An option, albeit expensive, that I was considering is the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Hub. It connects to a Thunderbolt port and has 3 USB 3.0 ports out. It makes sense to me that bypassing the notoriously buggy USB 3.0 bus on the 2012 MacBook Pro Retina would solve the problem. Then I ran into the following link on the Apple Support Community that stated: "The Thunderbolt Express Dock works perfectly with Thunderbolt peripherals and the Ethernet connection is constant. However, when I mount drives, whether USB 2.0 or USB 3.0, whether powered or bus-powered, the drives mount for a short time and then unmount with the usual warning message about prior ejection."
Apple's problems go beyond what I'd assumed. I'd really be upset if I'd bought this $325 dock (with Thunderbolt cable) and had problems similar to what have been encountered with 19 USB 3.0 hubs. I have 5 or more USB 3.0 drives so a USB 3.0 hub would be needed with the Belkin Dock. That was the plan. Clearly, more research is needed on this Belkin Dock.
Is it possible that Apple screwed up on the Thunderbolt ports as well as the USB 3.0 ports? Those of us with 2012 MacBook Pro Retina laptops, who need multiple external drives, really got a bad deal with Apple's implementation of USB 3.0. It would be no problem if the user has only a single external drive, such as for a Time Machine, but I need large capacity and several drives for Aperture and media files, etc.
BTW, I'd ordered the Belkin hub 1/7/13 based on the specific recommendation from Apple Engineering through a senior advisor with AppleCare. After a short period of testing it was found to be the worst of the 12 USB 3.0 powered hubs that I'd tried as of that time. It was returned and a review written. Not only was it unstable, the LEDs were asymetrical and difficult to read and identify; and the ports were upside down such that flash-drives had the LED indicators facing down and unusable.
During a Genius visit earlier this month the Belkin hub was again presented. The Apple Store now carried it in stock. I shared my experience with the earlier version, although I'm sure there have been improvements in the chipsets and firmware since then.
Early on I bought a hub like http://www.ebay.com/itm/Professional-USB-3-0-Portable-7-Port-Hub-5V-4A-Power-Ada pter-VIA-VL812-Chipset-/360703039540?pt=US_USB_Cables_Hubs_Adapters&hash=item53f b939834. After purchasing a Behringer C-1U Condensor mic, and hooking up a Edirol PC-50 keyboard I noticed after some time my mic volume was super low. And when I went to play the keyboard only 3 notes worked.
I've tried plugging them into other Mac laptops in the house but nothing works correctly now.
Originally I thought it was Mavericks, but now I'm starting to wonder if there was a voltage issue. Another issue I have with powered hubs, is when you put the laptop to sleep it keeps the external drives powered up and they spin all night. I've also had issues with the laptop not booting when they are plugged in.
I'm purchasing a different USB hub, and will consider trying to return the Mic to rule out defects. The keyboard is old, and there is a possiblity the keys became less conductive, but it still powers up. Mic powers up too.
I have absolutely no idea what to blame it on at this point. But a new mic is 65-80$ and a new keyboard can run 129-499$ depending.
Are any of you using VMWare Fusion on your Mac at the same time, by any chance? I've been having intermittent issues with a USB 3.0 drive plugged into my MBP through a SuperSpeed hub, and while getting debug info for Apple Support in response to my bug report, I've noticed a possible correlation with having an active VM running in VMWare. Still researching, but thought I'd ask...
I do have VMWare Fusion, but it was closed down during my tests.
I ended up getting a Anker USB 3.0 aluminum hub. I sent back my Mic to Behringer (RMA), and still awaiting a verdict. My Edirol Keyboard (8 years old) appears to have suffered from the age issue where all the keys quit working. Requires tearing apart all the octaves, and sanding the graphite buttons lightly. I opted after doing this for a hour and tearing up my fingers removing springs to just buy a new 49 key keyboard. More reliant on USB Hubs now running on a laptop fulltime.
Still uncertain what fried this Behringer Mic, but I see a ton if windows users (threads) with the same problem. I did take the mic to Mountain Lion where it was last known to work fine, and the OS change did not make a difference.
Thanks to everyone for the very useful information.
I just bought a Macbook Pro Retina (late 2013) and upgraded my USB hub to a 3.0 version from Plugable (the 10-port model). The first time I tried to perform a Time Machine backup to my external drive (Other World Computing Mercury Elite Pro) using USB 3.0, the drive was repeatedly ejected during the backup process. Plugging the drive directly into the Macbook worked fine with no random ejections.
I contacted Plugable and they immediately sent me a replacement hub with the newest firmware. Assuming that this would solve the problem, I swapped the replacement for my existing hub, connected the external drive, and began a time machine backup. Within minutes, the external drive ejected itself. This happened several times. Then the drive became unreadable. Then I ran disk utility and found that the time machine volume was corrupted and cannot be repaired. Disk utility advised me to move all files off the drive and reformat it. Luckily, I have multiple backups, but this result is disastrous.
I contacted Plugable support, explained the situation, and got back the following note:
"I hope that a different hub will yield better results but I do caution, most USB 3.0 hubs on the market today share the same internal designs as our using the VIA VL81x series chipset. It's very possible a replacement even by a different brand may behave similarly. It also may work perfectly, I honestly cannot say. We've had reports from customers mentioning their external hard drive occasionally gets dropped off the USB bus on their Mac computers, but never to this extent of massive corruption. On the flip-side, Windows users never seem to report drives being dropped. I'm not sure what this tells us other than we may need to communicate back to VIA that more testing on the Mac platform is required."
I am really shocked at this terrible compatibility between USB 3.0 hubs and Macs. I've used Macs for decades and assumed that any such incompatibility would be, at the very least, more widely publicized.
If anyone finds a usb 3.0 hub that doesn't use the VIA VL81X chipset, please let folks know whether it has the same compatibility issues.
I've dealt with several MacBook Airs, 2012-2014 models, running OS X 10.8, 10.9, and 10.10, and had issues with both Anker and Dodocool USB 3 hubs with Gigabit Ethernet where the Ethernet ports are not recognized if the computer sleeps or restarts with the hub connected. The hub either must be disconnected and reconnected, or the user must navigate to the Ethernet System Preference Pane, select the USB Ethernet port, select Make Service Inactive by clicking on the gear wheel, clicking Apply, then selecting Make Service Active and clicking Apply once again.is
These USB 3 hubs work fine on hardware running Windows, and I suspect would perform the same on a Mac running Windows with Boot Camp.
I have had these problems on THREE Mac Minis now: two i7s and one two-week-old i5, and about five different Anker 13-port USB3 hubs. Apparently there is just no way to have 10+ 5TB USB3 Seagate Backup Plus HDDs on a Mac. Back to USB2, I guess.... I want my money back on the i5 so I can buy a REAL computer that will Just Work. :-p