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Adding Front USB Ports

by Michael Greifenkamp (June 9th, 2003)

I never understood why place like Gateway started selling PCs with front USB ports. Why plug your keyboard, or scanner, or printer, or whatever into the front of your computer? Then I got a digital camera. Now I understand. The first time I had to stand on a stool and fiddle around trying to plug in the card reader I was convinced that front USB ports were the way to go.

Of course, I built my PC myself. There was no Gateway involvement (uh, thank goodness...). While my Intel D845WN motherboard had pins for front panel USB, the Enlight case that I bought last year neither had the connector itself, nor the space for it. However, I also pieced together another computer at work to use as a Linux web server, and the cheap case that I got included a front USB setup. I don't need front USB on a Linux server, and even if I did, the old (very old) Asus Pentium II motherboard doesn't have that capability.

So I got to thinking... What would it take to modify my case at home to use the front usb from the case at work (and before anyone gripes, the case at work was purchased with my money, and goes with me if I ever change jobs--I'm not stealing anything from my employer). As it turns out, it was pretty easy to do, and I'm relatively happy with my efforts.

So go grab your Dremel and a couple of beers, and let's get started.

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