Standard PS/2 Computer Mice: Reliable Legacy Ports
It is true that newer technologies and standards exist whose role is to supersede the previous standard to provide intuitiveness and efficiency in the way they work. An example of this is PS/2, which is the connection port standard for mice and keyboards before the advent of USB. While the port has all but disappeared, there are still some valid reasons to use this legacy port.
What Is a PS/2 Mouse?
- Design: The first PS/2-enabled computer was designed in 1987 and was meant to be the port of choice for mice and keyboards up until the early 90s. The port uses a 6-pin design that uses the mini-DIN-6 form factor. This mouse port is less bulky than that of a serial mouse that used the larger serial port standard. These mice still have the familiar ergonomic feel, buttons, and scroll wheel used in newer mice designs.
- Predecessor: PS/2 replaced various connector standards for input devices, namely DIN, DE-9, and mini-DIN9 inPort connectors, which were bulky, unwieldy, and far less efficient than PS/2. Purple was intended for keyboards and green was for mice.
- Legacy Port: With the ubiquity of the USB mouse and keyboard, PS/2 is considered a legacy port. This status is given to computer connectors which are partially or fully superseded by newer standards, which have higher speeds, hot-swap capabilities, or cordless designs.
What Are the Advantages of Using PS/2?
- Dedicated Port: One advantage to using a PS/2 mouse is so that your motherboard has more free USB ports for other devices like wireless USB keyboards, USB wireless headphones, or USB thumb drives. This also clears up cable clutter from the back of your motherboard because you can semi-permanently route it to the back of your desk.
- Latency: Some people prefer PS/2 over USB for the way it works. A USB mouse operates through polls sent by the CPU. The CPU is basically asking constantly if there are any changes in the position of the device or any inputs were made before or during the poll. PS/2 works differently in that the device sends interrupts, which are signals sent by the device to the CPU to inform it of any positional or input changes. For those with faster and modern CPUs, the latter option is more viable for enthusiasts because of less perceptible latency in PS/2.
- Use in BIOS: IT experts still opt for PS/2 input devices because they are plug and play on every motherboard that supports the connector. Server racks and regular computers and laptops can easily be controlled with a PS/2 device even in the BIOS screen without the need for additional drivers and without the risks of compatibility issues unlike that in USB. Just make sure that you plug the device in before the computer boots because unlike USB devices, PS/2 mice are non-hot-swappable so hotplugging a PS/2 mouse without rebooting the machine will cause it not to work.