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Universal Serial Bus

Embedded on the motherboard, the USB is a one-size-fits-all connector interface for peripherals. The fact that peripherals may be connected without turning off the computer (or removing the computer cover) is a major benefit of USB over serial and parallel connectors.

The current version, USB 2.0, supports speeds of up to 480 MB/s, which is fast. But USB is not nearly as fast as FireWire. This means USB is not the best suited for high-performance applications. However, USB is free of royalty fees, which is a second major benefit. (FireWire is not.) So, each with its own advantages, USB and FireWire are not direct competitors.

Standard USB ports are usually in groups of two, one grouping is pictured in the middle. A standard USB connector is pictured on the left. While a mini-USB is on the right.

Eventually, USB connections will replace all parallel and serial connections, as well as a list of other items. In turn, this will simplify connections, it will eliminate the need to identify ports, eliminate the need for adopter expansion cards, eliminate AC power adopters for devices, eliminate the need to configure software drivers and dip switches, among other previously necessary tasks. Monitors, keyboards, mice, joysticks, low-resolution digital cameras, low-Speed CD-ROM drives, and modems that do not need high performance connections will all use USB as their standard in the future.

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