USB Hubs - good or bad?

Posted on 2009-07-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-07
Have purchased new Vista PC and need more USB ports than it has. What is + or - of using those USB Hubs which connect to 1 PC port and allow either 4 or 6 USB port connections on the HUB.

Is there a difference in specs or manufacturer re: which performs best? On my old PC, I always got a message like "device would run better if connected directly to PC USB port..." so I'm wondering what to do.

Please advise. Thanks.
Question by:photoman11
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • +4
LVL 66

Assisted Solution

johnb6767 earned 80 total points
ID: 24831580
I never saw that message, just the one about "it would perform better ina  2.0 port"
Basically, make sure that you get one that has it's own power source. That way you wont have any issues with devices not working due to not enoug power at the hub....Thats about the only - I have....
Oh, and make sure it is USB 2.0.

Assisted Solution

MentorJay earned 80 total points
ID: 24831583
If you are using a USB2 hub, you shouldn't get that message.
My rule of thumb is to connect the devices which get the most traffic (hard drives, burners) to the motherboard ports, and low-traffic (Scanners, printers, etc) to the hubs.

LVL 23

Assisted Solution

ComputerTechie earned 160 total points
ID: 24831958
I also try to get a usb hub that has firewire if you use firewire device like a camcorder.

Manage your data center from practically anywhere

The KN8164V features HD resolution of 1920 x 1200, FIPS 140-2 with level 1 security standards and virtual media transmissions at twice the speed. Built for reliability, the KN series provides local console and remote over IP access, ensuring 24/7 availability to all servers.

LVL 92

Expert Comment

ID: 24833824
you can use any USB hub you like, but i recommend buying a Powered Hub, so the devices do NOT load your usb chips of the PC, or burn them out.
any usb port provides only 0.5 A at 5 V = 2.5 W max.
and you can connect up to 127 devices to it.
an example :

Expert Comment

ID: 24835720
You could also get a PCI card that has 4 or more ports, I have one and it works perfectly.
No hassle with additional power supply for the hub, which you need if you want it really working as it should. Many times one device uses all the power.

Author Comment

ID: 24836089
Thanks everybody. That helped a lot.  Just to make sure I understand what you're saying...

I will be good to go if I get a POWERED 2.0 USB Hub. If I do, I won't have any problems with Vista or messages regarding devices running faster if they were connected DIRECTLY to the USB port on my PC. Right?

Are all powered USB hubs, powered the same (in other words .5 A at 5 V)?

A salesperson from Best Buy told me that the USB ports on the front of most computers are generally not shielded or wired as well as the ones on the back. Is this true? If it is, would that mean that they should only be used for connections that are periodically made, as opposed to devices that are always used when the computer is on?

Assisted Solution

pewpewdink earned 80 total points
ID: 24836292
for one, never listen to a retail person at Best Buy, especially when it comes to Apple (side note)

HOWEVER, he is (somewhat) on the right path that cheap OEMs (like Gateway) build with cheap cases, and are bad in general. But of course they are not wired the same, because the ones on the back are soldered directly to the motherboard, where as the front case ones are wires that connect to leads for "external" USB on the board. In theory, all powered USB hubs are powered the same, because they must be standardized, but ive run into weird imported hubs with strange voltages, so just stick with a well known brand.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 24836298
I agree  with pewpewdink i would ether go with the power hub or add a usb card to the computer.


Author Comment

ID: 24836342
Thanks again. By the way, my new PC is an HP so I don't know if they follow the good or cheap wiring approach.

When it comes to USB hubs, what are some of the better-known brands (I don't need some elaborate reviews or anything, but to me one name is the same as the other in this particular niche).

And as a side note, on my old PC, I had installed a four port USB 2.0 PCI card, which worked fine. I just don't have any idea if this would also fit and/or work with my new HP PC. I could always call technical support I guess and hope I get somebody good. I can just see myself trying to install this PCI card myself and wind up shorting everything out or breaking something.

On the other hand, a new USB port won't risk breaking anything.
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

ComputerTechie earned 160 total points
ID: 24836380
You usb card should work fine in the hp and is simple to install.
Your computer should install the drivers and work fine.

You could get an hp / belkin brand usb hub.

LVL 92

Accepted Solution

nobus earned 100 total points
ID: 24837523
here a guide how to install the pci card :
and yes, it works on all XP pc's and later

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31602457
This really helped. Nobus, great article on pci installation, thanks!

Featured Post

Create the perfect environment for any meeting

You might have a modern environment with all sorts of high-tech equipment, but what makes it worthwhile is how you seamlessly bring together the presentation with audio, video and lighting. The ATEN Control System provides integrated control and system automation.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Suggested Solutions

Title # Comments Views Activity
need to clone a white copy of a linux device 2 107
robocopy 33 155
multiple reboots in a pc.. (event id 6006) 5 86
Windows 10 Sysprep problems 14 90
You have seen this as an option on your internet browser before or it may be completely new to you.  But what does this mean and why would I use this?
Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 10 Creators Update in just a matter of weeks. Are you prepared? Follow these steps to ensure everything goes smoothly and you don't lose valuable data on your PC.
The viewer will learn how to successfully create a multiboot device using the SARDU utility on Windows 7. Start the SARDU utility: Change the image directory to wherever you store your ISOs, this will prevent you from having 2 copies of an ISO wit…
The viewer will learn how to successfully download and install the SARDU utility on Windows 7, without downloading adware.

738 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question