Why Do Motherboards Still Have PS2 Port: 5 Reasons

USB mice and keyboards have been around for as long as we can remember now. This then begs the question, why do motherboards still have PS2 ports?

There is no one answer fit all scenario. There are many reasons for still having the PS/2 port. PS/2 keyboard and mice are recognized far more readily as compared to USB based counterparts. Additionally, PS/2 based keyboards are much better supported by the PC at hardware level and thus work better with BIOS. And finally, PS/2 ports are still popular among some gaming circles. 

The fact that even the latest LGA1700 based motherboards for the 12th gen Intel CPUs released in 2022 feature the PS2 ports is quite baffling. After all, if CD-ROMs and Floppy Drives can go obsolete, then why can’t the PS2 ports?

Let’s explore all the reasons in detail.

What are PS/2 Ports? 

PS/2 ports are a small circular shaped 6-pin ports used for connecting keyboard and mouse to your PC. PS/2 port gets its name from the IBM Personal System/2 line of PCs.

If a motherboard does have PS/2 ports, it will often feature a pair of them color coded, one green PS/2 port for the mouse and one purple PS/2 port for they keyboard. 

PS2 Port Mouse and Keyboard
PS/2 Port for Mouse and Keyboard. Source: Wikipedia

Some motherboard may also feature a special PS/2 dual port which can be used for either the PS/2 mouse or PS/2 keyboard separately or both together using a special Y splitter.

PS/2 ports are considered a legacy port after being superseded by USB.

However, despite being relegated to being a legacy port, PS/2 still finds its use in many scenarios.

So Why Do Motherboards Still Have PS2 Port?

There are many reasons why motherboard still feature the PS/2 port. I will list a few top reasons below:

1. Used by Enterprises for Security

One of the primary use case for PS/2 ports is the security it provides. Since USB ports can be used for devices other than keyboard and mice, they are a potential security hazard for many enterprises.

Security is particularly an issue for enterprises with critical data such as data centers or offices where corporate espionage is a possibility.

In such enterprises, in order to avoid any security breach, the USB ports are often completely disabled or cutoff from the motherboard so that no storage or other malicious devices can be attached to interface with the PC.

This leaves them with the PS/2 ports as the only viable option for connecting the Keyboard and Mice. PS/2 ports are solely designed for Human Interface Devices (HID) and thus they cannot be used for malicious devices.

You will often find PS/2 ports on budget motherboard such as on the Gigabyte H610M motherboard.

Gigabyte H610M
Gigabyte H610M, a budget LGA1700 motherboard with PS/2 ports

H610M is the most basic motherboard chipset from the Intel 600 series intended for the 12th Gen Intel core series CPUs.

Motherboard featuring this chip are often intended for budget PC or for corporate offices and enterprises. Offices and enterprises do not generally spend on mid or high end motherboard.

2. Gamers Love the Low Polling Rate and N Key Rollover

The next segment of people that still seem to have a liking for PS/2 ports on the motherboard are gamers. But not just any gamers, only the most diehard gamers still prefer the PS/2 ports.

The sole reason being the reduced latency the PS/2 mice and PS/2 keyboard provide. Latency is basically the amount of time it takes for the PC to register a click from a mouse or a key press on a keyboard.

The idea here being that the longer it takes for your clicks and presses to register, the lesser the competitive advantage you have.

In other words, the lower the latency, the quicker will be your actions. 

While for a majority of the gamers the latency between a PS/2 port and a USB port is negligible, for the true diehard and competitive gamers, every microsecond saved gives them an advantage against their opponent.

It is precisely for this reason why some of the top-notch motherboards such as the ASUS ROG Maximum Z690 Apex still offer PS2 ports on them. 

Why Do Motherboards Still Have PS2
PS/2 ports on ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex. Source: ASUS

It is quite counter-intuitive to see PS/2 ports being featured on one of the high tier motherboards of 2022, but it is testament to the fact that these ports are still quite relevant for APEX gamers today.

PS/2 Offers True N-Key Roll Over

The idea of N-Key roll over is universal to all PS/2 keyboards. N-Key roll over basically means that the keyboard will register all key presses separately and in order, even if they are pressed simultaneously.

This is important particularly in high paced gaming such as with FPS or RPG games where a professional gamer can press multiple keys simultaneously or with quick succession. A typical FPS gamer can press the move + sprint + jump + action keys at the same time or in rapid succession. This requires your keyboard to register all presses correctly.

While there are many mid to high end USB keyboards that also offer the N-Key roll over feature, with PS/2 keyboards, this is comes naturally built-in without any added costs.

3. Great With BIOS, PC Hardware in General

Mouse and Keyboards connected through PS/2 ports are much more reliable in communicating with the PC on the hardware level.

Meaning, while USB keyboard and mouse can present with myriad of compatibility and driver issues, PS/2 keyboard and mice and simply plug and play. They often experience no issues whatsoever in interfacing with the PC.

For this reasons, PS2 ports are highly reliable when used for tweaking BIOS settings and they are generally great for troubleshooting POST (Power On Self Test) related issues.

Additionally, you can face several driver issues with the USB controller particularly when resetting/reformatting your operating system which can render the keyboard and the mouse inoperable.

Repair shops who often have to deal with corrupt USB drivers, or a bad BIOS settings use PS2 port as their preferred way of connecting keyboard and mouse.

Also Read: Will Motherboard Post Without CPU?

4. Great for System with Limited USB Ports

A motherboard with a limited number of USB ports can benefit from dedicated PS/2 ports for Keyboard and Mice as it can free up the essential USB ports for other devices.

5. Old School Devices are Sturdy and Mechanical

PS/2 ports on motherboards are also a hit among the old-school users.

The old PS/2 keyboards for instance are mostly mechanical keyboards. They are sturdy, durable and have a tactile feel to them.

IBM Model M Keyboard
The pleasure of an old-school mechanical keyboard can be considered a reason why motherboard still have PS2 ports. IBM Model M Keyboard. Source: Wikimedia

Also Read: Do Motherboards Have Integrated Graphics Cards?

Final Words

This concludes my top 5 for why do motherboards still have PS2 ports. But this is certainly not an exhaustive list. 

I would love to know YOUR reasons for why PS/2 ports are still relevant today generally and for you particularly.

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Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101 and an expert in the computer peripheral industry with over two decades of experience. He has worked as a consultant for major companies and has a deep understanding of the inner workings of computer peripherals. He has a degree in Electrical Engineering and has served as a product manager and technical consultant. He is passionate about testing and evaluating the latest products to provide readers with reliable information.

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