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Last Updated: Friday, 24 June, 2005, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Click Tips
Rob Freeman
By Rob Freeman
Click tip-ster

Rob Freeman, Click Online's very own Mr Fixit, troubleshoots your PC problems.

This week we are looking at cables and, more importantly, the bits on the ends of the cables.

Mandeep Singh, from Amritsar, India, e-mailed to say:


USB - Universal Serial Bus - is a way of connecting to a PC or a Macintosh that has been quietly replacing all the old fashioned connectors like serial, parallel and PS/2 keyboard ports.

Printers, keyboards, mouse and cameras are just a few of the peripherals that use USB. So there you have it, that's USB.

But there is more...

Hamed contacted us asking:

What is the difference between USB 1 and USB 2? Are the devices using USB 1 compatible with USB 2 and vice versa?

There are two versions of USB. The USB 1 was pretty slow and has been upgraded to USB 2, which runs at 480 megabits a second, faster than Firewire.

Most, but not all, USB 2 devices will connect to a USB 1 port, but will then run at USB 1 speed - that is: slow.

Most USB 1 devices will plug into a USB 2 port, but they'll run slow too. The good news is that they will work, but slowly.

So, for full speed you need a USB 2 device in a USB 2 port.

Amine, from Algiers, Algeria, asks:

Is Firewire a good investment and is it possible to buy an adaptor separately?

Firewire is a way of connecting high speed peripherals like camcorders, digital cameras or hard disks, to your computer.

It was invented by Apple back in 1986 and became an industry-wide standard.

Sony has a different name for it - iLink - but it is exactly the same thing.

So, to your question Amine: yes, Firewire is a good investment, with the right peripherals. It rather depends on what you want to do with it.

As for the upgrade; it is a simple card and the cables have two kinds of connectors, large and small, so make sure you get the right connector for your device.

If you have any questions or queries, please visit "Contact us" (link on the top right-hand side of this page) to get in touch.

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