PC USB Trick - Back vs Front

This simple little trick helps a few out there who have been struggling with their USB devices.

By Daavpuke, Posted 24 Mar 2012

I love PCs. Even though this setup is now over 6 years old and has been falling apart at the seams for over a year, I still manage to find new things every so often. Whether it’s new features I was unaware of, small tweaks I gather from research or even just new capabilities I didn’t foresee possible before; I’ve learned so much by being a PC owner. One could not say the same for consoles or many other appliances, as those usually stay quite similar in experience. I’d like to share my latest trick with you all. It’s nothing big, but it amazed me just how something so simple can make a difference.

USB Trick - Back vs Front - NoobFeed Feature

The last shot of my running workspace, before all broke down at once.

For a year now, I’ve been getting issues with several USB appliances. Whether they were underperforming or malfunctioning, there was never a consistent reason for the defects. Many times I just thought it’d be a temporary problem with my PC or operating system, but it ultimately seemed to be nothing of the sort. Today, I once more tried to connect an underperforming device to my rig. At first, I just popped in the USB adapter on the front of my case and nothing new happened: It still didn’t want to function as expected. This is strange, as the device in question performs fine on other computers.

This time though, I didn’t sink down to lethargy. I pressed on and just to see if my USB port wasn’t broken (and I know it isn’t), I plugged in the same device into the back of my PC case where more USB ports sit. To my surprise, my auxiliary item now appeared to work. I’m writing this several hours later after testing vigorously to see if this was a fluke or not: It isn’t. There’s a difference between plugging your devices in the front or back port of most computers.

After some research, I found out that some setups have slight differences in power between the front and back, due to a number of factors. I realize I could’ve researched earlier, but similar queries never came up with anything. But now it seems that there are many similar tales of people with a wide array of similar issues. So let me reiterate this small trick:

TIP: Plug your important USB devices in the back ports of your desktop.

I realize that not everyone will want to hear a boring self-discovery story, so I highlighted this tale’s most important phrase to glance over immediately. Now that’s educational! Myself, I now use my wireless mouse tablet and my printer as the base for my back ports, as those would require the most power to function properly. Anything else like flash drives and whatnot are too troublesome or too temporary a unit to give importance to. You should find out which USB devices you use most and/or which you’d like to have at optimal performance at all times. Perhaps you enjoy games through a USB headset. Perhaps you record footage with a USB capture card. There are several items that require the highest possible performance to wield the best results. I thought I’d pay it forward and see if anyone else could be helped with this neat quirk I just found out.

USB Trick - Back vs Front - NoobFeed Feature

Of course, this doesn’t apply to just any PC. Even though my PC has the same 2.0 ports in all four slots, not all computers have a difference in power, but it doesn’t hurt to find out. Additionally, laptops usually have only a few USB ports that connect to the same areas. But I’m a PC gamer by heart and I need a desktop PC for PC gaming. Nothing else would do.

I hope this simple little trick helps a few out there who have been struggling with their USB devices. If not, feel free to add a few of your own tales in the comment section.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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  • avatar RON

    Probably a coincident for you. It doesn't really make any difference if you plug your USB either in front or at the back ports. It could be your PC which had problems at the front ones, or had rusts as you've stated it's being an old one. But I do agree that most USB devices don’t perform 100% without any proper explanation. In this case, you only get to blame the manufacturers. During my time working for a memory manufacture, I’ve learned that to stay alive in the competition; every single part of any USB device is being moded, specially the chip which gets powered up thorough the ports (front or back). These modifications work sometime in a good way, and sometime in bad. But the motherboard manufacturers aren’t really informed about these modifications, as they seem to stick to their usual port building. Thus the moded products in the market cause trouble and we end up blaming the PC ports. However, most recognized USB manufactures will always provide support tools in their websites; and it’s wise to use them whenever any trouble is felt. My advice for those buying USB devices, read user reviews, not manufacture’s reviews. 

    Posted Mar 25, 2012

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Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, WII, 3DS, Vita, Mobile
Publisher(s): NoobFeed
Developer(s): NoobFeed Editors
Genres: Artcile
Themes: Feature, Editorial, Interviews, Opinion Pieces
Release Date: 2009-02-14

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