Why Do Motherboards Still Have PS2 Port: 5 Reasons

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

Each answer fits only some scenario. There are many reasons for still having the PS/2 port. PS/2 keyboards and mice are recognized far more readily than their USB-based counterparts. Additionally, PS/2-based keyboards are much better supported by the PC at the hardware level and thus work better with BIOS. And finally, PS/2 ports are still popular among some gaming circles.

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

Let’s explore all the reasons in detail.

What are PS/2 Ports?

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

If a motherboard has PS/2 ports, it will often feature a pair of their color-coded ones, one green PS/2 port for the mouse and one purple PS/2 port for the keyboard.

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

Some motherboards may also feature a particular PS/2 dual port which can be used separately or separately for either the PS/2 mouse or PS/2 keyboard using a unique Y splitter.

PS/2 ports are considered legacy ports after being superseded by USB.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 PORTS?

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

1. Used by Enterprises for Security

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

Security is mainly an issue for enterprises with critical data, such as data centers or offices where corporate espionage is possible.

In such enterprises, to avoid any security breach, the USB ports are often completely disabled or cut off 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); thus, they cannot be used for malicious devices.

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

Gigabyte H610M
Image: 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.

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

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

Gamers are the next segment who still like PS/2 ports on the motherboard. But not just any gamers; only the most die-hard gamers still prefer the PS/2 ports.

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

The idea here is that the longer your clicks and presses to register, the lesser your competitive advantage.

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

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

This is precisely why some top-notch motherboards, such as the ASUS ROG Maximum Z690 Apex, still offer PS2 ports.

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

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

PS/2 Offers True N-Key Rollover

The idea of N-Key rollover is universal to all PS/2 keyboards. An N-Key rollover means the keyboard will register all key presses separately and in order, even if pressed simultaneously.

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

While many mid to high-end and high-standards offer the N-Key rollover feature, rollover keyboards come naturally built-in without additional 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.

Meanwhile, a USB keyboard and mouse can present compatibility, driver issues, PS/2 keyboard and mouse, and plug-and-play. They often experience no problems whatsoever in interfacing with the PC.

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

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

Repair shops that often deal with corrupt USB drivers or wrong BIOS settings use a PS2 port to connect the keyboard and mouse.

Also Read: Will Motherboard Post Without CPU?

4. Great for Systems with Limited USB Ports

A motherboard with limited USB ports can benefit from dedicated PS/2 ports for keyboards 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 old-school users.

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

IBM Model M Keyboard
Image: The pleasure of an old-school mechanical keyboard can be why motherboards 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 motherboards still have PS2 ports. But this is undoubtedly a partial list.

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

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