Are all USB hubs useless?

badlydrawnboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 20, 2003
1,179
172
I have a 5k iMac. Bought an Anker 9-port USB 3.0 hub a while back. The problem I'm having is that most of the devices I want to plug into the hub don't seem to play nicely with it. This includes a ScanSnap scanner, Epson R3000 printer, Wacom tablet, a Compact Flash card reader, and an RME BabyFace audio interface.

I've talked with the manufacturers of most of these devices, and they say they are best plugged directly into the computer. But of course that's impossible when you only have three USB ports!

So at this point I'm stuck with manually unplugging/plugging things in, which gets old after a while.

I'm hoping maybe it's my particular hub, so that's why I'm posting here. But from what the manufacturers say, it's more of a problem with hubs in general. What has your experience been?
 

Chughes

macrumors newbie
Aug 4, 2009
23
9
I had a Belkin USB 3 4-port hub that worked pretty well, when powered by its 5V power adapter.

But honestly, I would suggest getting a Thunderbolt Hub, I have used the Belkin and OWC, and the OWC hub is far supperior. 5 additional USB ports, with 2 of them being "High-powered", better for devices that draw more bus power.
 
  • Like
Reactions: badlydrawnboy

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I have used many USB hubs and found that flaky power adapters cause all sorts of issues. I think you should either heed the advice of @Chughes and get the Thunderbolt adapter or try a different USB hub.
 

badlydrawnboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 20, 2003
1,179
172
I had a Belkin USB 3 4-port hub that worked pretty well, when powered by its 5V power adapter.

But honestly, I would suggest getting a Thunderbolt Hub, I have used the Belkin and OWC, and the OWC hub is far supperior. 5 additional USB ports, with 2 of them being "High-powered", better for devices that draw more bus power.
Thank you both. I didn't even consider a Thunderbolt hub. Just ordered one—will be perfect, as I could also use an extra TB port and microphone in along with the 5 USB ports.
 

JTToft

macrumors 68040
Apr 27, 2010
3,447
792
Aarhus, Denmark
Thank you both. I didn't even consider a Thunderbolt hub. Just ordered one—will be perfect, as I could also use an extra TB port and microphone in along with the 5 USB ports.
- You won't gain an extra TB port from using a TB hub. One of the two ports on the hub is for connecting to your machine. After plugging it in, you're left with the same amount of available TB ports as before (which is pretty neat in itself).
 

badlydrawnboy

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Oct 20, 2003
1,179
172
- You won't gain an extra TB port from using a TB hub. One of the two ports on the hub is for connecting to your machine. After plugging it in, you're left with the same amount of available TB ports as before (which is pretty neat in itself).
Ah, right. Still, if the 5 extra USB ports actually work, and I also get an extra mic and audio out port, I'll be happy!
 

ColdCase

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2008
2,992
149
NH
My USB hubs work great for just about anything except hard drives.The only issues I've had were with bad cables. USB hub chips come in four ports, and they daisy chain them within the enclosure to provide more ports. Sometimes the USB protocol breaks down with these layers.

My Startech TB docks work better, especially for drives and DP displays, but I also use a pluggable 8 port USB hub connected to one of the dock's USB ports to provide connections for a printer, couple DVD drives, iphone... seamless never an issue. USB drives fill the other dock ports. Why does it always seem you need one more port than you have?

You may still see some quirky behavior if the MacOS doesn't play well with your devices.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.