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Which USB 2.0 cards for old motherboards

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Reply 121 of 205, by NScaleTransitModels

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Search for Adaptec USB cards.

They have worked in every retro build that I've tried, Pentium+.
Just now, I installed a Adaptec USB2Connect AUA-2000B, NEC D720101GJ chipset, into a Socket 4 66mhz Pentium, 430LX chipset.
It works with modern USB flash drives, which makes file transfers very convenient.

Builds:

  • ECS FX-3000; 386DX-40@50; ET4000AX, ISA 1mb
  • Acer VI9; 486DLC-40; Mach32, VLB 2mb
  • Chicony CH-471A; CX486s-40; Mach32, VLB 2mb
  • Gateway 2000 P5-60; Pentium-60@66; S3 928, PCI 3mb
  • DTK PKM-0033S; AM5x86-133@160

Reply 122 of 205, by kolmio

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NScaleTransitModels wrote on 2022-01-14, 20:08:

Just now, I installed a Adaptec USB2Connect AUA-2000B, NEC D720101GJ chipset, into a Socket 4 66mhz Pentium, 430LX chipset.
It works with modern USB flash drives, which makes file transfers very convenient.

What operating system do you use?

Windows 95 | Chaintech 486SPM M102.A | AMD-X5-133ADW or Am486DX4-100 | 48MB SIMM FPM | ATI Rage 3D II+DVD | CT4100 | 8GB CF

Reply 123 of 205, by arnovdheiden

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I have an early revision socket 5 motberboard from intel (Advanced/EV Endeavour) and I tried a Via based USB card. It is recognised and installed, but when i plugged in a pen drive, windows 98 SE freezed. I used NUSB 3.3.
After that i managed to find a NEC 5 port USB 2.0 card, installed it with the official drivers, and this works perfectly and reasonably fast as well. I don't know about the IRQ's it's eating, but I don't have an issue, because the only other PCI card I have installed is the graphics card.
I think i'm somewhat lucky the card works, because this board only has only a 430FX chipset which only supports PCI 2.0

Reply 124 of 205, by stanwebber

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i use a siig 5 port (1 internal) pci card with an nec chipset as well. no issues with xp or 98se drivers. i run it in kt-133a & amd760 boards so really can't comment on backwards pci compatibility. my only complaint is that the power output from the usb ports is a little sub-par. i have some portable wd usb drives (that i know are relatively low power consumers compared to my highest drain devices) that can't get enough power to spin up reliably. i suspect the card is barely maintaining the 500mv port spec even with only 1 (rear) device plugged in.

i did find a nice 6in1 type card reader with a male usb plug to fit the front 3.5" bay so as to utilize that 5th internal port. even has a metallic silver finish to match my aluminum case. now that i reflect on it i wonder if unplugging it from the internal usb port would help my power issues at all.

Reply 125 of 205, by shaggy67

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I went with an Adaptec aua-2000b and it went well. I wanted everything internal so I desoldered the usb ports and brought them out with some ribbon cable to a connector that was a mirror of the internal usb header (the ground planes were unfriendly). Going straight to a pin header wasnt't an option due to pin spacing.

That said the issue I'm currently having is I get an unknown device found message with my thumb drives when I put an internal hub in to connect all 4 of my front panel usb ports, take the hub out and it ID's the thumb drives without issue. Almost wished I'd found a 4 or 5 port card to play with. It'd be interesting to know if anyone has had this kind of issue with one of these internal hubs before. I'm running the card on an MSI MS-5148 motherboard under Windows 98SE, USP3 and nusb36e driver. It works well enough. It'd be nice to get this hub squared and have all 4 ports but I'm willing to remove the usb 3.0 ports and fab block off plates as needed.

Reply 126 of 205, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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zapbuzz wrote on 2021-04-19, 13:05:

Puts VIA chip PCI card advertised as usb 2 discovers there was a reason for white tongue ports - fake usb2
Awaits NEC USB 2 card with black tongue usb ports - the genuine article

Both my NEC and my VIA card have white tongues.
That's not a proper way to identify USB2 cards. Googling for the chip is way better.

zapbuzz wrote on 2021-04-19, 13:05:

I was dissapointed with the eBay VIA usb2 *cough 1 cough* it worked properly but it was so slow

I can confirm this.
My VIA card (VT6212L chip) did reach the full 35MB/s on a LGA775 board. But on my Super Socket 7 (VIA MVP3 chipset) it was slowed down to 12MB/s. Also it did complain that I don't have enough memory and CrystalDiskMark crashes during the benchmark.
My NEC card (D720101GJ chip) on the other hand did only reach 25MB/s on LGA775, but 18MB/s on Super Socket 7. No complaints about memory and therefore no crash.
I would be interested in benchmarks with other chips.

