Sunday, April 10, 2016

Pimp My Quicksilver: Part V: PCI USB 2.0

With the CPU upgrade out of the way, I decided to step back and tackle a smaller upgrade.  I purchased a Syba SD-NECU2-5E1I 6-Port USB 2.0 PCI Card with NEC chipset, which as many of you may know are known to generally work really well with G4 and G5 PowerMacs running OS X. It cost me a whopping $6.29.

My particular 2002 Quicksilver only comes with 2 available USB 1.1 ports which happen to be on the backside. These 2 ports are about enough for just a keyboard and mouse. (Aside: Apple claims these were dual channel USB ports and with the 2 ports available on the included keyboard gave you a total of 4).  Of course you could probably connect an externally powered hub, but not only would you still be limited to the slow speeds (which would in fact be slower if all devices on the hub saturated the available bandwidth which had a theoretical maximum of 12 Mbits/s), but you would then likely end up dealing with other power-related connection issues from using a hub.

So for a couple of dollars I decided to make the jump to add some additional USB ports that were 2.0 to add additional connectivity choices in the future for such devices as flash drives, USB Bluetooth, external hard drives, charging my mobile devices, etc.  As I mentioned, the card I purchased had a total of 6 USB ports. There are 5 ports available on the outside and one port only available internally.  More on that in a moment. If 6 ports is too much for you, there are also 2 and 5 port variations available as well.

Installation was simple enough and a quick check from within both Debian and OS X gave me signs that the new card was recognized properly (I was not too worried).

Running lspci -v | grep NEC shows us the card is available and working in Debian.
0001:10:12.2 USB controller: NEC Corporation uPD72010x USB 2.0 Controller (rev 04) (prog-if 20 [EHCI])
    Subsystem: NEC Corporation uPD72010x USB 2.0 Controller
    Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 16, IRQ 52
    Memory at 80080000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=256]
    Capabilities: <access denied>
    Kernel driver in use: ehci-pci

Currently, the only 2 devices I have planned to plug into these newly available USB ports are a D-Link Bluetooth 2.0 USB adapter and a 1 TB Seagate External HD for backups. Here is a shot of the installed card.

As you can see from the photo, the 5th outside USB port on the end is nearly cut off from being accessible, but I am able to safely plug in most cables and devices without any issues.  Honestly, I would not have been too upset if I could not, as again, there would have still been 5 other USB ports available. I tested the ports out with an external HD, flash drive, keyboard, and mouse without any issues in either Debian or OS X Leopard.  My plan is to install the bluetooth adapter in the internal port as it is not a device i would need to be add/remove on a regularly frequent basis.

Wells that is all I am going to cover with this one. Kind of boring, but definitely a useful and worthwhile upgrade for any G4 PowerMac in my opinion.  If you would like to know about anything else regarding this upgrade, feel free to drop me a comment or shoot me an email. On a side note, each of the 4 PCI slots on this QS has a dedicated bus bandwidth of 33 MHz and is 64-bit, so I still have 3 left to fill at this point!

On the upgrade purchasing front, I have picked up a 430W Thermaltake TW2 Power Supply (may go higher Wattage in the future), a 20-24 pin Startech ATX adapter for the upgraded power supply connectivity, a couple of shorter 18mm blue SATA cables, a NF-F12 120mm Noctua Fan (read great things about these all over the web), and a Sonnet Tempo PCI Firewire card, which I will be covering next.  I  contacted the individual who used to make the QS ATX adapters, but he no longer has any available and is not interested in making any more unfortunately. That means I will be using the instructions on this page to try and create one myself.  No small feat, but I will try to make the most of it and use it as a needed learning opportunity.