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  • tlkrenzer Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I recently purchased a MacBook Pro 15" with Retina Display thinking I would have no problem finding a USB 3.0 hub to supplement the dearth of USB ports that come with the machine. How silly of me, LOL1

     

    This thread has been very enlightening but I am wondering if any of you have experience with a reliable, more modestly-priced hub? (The price on Amazon for the Anker Uspeed USB 3.0 7-Port Hub is rather costly at $197.35)

     

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    I took a look at the Belkin, out of curiosity, and wouldn't consider it for the following reasons:

     

     

    • It uses a Micro-B connector on the hub which I've found to be unreliable resulting in interrupted connections. (I have a box of bad ones, never a bad Type-B.)

     

    • They don't mention the chipset or firmware to ensure compatibility. I bought an earlier Belkin model that was unreliable and poorly designed, totally unacceptable. This is a new model, but what's inside?

     

    • They don't list the current available for charging, only referring to it being "fast". What? If only the USB 3 standard, that's 900 ma, short of the 1A normally provided by Apple iPhone chargers.

     

    • It won't charge an iPad according to the manufacturer.

     

    • The power adapter only has a 1 meter cable, not long enough to reach from the desk to an outlet without adding an extension cord. Clumsy.

     

    • The specifications listed for the technically inclined.

     

    • At $60 it's way too expensive for what you get; and there's not much information on what you do get!

     

    For $30, or half the price, Amazon has a Plugable 4-port USB 3.0 powered hub through Amazon that addresses all these concerns; Plus you get a 5th charging port for your iphone or ipad. See what you think:

     

    http://amzn.to/1dwalHj

     

    ~IMO

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    TLKrenzer

     

    WOW! $197 for a USB 3.0 hub can't be correct. Would you post a link so we can see what's selling for that price? Something in the range of $30 to $60 would be more typical. Below is an example.

     

    http://amzn.to/1dwalHj

     

    I'm currently using the 7-Port version (without a charging port) and find it to be well designed, good quality, and nice looking with the aluminum themed Macs. Best of all, it's been working. It could be used as a standard to judge others.

     

     

    The points mentioned in the previous comment may provide a checklist of sorts for buying a hub. I've used 20 different hubs to find one that is reliable and works. That was a long and difficult period over almost a year and a half with about 70 hours on the phone with Apple, inumerable trips to the Genius Bar, and countless emails with vendors and maufacturers.

     

    I do not recommend the Anker hub because the ads I've seen have not specified the firmware version and they were evasive in providing information on firmware upgrade versions. I have two of the 7-Port black hubs with prior firmware that they tell me is not upgradable. They're unacceptably unreliable on my MacBook Pro Retina. The new ones may be better, but they've not shared the details to determine that.

     

    Chipsets should be at least the VIA VL812 with firmware version 90.81, or the chipset should be a VIA model VL812-B2. I've had a vendor (KDLinks) tell me the version was determined by the hub manufacturer and they werern't told what they were getting and had no way of knowing. I sent them directions how to readily find this information (it's in System Information under USB), but they never got back to me.  Prior versions did not work reliably with the Mac USB 3.0. If the vendor can't assure you specifically which chipset and firmware they're selling, avoid them. When you get the hub, verify that they sent what you ordered.

     

    ~ Good luck.

    IMO

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    My Plugable 7 port with the latest VL812 should be delivered today. I should clear the snow off my steps. I sure hope this works!

     

    doug

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Doug,

     

    You hadn't mentioned the Anker model you had. I'm surprised that you had so much trouble with the  Anker® USB 3.0 9-Port Hub + 5V 2.1A Smart Charging Port with 12V 5A Power Adapter [VIA VL812-B2 Chipset and updated Firmware 9081]

     

    I had an Anker 10 port aluminum hub I ordered a year ago hoping for good results That didn't happen, of course. I'm sure the new ones are totally redesigned. I'm surprised that Anker Support didn't send out a new one in your case. Didn't support try to "fix" the problem?