NScaleTransitModels wrote on 2022-01-14, 20:08:
Search for Adaptec USB cards. […]
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Search for Adaptec USB cards.

They have worked in every retro build that I've tried, Pentium+.
Just now, I installed a Adaptec USB2Connect AUA-2000B, NEC D720101GJ chipset, into a Socket 4 66mhz Pentium, 430LX chipset.
It works with modern USB flash drives, which makes file transfers very convenient.

I wouldn't go by brand. There are Adaptec cards which use other chips. Have a look at the chip instead.
The card you mentioned is good, indeed.

RetroGamer4Ever wrote on 2021-12-20, 17:30:

The NEC chips are very hard to find these days and I only have a single unit in my pile of PCI cards, though I keep an eye out for any I come across.

No they aren't.
Don't search for "NEC USB". Try "USB card" or "USB PCI" instead and have a look at the photos.
There's an US seller on Ebay which has 30 Adaptec AUA-2000B with NEC chip in stock for $6.89. Brandnew. One sells AUA-2000C for the same price and has more than 10 in stock. Another seller has AUA-4000B (4 ports) for $9.39. Also >10 in stock.
A German seller has >10 AUA-4000C in stock for 9.99€, but only ships to Germany. Finding cards with 2 ports is a bit more difficult here in Krautland, but I still managed to find 4 of them in used condition for less than 5 bucks.

Reply 127 of 205, by schlang

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slightly offtopic: I avoided the entire USB compatibility mess by adding simple ethernet NICs to my retro PCs so they can simply copy everything they need at any given time from my main PC which acts as a network server

PC#1: K6-III+ 400 | 512MB | Geforce4 | Voodoo1 | SB Live | AWE64 | GUS PNP Pro
PC#2: 486DX2-66 | 64MB | Riva128 | AWE64 | GUS PNP | PAS16
PC#3: 386DX-40 | 32MB | CL-GD5434 | SB Pro | GUS MAX | PAS16

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Reply 129 of 205, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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Today the 3rd NEC card arrived.
D720101F1 > D720101GJ > D720100AS1
D720101F1 did almost reach 20MB/s on my Super Socket 7 system (DFI K6XV3+/66 with VIA MVP3 chipset + K6-III+ @ 550MHz).

Also tested an ALi chipset, but that one did only reach 12MB/s on a modern system, so I didn't even try it on SS7.

Reply 130 of 205, by Sphere478

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RaiderOfLostVoodoo wrote on 2022-03-21, 08:20:
Today the 3rd NEC card arrived. D720101F1 > D720101GJ > D720100AS1 D720101F1 did almost reach 20MB/s on my Super Socket 7 system […]
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Today the 3rd NEC card arrived.
D720101F1 > D720101GJ > D720100AS1
D720101F1 did almost reach 20MB/s on my Super Socket 7 system (DFI K6XV3+/66 with VIA MVP3 chipset + K6-III+ @ 550MHz).

Also tested an ALi chipset, but that one did only reach 12MB/s on a modern system, so I didn't even try it on SS7.

Check 3dmark, make sure having it in there didn’t drop your score (some of these cards will do that)

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Reply 131 of 205, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-21, 10:40:

Check 3dmark, make sure having it in there didn’t drop your score (some of these cards will do that)

Good idea.
There was indeed a performance drop. I did repeat the test, to be sure and noticed that it decreased even further. Turned out, that it was just the GPU heating up. After shutting the PC down to let it cool down, results normalized. Didn't matter which card I did use, results were always the same as without USB card installed.
But I noticed that having an USB stick plugged in did decrease my performance by 20%! So always unplug your stick after you have copied the data. Might not make much of a difference on modern systems, but on old systems it certainly does.

Here are the benchmark results for the different chips.

