Gigabyte has the power of
USB, as it recently demonstrated the usefulness of triple-AMP'd USB ports - both USB 2 and 3 - as well as specific pin-outs that will enable you to charge your phone, iPod or flash new iPad even while your PC is asleep.
The iPad is particularly tricky to power because it can draw more than the 500mA of power standard USB 2 ports provide - which means that even when plugged into a PC, when the iPad is switched on, it may not actually be charging.
With recent its motherboards (listed here
) Gigabyte has increased the power of its USB ports three fold to
1500mA for USB 2 and 2700mA for USB 3.
In addition, the special red USB pin-out for new boards provide the hyped-up power to the front USB ports of your case, and enable charging while the PC is off.
There are some limitations though; only three devices can be charged at once and for some phones the PC needs to be on while the initial connection is made, but will keep charging after it's been turned off. Gigabyte was also keen to point out that the quality of PSU and PC cabling makes a huge difference - while it's beefed up the copper traces between the 5V standby from the ATX socket and the USB ports on the board, the PSU's capacity to provide enough amps without dropping voltage is critical for this setup to work.
In addition, for those who want to use the front USB ports for higher powered devices, be wary that many cases use cheaper aluminium wiring, not copper, which has a higher resistance and causes voltage drops.
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Gigabyte told us it has also improved its motherboard design since the introduction of USB 3 on its boards late last year by including a single power fuse on each individual USB port, rather than one per pair as is more common. Apparently despite the 2x cost increase, this investment is absorbed by Gigabyte because it ultimately lowers RMA rates, and improves long term profitability.
Since its introduction three years ago, this strategy that has apparently suited the company very well as it stated to bit-tech that its RMA rate is "half the industry average
" of a single-digit percentage (we're unable to be more accurate than that, unfortunately).
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More power to the
USB is ultimately a good thing - faster charging of peripherals is always useful, and not having to use a second connector to power a portable 2.5in hard disk is certainly preferable. The technology will be included in all
future mainstream and upward motherboard releases - including the upcoming mini-ITX H55 motherboard, where the lack of internal storage and expansion slots should suit it perfectly in our opinion.
Do you care about high powered USB ports? Let us know in the forums