When I took the CompTIA PenTest+ beta exam in late June, I had to switch out the editing PC for the test PC. The test PC had a clean install of Windows 10 that allowed the exam software to find the microphone and the webcam. Since I had so many USB cables coming off the editing PC, I had to sort out which cables were keyboard, mouse, and webcam. I was also running out of USB ports in the back. I’m going to install and troubleshoot the Orico USB 3.0 add-in card to add more ports and reorganize my USB cables.
Orico USB 3.0 Add-In Card
Orico has several different models of their USB 3.0 add-in card. I got the seven-port model because it didn’t have two features that I didn’t want.
- The two- and five-port add-in cards have an internal header for two ports and a Molex power connector.
- The four-port add-in card only had a Molex power connector.
The seven-port add-in card didn’t have an internal header, but it had a SATA power connector. I got a 13″ SATA extension cable since I didn’t need the included Molex-to-SATA adapter cable. Since I wanted the most USB ports, I didn’t take into consideration the horizontal port layout and the width of the PCIe slots for my case.
Troubleshooting VGA BIOS Error (AMD X570 Chipset)
When I booted up the editing PC with the installed USB add-in card, the BIOS halted on a VGA error. Since I had the MSI Tomahawk X570 motherboard, I had to change the PCI_E1 Gen Switch from AUTO to Gen3. That setting is in Advanced Mode (F7), under Settings, Advanced, and PCI Subsystem Settings. Since I had a PCIe Gen3 video card, I set it to Gen3. With that setting changed, the PC booted up immediately.
Troubleshooting Sagging Video Card
I had the USB add-in card installed in the top PCIe 1x slot that’s below the GPU slot. I wanted to the cables for the USB add-in card to be close to the other USB ports. That was fine if I had the case laying on its side. Once I put the case upright, the video card had a slight sag that it leaned over the USB add-in card. When I booted up the PC, the top corner of the USB add-in card clipped the fan blades on the video card. Since I didn’t have an anti-sag bracket to prop up the video card, I dropped the USB add-in card to bottom PCIe 1x slot.
Troubleshooting Narrow PCIe Slot
That’s when I discovered that the Cougar MX330-G case has narrow PCIe slots. All the horizontal USB ports were inaccessible for plugging in any cables. There are several solutions for this problem.
- Return the USB add-in card for one with vertical USB ports.
- Get a new case with wide PCIe slots.
- Or I can cut a wider slot with a rotary tool.
I have a Tacklife rotary tool kit (no longer available, substitute brand) that cost $40 USD on Amazon. I used the cutting blade to remove the bottom side of the bottom PCIe slot in ten minutes.
With the Orico USB add-in card installed, I was able to divide my cable bundle into three smaller bundles. The first bundle was keyboard, mouse, and webcam. The second bundle was power, network, and video. The third bundle had everything else that plug into the USB add-in card.