Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On USB3.0 and USB-C

Acquired recently a new laptop (ultrabook) for college purposes
Noticed how light and thin it is and so few extension ports (both going together apparently)

To sum it up, 2 USB3.0 ports, one USB-C and no network port (purely wifi based, with Intel AC3165)

So, in order to add a bit more functionalities and performance, I see here 2 possibilities

1/ External - a combo USB3.0 hub + Gigabit Ethernet (based on USB-C or based on USB3.0)

After several searches on Amazon and a lot of users comments, it seems that USB-C is still in its infancy, with some compatibility issues, depending on the equipment brand and how USB-C has been implemented by the laptop manufacturer - around 15-20 % of the buyers for different USB-C solutions are complaining for compatibility issues. So finally opted for a USB3.0 solution.

N.B. Please keep in mind that whatever USB equipment you will use (USB2/3.0/C), do not forget that what you will plug will need power. So choose wisely what you will buy, depending on your needs:
1/ not too power hungry (typically a USB key) - a USB hub without external power is fine
2/ requiring some minimum amount of power (external hard disk or external dvd writer) - a USB hub - powered externally - is highly advised

By experience, an older external hard disk will require more power, an external SSD/USB key requiring a lot less. In case you connect an external hard disk via USB port and nothing is happening, 2 cases come in mind: faulty equipment and extra power needed.

2/ Internal - changing the wifi card with another model

After checking laptop specs + pictures of the inside, I found an Intel AC3165.
It's an entry level wifi card (Intel branded only) - So going for a replacement: Intel AC8265
Should be worthwile, please see a comparison between both equipments from Intel website:

On the plus side - more recent, higher max speed (867/433),
better antenna configuration (2x2 instead of 1x1)

On the minus side - void laptop warranty

N.B. What to pay attention for:
* preferably use the same brand and the same "family card"
* before changing your wifi card, pay attention to its size (for the same wifi chip, there are half size and full size cards)
* put the installation/drivers files on a USB key or -preferably- already on the C: drive
* be careful when unplugging/replugging the antenna wires

Et voilĂ  !

See you next time

1 comment:

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