NED D720101F1:

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NEC D720101GJ:

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NEC D720100AS1:

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D720101F1 and D720101GJ are pretty close. I think I had the K6-III+ clocked at 400MHz when I got the result of 18MB/s with the GJ chip.
I assume internally they're pretty much the same. Difference is just F1 is BGA while GJ has legs.
There is another NEC chip called D720100AGM. I think it's the non-BGA version of D720100AS1 and should perform about the same. I did reach 22MB/s with AS1 on a fairly modern system (3GHz Core2Duo). Can someone who has the AGM chip do some benchmarking to confirm this?

Would also be interesting to see how different cards with the same chip perform on the same system. I have two F1 cards, but they're identical and therefore perform identical.
Does anyone have two NEC cards with same chip but different layout?

Oh and by the way:
I noticed that all USB cards have 3 IRQ entries, no matter how many ports. If there are enough free IRQs available, they grab up to 3 of them.

Reply 132 of 205, by stanwebber

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i switched from an amd761 + hpt37x to a kt133a + hpt37x board with the same nec 5port card. no conflicts to speak of with the amd761. alternately, the onboard raid and onboard ide stopped working due to usb resource conflicts on the kt133a board. i moved the usb card from pci slot 4 to 5 and reserved irq 14 for legacy isa and everything works great now.

yeah, the nec card does grab 3 irqs no matter what. the onboard usb 1.0 grabs one more.

Reply 134 of 205, by stanwebber

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my nec usb 2.0 transfer speeds top out at around 14mb/s (windows or linux). i consider my system fairly modern in terms of pci revision, powered by an athlon xp 2100. are there any tricks to getting the expected 25-30mb/s rate? the bottleneck is not the usb devices themselves.

Reply 137 of 205, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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stanwebber wrote on 2022-04-09, 04:22:

my card has a generically marked nec chipset. is there more than 1 revision in use? if so, i'd say mine is 1 of the earlier ones since i've had it for well over a decade.

Your question was answered right on this page of this thread.
There are D720101F1/D720101GJ and D720100AS1/D720100AGM.
The D720101 ones are faster.

stanwebber wrote on 2022-04-06, 14:43:

are there any tricks to getting the expected 25-30mb/s rate?

Try a card with VIA VT6212(L). These can max out at 35MB/s.
Athlon XP should be fast enough to handle them. With early PCI systems you're better off with NEC, because VIA chips rely too much on CPU speed.

Kahenraz wrote on 2022-04-06, 18:23:

There may also be advantages in using a VIA controller with a VIA chipset, but I can't confirm this.

Na, has nothing to do with chipset. VIA VT6212 on a VIA MVP3 chipset did suck, as I said before. Socket 7 is too slow for VT6212.

Reply 138 of 205, by DonutKing

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I bought a VT6212L based card off aliexpress.com- the cheapest one I could find.

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It didn't work in my pentium MMX system. It wouldn't boot with the card installed.

I determined that the card requires 3.3V but my socket 7 motherboard only has 5V PCI slots.

After a bit of effort I managed to get it to work.

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Here's what I ended up doing:

C15: add 1000uf 6.3V cap
C11: add 10uf 6.3V cap
C14: add 10uf 6.3V cap
U2: add 3.3V regulator NCP1117ST33T3G
Cut trace from edge connector pins 25 and 54 on the component side; and pin 53 on the solder side. (This stops feeding 3.3V back into the motherboard; other 3.3V pins aren't connected)
Run a wire from 3.3V output of regulator to anode (positive) side of D3 - this diode drops the 3.3V down to 2.5V for certain functions of the controller chip.
Run a wire from 3.3V output of regulator to bottom of FB2.
(I used the empty pads for FB1 to run these wires but you could tap them straight off the top of the regulator, whatever is easier.)
Also the board is ROHS so you need to use lead-free solder.

I also found that performance dropped significantly with a USB mass storage device plugged in, but after removing it performance returned to normal.

It would probably have been cheaper and faster to just buy another USB card instead of trying to get this one working, but wanted to share my findings in case they would be useful for anyone else.

If you are squeamish, don't prod the beach rubble.

Reply 139 of 205, by schlang

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I have no idea how that works but it sounds awesome

PC#1: K6-III+ 400 | 512MB | Geforce4 | Voodoo1 | SB Live | AWE64 | GUS PNP Pro
PC#2: 486DX2-66 | 64MB | Riva128 | AWE64 | GUS PNP | PAS16
PC#3: 386DX-40 | 32MB | CL-GD5434 | SB Pro | GUS MAX | PAS16

Think you know your games music? Show us: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=37532