     

    Another, a 10-Port Satechi hub I tried would only handle 3 drives and they had to be connected to the 1st 3 ports nearest the connector to the computer/hub cable. Apparently there are 3 chips in the 9-port (plus power port) and only one of the connections to each chip can accommodate a drive. As they stated it on their 10 port hub, which I bought in July:

     

    We recommend that no more than three external hard drives be connected to the 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub at one time. The 10-Port Hub contains three chipsets (one chipset can operate one external hard drive efficiently). The three external hard drives should be connected to the first three ports on the hub (closest to the power source).

     

    That's old school, and I don't know if that 3 drive limit might still apply in some fashion with the VL812 chipset, but there is a potential that the wrong ports were used on the Anker. That would be interesting to know.

     

    ~ IMO

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    Yes, the Anker was the first one I got. I could tell it was iffy from the get go because when I connected the drives the port lights weren't always turning on.

     

    Anyway, the delivery man just brought the Plugable, so I'll plug it in and see how it goes.

     

    doug

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Doug,

     

    Which Plugable USB 3.0 hub did you order, the aluminum or the black 7-Port?

     

    I'll be wondering how it goes, and wishing you well.

     

    ~

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    The aluminum 7-port. Model is USB3-HUB7A.

     

    doug

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    Yay. I'm happy to report that the Plugable 7-port aluminum with the VL812 chipset and 5V 4A power supply is working fine.

     

    Whew. Finally.

     

    Network speed is holding steady at at least 130 Mbps (the Anker and the Buffalo seemed to cause the wi-fi to stop working when the WD drives were connected to the hub).

     

    The construction is very nice. The port lights indicate they are active. I hope this continues to work.

     

    Here is a photo showing everything connected. (By the by, insert image doesn't work with Chrome here.)

     

    doug

    PlugableUSB3Hub.jpg

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Nice setup Doug. The hub looks to be the same as mine.

     

    Out of curiosity, what firmware version did they send? If you don't know where to look to look, it's in System Information.

     

    [From the Apple menu on the Menubar, hold Option then click on System Information. Click on USB in the Sidebar, then on the SuperSpeed bus.] It should look something like this:

     

    MacBook_Pro-9.jpg

     

    Note that this window does not refresh. It will have to be regenerated each time.

     

    Hopefully this will solve all your problems.

     

    ~ Tim

     

    Hmmm, I got an error when I went to publish. It says to look below, but there are no error messages below. The only thing I can guess is that the image is too large.

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    My version appears to be 85.81. Should I be concerned? Is the firmware upgradable?

     

    doug

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    On their home page it says:

     

    Firmware updates should not be necessary for any of the USB3-HUB7A units sold to date.

     

    Mine does say USB3-HUB7A on the box.

     

    doug

  • Doug Lerner2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,030 points)

    More detail. At their site it says:

     

    No Update Needed

    Units purchased after 10/2013 may contain the VL812-B2 chipset with the firmware version 9081, or the VL812 with 8581. In either case, this is the latest firmware version and there is no need for an update.

     

    So I assume since I bought it now, that it must be the VL812 with 8581 and that is the latest firmware. Perhaps you have the VL812-B2 with the 9081?

     

    I don't know how to confirm the chipset model. But for the VL812 it does say the 8581 is the latest firmware.

     

    See: http://plugable.com/2013/10/30/plugable-usb-3-0-hub-firmware-upgrades2/comment-p age-1#comment-19221

     

    doug

  • AWMarine Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    To TLK,

     

    Wow, I suppose they'll try to sell you a bridge also. They're totally out of line with the market, but I suppose they sell enough from their grab-bag to make it pay.

     

    Thanks for sending the link. Are you shopping Amazon from Japan, or how did you come up with that link? If you're located in Japan, then you should connect with Doug as your Amazon would be different from the one in the US.

     

    What is it you need? 4-Ports, 7-Ports, 9 ports? With or without a charging Port? What are you conneccting to it?

     

    I've been using a Plugable 7-Port USB 3.0 powered aluminum hub for the past couple months and it's been working.

     

    Presuming they're available from where you are, here are a couple links to consider.

     

    4-Port + Charging Port  $30  ➤  http://amzn.to/1dwalHj

     

    7-Port   $35 US ➤  http://amzn.to/1byycGF

     

    These prices should be more attractive than the ones at the link you'd sent.

     

    Take care,

     

    ~ IMO

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