The PS/2 port was introduced on the IBM PS/2 line in 1982. IBM designed the PS/2 port as a more secure connection for keyboards and mice.
Almost a decade after the PS2’s discontinuation in North America, many motherboards still include PS2 ports.
Most motherboards still have PS2 ports because they are required for the BIOS to communicate with the keyboard and mouse. One of the most apparent reasons is compatibility.
The PS2 port is a legacy port that is not present on most new computers.
What Are PS/2 Ports?
The PS2 port was created back in 1987 when personal computers started gaining popularity. It was initially introduced as a part of IBM’s Personal System/2 series, which explains the name.
The PS2 port is easily recognizable as a 6-PIN mini-DIN circular port that comes in a purple color for the keyboard and green for the mouse. It has an additional small icon of either the keyboard or mouse at the top-right corner.
Note that even though the keyboard PS2 port and the mouse PS2 port look similar, they are not interchangeable. This is because their drivers are programmed to use their designated PS2 port. The PS2 port is also known as a mouse port or a keyboard port.
What Does the PS/2 Port Do?
The PS/2 port is a legacy computer port that was used for input devices, like keyboards and mice.
It’s been replaced by USB ports on most modern computers, but you can still find it on some older machines. PS/2 ports are rectangular and have six pins.
The PS/2 port is also known as the “mini-DIN” port.
Why Has The PS/2 Port Not Disappeared From Modern Gaming Machines?
The PS/2 port is still found on modern gaming machines because it is a very versatile interface. This can be used for various purposes, including connecting a keyboard, mouse, or controller.
The PS/2 port is also found on some gaming laptops, allowing an easy way to connect to an external keyboard or mouse.
Most PCs and gaming machines have moved to USB ports for these peripherals.
So Why Do Motherboards Still Have Ps2 Ports?
There are still many reasons why motherboards continue to have PS2 ports. One reason is that some devices still use PS2 connectors, such as keyboards and mice.
Some reasons are;
- Used by Enterprises for Security
- Gamers Love the Low Polling Rate and N Key Rollover
- Great With BIOS, PC Hardware in General
- Great for Systems with Limited USB Ports
- Old School Devices are Sturdy and Mechanical
1. Used By Enterprises For Security
Despite the declining use of PS/2 ports on consumer PC motherboards, the technology continues to find a home in the enterprise. One of the critical reasons for this is security.
Unlike USB, which can be infected with malware, PS/2 ports are much more difficult to tamper with.
For this reason, PS/2 ports are often used on servers and other high-security computers
2. Gamers Love The Low Polling Rate And N Key Rollover
We’re not sure why motherboard manufacturers still include PS/2 ports on their boards, but there are a few possible explanations:
- Some gamers love the low polling rate and N key rollover that PS/2 keyboards offer.
- PS/2 ports are still required for some legacy devices.
- Manufacturers may be just trying to hedge their bets in case PS/2 becomes popular again.
3. Great With BIOS, PC Hardware In General
PS/2 ports are the most reliable way to connect a mouse and keyboard to a PC.
They are much more reliable in communicating with the PC on the hardware level, meaning that while USB keyboards and mice can present a myriad of compatibility and driver issues, PS/2 keyboards and mice are simply plug-and-play.
4. Great For Systems With Limited USB Ports
The PS/2 port is an excellent addition to systems with limited USB ports. The PS/2 port can be used for some devices, including a keyboard, mouse, or even an external hard drive.
So, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to add an extra device to your system but don’t have a spare USB port, the PS/2 port is a great option!
5. Old School Devices Are Sturdy And Mechanical
The reason that PS2 ports are still popular is that they are mechanical devices. This means that they don’t rely on software to function correctly.
USB ports, on the other hand, are entirely software-based. This can be a problem if there are compatibility issues with the operating system or if the drivers are not up to date.
PS2 Port Uses
The PS2 port, also known as the Personal System/2 port, has been used for various purposes over the years. Its primary use has been for connecting keyboards and mice to computers. Here are some of the main uses of PS2 ports:
- Connection of keyboards and mice: As mentioned earlier, the PS2 port was initially designed to connect keyboards and mice to computers. It was a popular method of connection in the past, and even today, some users prefer using PS2 ports for their keyboards and mice.
- BIOS compatibility: PS2 ports are also useful for BIOS compatibility. BIOS is a firmware that is responsible for booting up a computer. Sometimes, USB-connected peripherals may not be recognized when a computer is running in BIOS mode. PS2-connected peripherals, on the other hand, are recognized by the BIOS, making them useful for performing system-level operations.
