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What ports does your PC have?
by John Anthony

Ports are pathways that connect your PC to external devices. Up until recently they were always located at the back of the PC. They are now often found on the front of it as well.

USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become one of the most popular ports found on a PC. All newer PCs have at least 2 USB ports.
Printers, scanners, and many other peripheral products have USB ports which makes it very easy to connect them to your PC.

USB is very user friendly and supports what is called Plug'n'Play. This means that when you connect a device to your PC with USB, it is automatically detected and set up without your intervention. In some cases, you may have to install a device driver provided by the manufacturer on a CD or on their web site.

USB has evolved over the years.
USB 3.1 is the latest release and moves serial data at 10GB/sec.
USB 2.0 runs at 480Mbps.
USB 1.1, the original release, runs at two speeds: low speed 1.2Mb/s and full speed at 12Mb/s.

Firewire is another type of serial port developed primarily by Apple. Initially the royalties and higher cost hardware, which have since been eliminated, prevented Firewire from displacing USB in low-end mass-market computer peripherals, where product cost is a major consideration.

Flash Card
Many PCs provide Memory Card ports that allow reading and writing of flash cards.

Flash cards were first offered in a number of form factors:
Secure Digital(SD), MIcro SD, Compact Flash and Memory Stick.

Most of these have been have been eclipsed by what is commonly called a thumb-drive.
A thumb-drive is a flash memory that plugs into any USB port. It about the size of a small lighter and is very easy to use and carry.

Sound Ports
All production PCs have a headphone port and a speaker port. Some may also have a line-in port as well.

Legacy data ports
Most early PCs had parallel, serial or game ports. The serial and parallel port are no longer offered in new PCs.

Buy peripheral products that use a USB port because every PC now produced has at least 2 USB ports on it.
Smart phones, cameras and other modern devices have a micro USB port which can connect to the standard USB with a cable provided with the device.

If you want to connect more than two USB devices to your PC, where would the third one plug in?
The solution is provided by a device called a USB Hub. It plugs into one of the PC's USB ports and allows from 4 to 8 USB devices to plug into it. The ability to quickly scale up and connect to multiple devices combined with the fact that almost every peripheral has one makes USB the port of choice.

If you have devices that use flash cards and your PC does not have an integrated memory card reader, you can connect an external flash card adapter to your PC through the ubiquitous USB port!


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