Sorry for another "it-is-so-unfair-that-my-question-was-closed-bwaah" question, but hey, it is what it is, so here goes:

Today I submitted a question asking for reasons to equip an external DVD drive with a mini USB connector instead of the more common micro USB. The question was closed as opinion based which I don't agree with. I'm genuinely curious about it and find it perfectly on topic. Technical reasons are hard facts, not opinions, after all, it's a device which connects to a computer etc.. What's the community's opinion?

2 Answers 2


Its pretty much impossible to answer unless you're the person designing it.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face

The answer might be something like "it was cheaper" or "we didn't have common microusb at the time" but its not something that would generally concern the average user, outside the twang of annoyance when one has not the right cable.

  • Well, is it cheaper? Also: "There is no technical or financial reason, the ports are basically equivalent in all relevant aspects" is of course a perfectly valid answer, and is not opinion based either. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 4:47
  • as the average PC user - I wouldn't know.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 4:48
  • That's OK; nor do I (that's why I didn't self-answer). Others may know though. Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 5:01
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica - How would they know? They didn't design the product. Even if they did provide the product, they would have to provide references, otherwise it would just be their opinion.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 26, 2020 at 21:41
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    @Ramhound Not sure why you insist on such obviously wrong objections. For example I may ask in electrical engineering "Why does my water heater have a heavy 8 gauge wire and not a cheaper 12 gauge which is much easier to roll up?" anybody with the technical background can say "it's because the 40 amps would heat up the smaller cable to dangerous levels (and don't use the heater with the cable rolled up!)." If on the other hand I ask "why does the clock on my desk have an 8 gauge cable?" anybody with the technical knowledge can say with confidence "there is no technical reason for it." Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 11:12
  • @Ramhound The same pattern holds for all technical design decisions. There may or may not be a technical reason for it, and that can be determined by anybody with the technical background. Yes, it seems that mini or micro USB is an arbitrary choice not driven by technical (or financial) considerations; that's a perfectly valid answer and thank you for your expertise. I simply wasn't sure and it seemed odd enough to not be arbitrary, but apparently it is. Fine. Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 11:13
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica - The example of the gauge of a wire, can be answered by any electrical engineering student in college. The example question is not as simple. I won't read any response, since, I already know you will disagree with me
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 27, 2020 at 22:11

Technically any USB connection should work and that is a technically correct answer.

The reality is the reason why many manufactures still choose to use mini USB connections on devices despite micro USB connectors being more common is 100% opinion based.

You say:

“I'm genuinely curious about it and find it perfectly on topic. Technical reasons are hard facts, not opinions…”

There is utterly no technical reason why one type of USB connection is used over another. Thus it is a fact that micro USB, mini USB, USB C and other connections could be used but for some reason they are not.

That “some reason” is not anything anyone here can answer because it’s clearly a manufacturing decision on the part of the manufacturers of devices such as external USB drives. And that is opinion based even if we knew the production/supply chain rationale because it is not a technical decision or reason.

And the closest to any real answer anyone can provide is either mini USB connectors are cheap or many manufacturers have invested so much into mini USB connections they don’t want to change.

  • Funny: This would make a valid answer to the original question. Maybe the title is badly worded. Would it be better to ask "Are there technical, financial or other obejective benefits to use a mini USB port on an external DVD drive, instead of a micro USB port?" Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 20:03
  • Which part of "there is utterly no technical reason" is, in your opinion, opinion-based? Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 21:11
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    "Are there technical, financial or other objective benefits" - Would still lead to an answer based entirely on opinion. Your question about the design of the product is out of scope at Super User. (Most hardware and software design questions, why something is done, are out of scope.) There is only a small subset, where enough information has been provided over the years, directly from (Microsoft/Apple/Google) where those questions can be answered. Why a generic USB optical disk drive is a certain type of USB connection isn't one of those questions
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 4:29
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    @Ramhound It's not so much an answer would be opinion-based, more so that it would be a variable overarching answer with no way to determine which variable is applicable unless the OEM is contacted e.g. it comes down to the OEM and what they choose when they design their PCBs, ultimately coming down to standardization (mini-USB was the standard for years, then micro-USB became the standard and unless the OEM's facilities are run using "just-in-time" manufacturing, they will have bulked up on mini or micro USB PCB connectors, w/ mini-USB PCB connectors being marginally cheaper by a few cents)
    – JW0914
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 10:09
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    @JW0914 - I read your comment, and as an Engineer who has developed both software and hardware, my description for your comment would still be “my opinion”. It might be based on my experience as an engineer but that’s the case for most opinions
    – Ramhound
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 12:40
  • @Ramhound I don't follow... there's no way to know what specific variable applies, with the only way to determine the variable being to contact the OEM (it's unlikely this would result in an answer since it requires reaching out to the PCB design team, but is the only source that can provide one); This doesn't make the question itself opinion-based, it simply makes it a question that's unable to be answered on StackExchange due to the aforementioned (one could posit logical, rational reasons like those mentioned in my prior comment, but that doesn't make the question itself opinion-based)
    – JW0914
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 12:52
  • @JW0914 - You won't be able to change my opinion. The question the author is asking about, was properly closed (IMO), since I wouldn't be able to answer the reason a specific USB port was used, when the manufacture designed the product. By saying "I am unable to", I mean specifically, finding documentation that indicates the reason written by the manufacture. I have enough engineering experience to speculate the reason.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 18:07
  • @Ramhound I wasn't trying to change anyone's opinion, I explained how that perspective is fundamentally flawed. An opinion is "a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter" - how exactly one determines asking a question to which there is only one correct answer is opinion-based is mind-boggling, as such a perspective is neither rational nor logical. Simply because someone can't provide a non-opinion-based answer does not make the question itself opinion-based, as that would also be illogical and irrational.
    – JW0914
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 18:24

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