- Security purposes: In some cases, PS2 ports are used for security purposes. Some commercial computers may disable USB ports for security reasons, leaving users with no option but to use PS2 ports for their peripherals.
- Legacy device support: Some older devices may only be compatible with PS2 ports, making them useful for users who still use legacy hardware.
- Gaming: Serious gamers prefer using PS2 ports for their keyboards and mice due to their faster response times. PS2 peripherals have lower latency compared to USB peripherals, which can make a big difference in gaming, where every millisecond counts.
As technology advances and new ports become available, the PS2 port is considered a legacy and almost entirely obsolete. This has led some motherboard manufacturers to do away with the PS2 port in their designs.
While legacy-free PCs can be more difficult to find, there are several advantages to designing a motherboard without a PS2 port.
One advantage is that it frees up space for other ports. With space on a motherboard being finite, removing a PS2 port gives manufacturers added space for other, more useful ports that can support faster data transfer rates.
Another advantage is that PS2 ports cannot evolve. There is no way to upgrade PS2 ports, so eventually, other port options will become faster and more efficient, making PS2 ports unnecessary. By removing the PS2 port, manufacturers can focus on newer and more advanced ports that offer greater functionality and better performance.
Should You Use a Legacy-Free Motherboard?
When deciding whether to use a legacy-free motherboard, it’s important to consider your individual needs. For the average PC user, a legacy-free motherboard won’t make much of a difference compared to a normal one.
However, for those engaging in intensive processing tasks, such as gaming, programming, or graphic design, a legacy-free motherboard may offer advantages. By freeing up space on the motherboard, users can add additional RAM and a GPU to enhance processing power.
While modern motherboards typically have enough space for such additions, a legacy-free motherboard offers even more space and control over what is added to the computer.
It’s important to note that legacy-free motherboards exclude certain ports, including the Centronics parallel port, serial port, game port, PS2 port, VGA, floppy drive, Parallel ATA, and IEEE 1394.
Should I Use PS/2 Peripherals, Then?
Yes. PS/2 ports are still used on most computers, offering a few advantages over USB ports. For one thing, PS/2 peripherals don’t need drivers, so they’re easier to use.
They’re also less likely to cause interference with other devices and are not as easy to disconnect accidentally.
Can You Convert A PS2 To A USB?
No, you cannot convert a PS2 to a USB. PS2 uses a different type of connector than USB, so the two are incompatible.
Are PS/2 ports still relevant in modern times?
PS/2 ports are still relevant in certain scenarios, such as using older hardware and connecting peripherals during BIOS operations. However, USB ports have become the standard for most devices.
Can PS/2 peripherals be used with a USB port?
PS/2 peripherals cannot be directly connected to a USB port. However, there are PS/2 to USB adapters available on the market that allow users to connect PS/2 peripherals to USB ports.
Why do some gaming enthusiasts prefer PS/2 peripherals?
Serious gamers prefer PS/2 peripherals due to their lower latency and faster response times compared to USB peripherals. This can make a significant difference in gaming, where every millisecond counts.
What are some advantages of using a legacy-free motherboard?
A legacy-free motherboard offers more space for other ports and peripherals, allowing for greater customization and control over what is added to the computer. This can be especially advantageous for users engaging in intensive processing tasks, such as gaming or graphic design.
Can this port be used for anything besides connecting a keyboard or mouse?
While the PS/2 port was primarily designed for connecting keyboards and mice, it can also be used for other peripherals such as external hard drives or legacy devices that are only compatible with PS/2 ports.
Is it necessary to use a PS/2 port for BIOS operations?
A: While it is not necessary to use a PS/2 port for BIOS operations, it is recommended as PS/2 peripherals are more reliable in communicating with the PC on a hardware level, making them more useful for performing system-level operations.
Can PS/2 ports offer greater security compared to USB ports?
Yes, PS/2 ports can offer greater security compared to USB ports as they are more difficult to tamper with and less susceptible to malware infections. This makes them a popular choice for high-security computers and servers.
Can the port be converted to a USB port?
No, a PS/2 port cannot be converted to a USB port as they use different types of connectors and are not compatible with each other.
In conclusion, motherboard companies still have PS2 ports because they are needed for backward compatibility with older games and software.
It benefits those who want to keep their old hardware but may not have the money to purchase a new one.