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Summing Up

In order of preference, here are the ways to add more USB ports to your system:

Best (and sometimes cheapest):

  • Make sure all USB ports built into your system are in use
  • Connect USB header cables to any unused USB headers on the motherboard
  • Add a dock or port replicator to a notebook computer if feasible

More expensive, but adds additional ports without sacrificing an existing port:

  • Add a USB card to your computer
  • If you plan to use USB 3.0 devices, add a USB 3.0 card (it’s backwards-compatible with USB 2.0/USB 1.1 devices)

Less expensive, but sacrifices an existing port:

  • USB 2.0 self-powered hub (works with virtually all devices)
  • USB 2.0 bus-powered hub (works with low-power devices)
  • USB 1.1 bus-powered hub (works with low-speed, low-power input devices; slows down low-power USB 2.0 devices)

Use the most suitable methods for your situation to avoid the “USB Shuffle.”

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