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Part: II Essential Hardware Upgrades > Ports Ahoy: Upgrading System Inputs

Chapter 3. Ports Ahoy: Upgrading System Inputs


  • What ports can you add?

  • Buying a port expansion card

  • Adding a new port card

  • Adding an external USB hub

  • Adding ports to a portable PC

Here is an indisputable reason to upgrade your computer system: you buy a new peripheral, and have no free ports to connect it to. It happens, and it happens a lot. Let's say you want to add a second printer to your system (like a color photo printer; they're quite popular these days). Most printers only come with a single parallel port, to which you probably have your existing printer connected. So when you go to plug in your new printer, you're out of luck.

The answer, of course, is to add a second parallel port to your system. (Another solution is to buy a USB printer and connect to a free USB port; let's not ignore easy fixes!)

Or maybe you've become enamored of USB devices, and completely filled all of your system's USB connections. Buy one more USB-compatible peripheral, and then what do you do? Here you have a choice; you can increase the number of connections available by adding an external USB hub, or you can add an extra USB card to your system.

Here's another one. You want to connect your new digital video camcorder to your PC to edit your home movies. But your camcorder connects via FireWire, and your PC doesn't have a FireWire connector. The solution? Add a FireWire port to your system unit.

This chapter shows you how to add extra ports to your computer system. Some of these upgrades are external (like the USB hub) and some require opening up your PC's case. Fortunately, they're all relatively easy procedures.

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