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Thread: USB Bandwidth Question - PCMCIA card to USB 2.0

  1. #1
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    USB Bandwidth Question - PCMCIA card to USB 2.0

    Hi Guys,
    I am going down the laptop route - (Dell Insprion 5000, 500Mhz, 384Mb, 12GB) and am planning on using a USB 2.0 external hard drive (eg. 60Gb) and sound card (eg. SB MP3+).

    The problem is that my old laptop only has a 1.1 USB port.
    So I plan to have a PCMCIA card to x2 usb 2.0 port converter.

    My question is:
    1) Assuming powering the devices is not a problem (I think both device are externally powered) will there be enough bandwidth to run both devices together - read mp3 from external hdd, process it and play through sb soundcard.
    2) Am I waisting my time trying to update an old laptop to take new peripherals? I thought if I had this laptop I might as well try to use it for this project, but is it going to turn out more expensive?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Seth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Athens Greece
    Assuming that your laptop has a 32-bit PCMCIA Type II (Cardbus) interface, the available bandwidth is 132MByte/sec peak depending on what other devices use the same PCI bus(Link for more info here )

    That means that you're limited by the USB 2.0 bus bandwidth at 480Mbit/sec aka 60MByte/sec peak. This should be plenty for what you want to do but you wont exploit your hdd's full potential (somewhere at 60 - 70 MByte/sec peak).

    It's a tricky situation but I think that you can work your hdd and your sound card together with no problems. Just that your hdd will be a little slower than if it was alone on a pcmcia --> firewire interface for example.


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