The Shadow Ghost. Probably my favorite piece of hardware to use with my Shadow PC. It has some pretty nifty features, including 4x USB ports.
However, the ghost has different USB ports. 2x USB 2.0 ports and 2x USB 3.0 ports. This can add confusion if you do not understand what should be used for what.
Well, you are in luck, because this post will explain it to you!
What is USB?
I guess we should start with the broad definition of what USB stands for and what it is. USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is the industry standard that establishes specifications for cables and connectors and protocols for connection, communication and power supply between computers, peripheral devices and other computers.
In short, USB is the standard for most cable connections that connect to your computer and other devices.
As USB evolved, different generations were developed. Today, we mainly see USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 as the standard for provided USB ports on most current generation laptops and desktops.
USB 2.0 is the second generation of USB. It offers a maximum transfer speed of 480 Mbps. USB 2.0 has a half-duplex signaling method, meaning it can either send or receive data, but not both at the same time. It is perfect for simple computer peripherals like your standard USB keyboard and mouse.
USB 3.0 is the third generation of USB, and it is a significant improvement over USB 2.0. It has 10x the data transfer speed at just under 5 Gbps. It also has a full-duplex signaling method allowing it to send and receive data simultaneously. This is perfect for computer peripherals and external hard drives that require a higher transfer rate, or simultaneous data transfer too and from.
The Shadow Ghost, as mentioned above, has 2x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 ports. For the Ghost, each port has different use cases.
The Shadow Ghost has built-in USB-over-IP that works only with the USB 3.0 ports. This means if you have any peripheral that requires custom drivers to run, it will require a USB 3.0 port on the Ghost.
These peripherals are usually USB Headsets with control panels, RGB Keyboard/Mice, USB Microphones, and anything else that needs to install specific drivers to manage.
The USB 2.0 ports are only able to detect devices and run basic drivers. This works great for standard USB keyboards and mice.
Suggestions and Tips
I highly suggest that you use the USB 2.0 ports for your keyboard and mouse. The USB 3.0 ports send your inputs via USB-over-IP to your Shadow, and thus, you may feel some delay/lag.
USB 2.0 ports will emulate your keyboard and mouse inputs much like how the Shadow Client on a Windows/Mac computer works. Use USB 3.0 only if you want to set up RGB lighting on your keyboard/mouse, or your keyboard/mouse requires it.
It is best to use USB 3.0 for microphones, headsets, or similar peripherals. USB 2.0 will not allow USB passthrough, and you will run into issues with them possibly not working.
Also, another suggestion is to get a USB 3.0 Hub, like the Anker 7-port USB hub. It works wonderfully, and gives you extra ports to work with!
I love my Shadow Ghost. It has become my daily driver for home and personal work, such as this blog. The 2x USB 3.0 ports did suck a little for me, but that issue has been alleviated thanks to my USB hub.
Use the ports that work best for your device. For me, USB 2.0 for keyboard/mouse, USB 3.0 for everything else.
I hope this blog post helped you out a little bit if you were having trouble with some of your computer peripherals!
Have anything else to add to this post? Feel free to comment below!