System Upgrades 1 — Why Upgrade?

Why upgrade a system with new I/O ports? Because, perhaps more than any other type of enhancement, I/O upgrades add to the value of a system. Not only do they take advantage of expansion capacity already waiting on most computers' motherboards, they can help blend the power of a computer with the unique abilities of peripherals such as high-speed scanners or digital video cameras.

I/O upgrades can extend the life of systems that are no longer new. First, interface technologies that have recently appeared, such as newer versions of FireWire®, eSATA, or USB 3.0, can be added to an existing system. They make it possible to use the newest peripherals, such as digital video cameras and high-speed external hard drive enclosures. These interfaces are usually faster and more convenient to use than earlier technologies.

Second, older systems can be made more versatile and configurable with I/O upgrades. Are all your PCI expansion slots full? LAVA has ISA serial and parallel port boards for the ISA slots on older systems. Are Plug and Play PCI cards not working with DOS applications? ISA boards are jumper-configurable, and can be configured to suit the DOS application you need to run.

New systems can also benefit from I/O upgrades. In some cases, new "legacy-free" systems have no serial or parallel ports at all. Freedom from legacy ports means freedom to throw away perfectly good printers, scanners, modems, external drives, and other peripherals that depend on these ports. Who needs that kind of freedom?

Many I/O upgrades can also add faster versions of ports already in a system: the 16650 UART serial ports in LAVA's LAVAPort serial board family are four times faster than the standard 16550 UART serial ports found on most motherboards. A PCI-bus EPP parallel port, such as the LAVA Parallel-PCI, will be up to three times faster than an ISA-bus motherboard parallel EPP port. And don't forget the convenience of having all the ports you need — why crawl under your desk to plug and unplug printers when you can just add another port?