using it.

http://store.yahoo.com/akidacomputer/pci21por1321.html

good luck.
 

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The combo cards certainly make sense. While USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) has a higher theoretical speed compared with that of FireWire (400Mbps), some tests (x-bit labs, techtv) have shown that external hard drives can be faster with FireWire. That said, USB 2.0 still blows away USB 1.1 (which is rated at about 12 Mbps).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the advice. In further research of the various DVD-RW drives, it appears that I need a faster processor. The minimum stated as needed ranges from 400 mhz - 800 Mhz (Pent. III). My current processor is a Pent. II (266 Mhz). Also, if I used a scsi model, I would need to upgrade my scsi card to a more recent standard. It seems the use of a USB 2.0 card/port is sure the way to more easily upgrade to this hardware as you folks point out. New motherboards (Pent. IV, etc. based upgrades) are fairly cheap now (< $ 150), and some now have the USB 2.0 included. I will look into that vs. using my current Pent. II processer since that does not meet the standards needed for adding on a DVD - RW.
 
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