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Front panel USB not providing enough juice?

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#1
I have an ASUS P5E motherboard (Maximus formula) It has 4 or 5 usb's on the back, and two headers on the board for front panel USB. I use the front panel usb's because my case has two jacks on the top and my pc sits under my desk so its easier than crawling under. The problem is a have a Western Digital external power only by usb (no external power source needed). It works fine when i plug it into the back, but when i use the front panel it is not supplying enough juice for the HD to spin up properly. Is there something I can do to remedy this? It worked on my old Abit board, so I know its possible, I am just assuming it does not have enough power?
 
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#2
This is a very common problem: USB port does not have enough power to drive a 2.5" HDD. I have had hundreds of wasted minutes on this issue. Some laptops will work, some PCs will work, some wont, some HDDs just manage to get started up but risk "device errors", and other plain fail.

If you want to use a HDD on the USB port then you need a powered device, or a powered HUB port (this was my solution), or one of those clever HDDs that have a little battery (or capacitor) inside that trickle charges and gives a bit of extra oompf as an when power draw is required, like startup, seek and write.

I have found 2.5" HDD over USB so unreliable that I have given up with them, and now LAN everything (NAS fileserver), or have a couple of (large capacity) USB sticks.

IN YOUR CASE
Why dont you do an internal re-route of your front panel connectors to a different USB device header. Perhaps on your mainboard you have some headers that replicate the backpanel sockets. These might be "higher powered" than the one for the front panel that was designed for keysticks etc.
 
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Processor i7-8700K / i7-6700K / E5-1620 v3 / E5-2650L v4 / E5-2630L v3 / E5-2630 v4
Motherboard Asus Maximus X Apex / Maximus X Code / Maximus IX APEX / Asrock EPC612D4I Mini
Cooling Noctua / Aquacomputer / EKWB / Corsair
Memory Corsair DP DDR4 2x16GB 3200 / Crucial LVP 2133 ECC 8x8GB
Video Card(s) GTX 1070 Ti SLI / GTX 1080 Ti SLI / GTX 1080
Storage nvme's
Display(s) Alienware AW3418DW
Case CaseLabs / Lian Li
Audio Device(s) Creative SB X7
Power Supply Corsair AX1500i / Corsair AX1200i / Seasonic (A handful)
Mouse Logitech
Keyboard Logitech
Software Windows 7 ULT / Windows 10 Pro / unRAID / pfSense
#3
What voltage am I going to be looking for? Another idea...couldn't I just splice the power from the second USB header into the one im using off the motherboard. Run them in parallel. Or would they still being drawing from the same point on the motherboard even though they are two separate headers?
 

DanTheBanjoman

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#4
What voltage am I going to be looking for? Another idea...couldn't I just splice the power from the second USB header into the one im using off the motherboard. Run them in parallel. Or would they still being drawing from the same point on the motherboard even though they are two separate headers?
Not voltages, Amperes. 500mA. And yes you can split power, many enclosures come with an extra cable for this purpose.
 
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Display(s) 2 x Samsung 204Ts = 3200x1200
Audio Device(s) Audigy 2
Software Windows Server 2003 R2 as a Workstation now migrated to W10 with regrets.
#5
If you are serious about splicing and dicing, then there is a simpler option:

Install a cheap PCI USB controller with an INTERNAL connector(s) as well as 1/2/3 on the backplane.

Use the internal connector to drive your front panel.

Cost: $5.

Risk: $0.