home.gif button
editorial.gif button
operations.gif button
search.gif button
technology.gif button
projects.gif button
site map.gif button
archive.gif button
search.gif button

BuildOrBuy Group Network
www.buildorbuy.org | www.buildorbuy.net ]

BuildOrBuy News
Comparing USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 - The Nitty Gritty:

From Nick Brown:

"I'm looking around Christmas time at giving gifts of things like scanners, memory readers, etc., all of which have USB connections. For a while there were only 1.1 connections on devices and 1.1 hubs, etc. Now there are both. The question I have is:

  1. Question - USB Scanner:
    1. If I give someone a USB 2.0 Scanner, am I going to force him to upgrade a machine that's 2 years old to be able to use it or can I simply buy an adapter cable?
    2. Answer: Not a Cable. If they have a USB 1.1 port, they can use the USB 2.0 Scanner @ USB 1.1 speeds. Or possibly a USB 2.0 PCI Card + Upgrade to Win2000 or WinXP for USB 2.0 speeds. If they have Win98, they can still enjoy USB 2.0 @ USB 1.1 Speeds. Currently even USB 2.0 Scanners do not fully utilize the USB 2.0 speed.

      According to www.formfactors.org, Front Panel I/O: "The USB 2.0 connector is the same as USB 1.1 connector. The USB 2.0 specification defines a new high-speed transfer rate of 480 Mb/sec., a 40x increase from the 1.1 specification."


    3. As for USB 2.0 External HD's, we have not tested one yet and therefore do not know for sure. They would probably come closer to appreciating a USB 2.0 connection than current USB 2.0 Scanners. In time, that too will change as USB 2.0 Devices become plentiful. Right now, Vendors appear to be able to minimize the obsolescence effect of new Technology as we grow into USB 2.0 from USB 1.1.
  2. Question - USB Ports Full:
    1. If all the user's USB 1.1 Ports are filled and he decides to put in a USB hub, should he buy a USB 2.0 hub and then use the above adapter cable to plug into a 1.1 port on the computer?
    2. Answer: That's suppose to be the beauty of USB Connectivity - USB 2.0 maintains backwards compatibility with USB 1.1 as far as the interface for Plug-N-Play Devices. Transfer Rates (Throughput) will only be as fast as the slowest Device. Very soon, USB 2.0 will be the only USB Devices available for purchase. So anything you buy should be geared towards the newer and faster spec as long as it's affordable - And ROI (Return On Investment) can be justified.
  3. Question - USB Upgrade:
    1. I understand that eventually we will all have to upgrade to USB 2.0, but the question is can we get by, by resorting to the above strategies until we are ready to upgrade?
    2. Answer: Yes! The O/S may become the limiting factor. The other limiting factor will be determined by the age of the PC. If it can run Win98, expect USB 1.1 performance. If the User has a PC capable of running Win2000 or WinXP, they can then take full advantage of USB 2.0 Speeds.

      According to Microsoft, USB 2.0 support will only be available for Win2000 & WinXP flavors. "Microsoft will not provide USB 2.0 support for the Windows 9x platform or Windows NT 4.0."

      With that said, since this is a part of the WDM Driver Model which is also supported on Win98SE & WinMe, USB 2.0 support should also work. Anyone tried it yet and how will you know your Device actually works @ USB 2.0 Speeds? Feeling Lucky?

      See: USB 2.0 and Windows.

We have addressed this @ our BuildOrBuy Meetings and we will continue to do so as needed. GB

Windows Help

Copyright 1992, 1994, 1995-97, 2000-2001, BuildOrBuy Group Network News!
Web Development, Gill Boyd & Team - Posted 12/07/2002; Updated 03/23/2008