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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:39 PM   #1
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External SuperDrive and USB3 Hubs

I finally decided to replace my old MacPro with a new Mac Mini and an external USB SuperDrive. Since all of the Mini's 4 USB ports are populated with stuff I already own, I decided to purchase a USB 3 hub. After much research, I found a new 7 port USB 3 hub that actually has a power supply with enough capacity to actually power all 7 ports (believe it or not many multi-port USB hubs do not have enough power to supply all of their ports simultaneously). I settled on a 7 port USB 3 hub. What is unique about the hub is that it allows USB 2 an 1.1 devices to be connected to it without slowing down other USB 3 devices that may be on the hub. To my dismay, when I plugged in the SuperDrive, I got an error message that there was insufficient power for the device. I checked the out the power supply and the individual ports and determined that the power supplied met the USB standard. I tried all the ports with the only the SuperDrive attached and kept getting the same error. After contacting the hub manufacturer's tech support they confirmed that there is an Apple "proprietary hand shake" that goes on between the Mini (as well as Mac Air's, etc.) and the SuperDrive that will not pass through the hub's controller chip. Turns out many USB hubs may not work with the SuperDrive and various new generation Mac notebooks and the Mini. The hub works fine with the Mini and other USB devices, but not the SuperDrive.
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 07:53 PM   #2
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Fortunately, you have 4 USB 3 ports on your mini, and can use one of them for the SuperDrive. Right? Just move one of the occupied ports over to the hub.
2012 Mac mini, 2.6GHz i7, 16GB, 1TB Fusion ; 2011 13" MacBook Air, 1.7GHz i5, 4GB, 256 GB Samsung SSD ; iPad mini retina 128GB WiFi+LTE ; iPhone 5S Gold 64GB ; iPod Classic
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Old Nov 12, 2012, 08:10 PM   #3
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Which hub was it?
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Old Nov 13, 2012, 11:36 AM   #4
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Hub Brand

The brand I bought is "Plugable". Interestingly, another brand (Uspeed) appears to be virtually identical (same chip set, size, shape, power supply rating, etc.) and it has a note stating that it is not compatible with Macbook Pros equipped with a Retna display. However, the unit I purchased works fine with everything else except the SuperDrive. I'm using a plain, non-brand name USB cable extension right off the back of my mini and the drive works fine with it so I'm good. I can still use the hub with my iPhone,iPad, USB web cam, etc..

2012 Mac Mini, quad core i7 Ivy Bridge, 16 GB ram, 1 TB HD.
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Old Nov 14, 2012, 07:32 PM   #5
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The external Apple SuperDrive consumes more power than standard USB ports can provide. Custom firmware in the drive and the mini communicate to permit more power from the built in ports. You won't get this from an external hub.

Do as suggested.
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