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Beginner
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What are those small, soft silver sponge-like blocks on the USB ports?

 
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Super User Retired Employee
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Don't remove them! They are part of the EMI shielding for the system.

...S

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Beginner
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Thanks. I have built a few DIY PC. How come there is no such silver blocks on the USB ports of standard PC's motherboard?

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Super User Retired Employee
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Well -- and remember this is a S/W guy answering, not an EE -- can you say: too much plastic, not enough metal?

...S

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Beginner
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Because the NUC was designed from the ground up -- that board was designed to fit in that case, so they made the EMI contacts there since the front panel is largely plastic.

 

If you look at the back plate that comes with a standard PC motherboard, you'll notice each port opening has little bent-in "fingers" around its edges -- these accomplish the same thing, by making a solid electrical contact between the port housing and the case.

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