Legacy ports and slots on modern mobo - why?

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Jun 30, 2022
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I purchased ASUS Pro A520M-C mobo (it's a long story).

It's got a COM port and header for LPT. It also has VGA and DVI-D. Most of these are very useful to me. LPT less so.

It also has a PCI slot, which is highly unusual for such a recent mobo afaik.

But why would you want a PCI card in a modern-ish system?
 

ano

Active Member
Nov 7, 2022
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I use COM ports more days of the week than I would like to admit.
and VGA.

I use VGA more than I use hdmi/DP
 
Jun 30, 2022
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For software that is programmed against a specific driver for a specific device (eg industrial machines) that have a much longer "life cycle" than some modern protocols/standards exist :D
I did wonder about that. Lab equipment too?
 

nexox

Active Member
May 3, 2023
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Soundblaster? :D
I thought really hard about how to fit my Audigy (which I used continuously for ~22 years) when I upgraded to my LGA3647 system, I miss the 32 bit PCI slot on my old X9SRA.
 

ericloewe

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Apr 24, 2017
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I did wonder about that. Lab equipment too?
Yes, equipment-specific interface cards, expensive datalogger cards, ... Especially the PCI stuff. Thing is, PCI is super easy to implement even today, since PCIe/PCI bridges are readily available. The software side of things is also very well-supported when it comes to hanging a conventional PCI bus off of a PCIe "bus". There are limitations, but most things seem to work well. So, it's practical to create a few special motherboard models geared towards legacy I/O.

ISA is slightly more complicated and actually had to compete against other computer architectures, so you don't see as much of it. However, it's still implemented on all x86 machines to maintain IBM PC compatibility, though I think most modern OSes are fine without it on UEFI systems (Fun fact: Windows 7 absolutely needed a PCI bus to run, that requirement was only lifted in Windows 8 to support phones and ARM tablets). The LPC bus is software-compatible with ISA and is commonplace these days, mostly for the TPM header and occasionally for SuperIO controllers.
 

unwind-protect

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Mar 7, 2016
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Boston
Out of curiosity I took a look at the RME 9652 specs. I can see why you might want to keep using it. Very capable. There are drivers for modern OSes too.
It's not just the card. Giving up on it would also mean giving up on my RME Fireface 800. Replacements for the FF and the 9652 would run serious $$$ for no improvement in audio quality.

As for drivers, RME is very good at supporting things forever, and we even have Linux drivers and control programs.

Having said that, I will probably get a PCIe to PCI external thing instead of a W680 board.
 
Jun 30, 2022
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It's not just the card. Giving up on it would also mean giving up on my RME Fireface 800. Replacements for the FF and the 9652 would run serious $$$ for no improvement in audio quality.

As for drivers, RME is very good at supporting things forever, and we even have Linux drivers and control programs.

Having said that, I will probably get a PCIe to PCI external thing instead of a W680 board.
There are PCIe Firewire cards. IFAIK, there are no USB to Firewire adapters. Not sure about Thunderbolt. Windows still supports Firewire.

I wonder if there are any modern mobos that still have Firewire headers?
 

ericloewe

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Apr 24, 2017
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No, IEEE 1394 quickly died out, to the extent that it hadn't already, once USB 3.0 became commonplace.
IFAIK, there are no USB to Firewire adapters.
I doubt there are any. USB 2.0 was slower than Firewire, for practical usage, and USB 3.0 came about at a time when Firewire was basically dead anyway.
Not sure about Thunderbolt.
Maybe for some Macs that already had Thunderbolt 1/2 but did not have Firewire...
 

unwind-protect

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Mar 7, 2016
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Boston
I still use a music desktop running Linux. With a RME Fireface 800 connected via a Firewire PCIe card and a RME 9652 PCI card for ADAT. The software for that is not going away anytime soon. And since it is open source I could do something about it if it did.
 
Jun 30, 2022
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Apple made Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapters. You can chain those with their Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter (I think they're the only company who makes one) to use Firewire devices on modern machines. I think Apple dropped Firewire from the CoreAudio stack recently, though, so there are fewer practical uses on the Mac as of late. Not sure what support is like for that chain on Windows and Linux, either.
I've seen reports that the adapter works with Windows.
 
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Jun 30, 2022
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I intend to blog about reasons for legacy ports/slots/headers on a modern motherboard.

A lot of the discussion has been helpful.

I would be interested in examples of PCI cards that interface to external peripherals via proprietary interfaces that don't have PCIe card equivalents or are very expensive.
 

nexox

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May 3, 2023
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The one example I have (distant) experience with are National Instruments DAQ cards - there are PCIe equivalents, but they're expensive (this random example is over $2k: Model), it looks like most of them use different external connectors from the older PCI models, and I wouldn't be surprised it some required software changes to upgrade.