Are USB Hubs safe and are they strong enough to power external drives?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MartinAppleGuy, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #1
    Hi all. I was looking into getting a 4 way USB hub for my iMac such as this one : ****************wWOfXm

    So I have a few questions regarding such a purchase. First of all, can these USB hubs damage either peripherals or my iMac? Second, would the one linked above be enough to power an external Hard Drive?

    Now my uses for it would be to gain more ports and have an external HDD connected to it to store games on for my Windows partition on my iMac. Will Windows still recognise the hard drive when it it connected through this hub?

    Highly appreciate and look forward to the replies :)
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    The link didn't post correctly.

    If you're going to use bus-powered external drives, I would highly suggest getting a self-powered USB hub, one that has a power adapter that plugs into the wall.
     
  3. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #3
    Your link isn't working. However USB hubs are safe, there isn't any way they can damage a device. If it is a powered USB hub then you have no worries about it being able to power an external drive, if not then it may or may not be able to.
     
  4. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #4
    Here is the one I went to link above; search this on Google and it's the first result (Amazon) :

    Anker® Unibody USB 3.0 4-Port Aluminum Hub with Built-in 1.3-Foot USB 3.0 Cable
     
  5. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

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    #5
    From the amazon page
    I'd say look for a powered hub.
     
  6. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #6
    If I used one of my iMacs ports of the external HDD! Would the USB powered hub still be enough for having 4 USBs in at a time?
     
  7. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #7
    I have a couple of the powered Anker USB 3.0 hubs (but mine are black and have more ports). I have a bunch of hard drives hooked up to them. They work fine. Anker makes pretty slick products at reasonable price points.

    However, bus-powered portable hard drives (e.g. WD Passport) won't work with bus-powered USB hubs (like the one you linked) and can be finicky even with powered ones, depending on the computer, the hub, and the drive. There is no hub that is guaranteed to work with those. Last time I checked with my current setup, they seemed to work fine.

    p.s. come on MartinAppleGuy - 1,500+ posts and you don't know how to link? ;)

    ----------

    Can you trying rephrasing your question?

    This Anker should work pretty well (but obviously there are a hundred out there to choose from.
     
  8. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #8
    First off, I extreamly sleepy. That should explain the bad grammar as well as the lack of a working link (I do web development so that's disapointing :p).

    I've been thinking, I should be fine without a hub. Will an external HDD (such as the WD passport) be fine with a standard iMac ports?
     
  9. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 31, 2009
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    United States
    #9
    Honestly wasn't trying to give you a hard time, but I simply could not understand what you were trying to ask. Even the second time, it took me a moment to figure out what you were asking.

    So, I gather you're asking whether you can plug your WD passport directly into a USB port on your iMac? The answer is yes. (that's seems like such an obvious question/answer, i'm still not sure if I'm understanding your question).

    Best of luck! :)
     
  10. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #10
    That is what I was asking, sorry, clearly lack of sleep has got the better of me ;) Now it reads like you have a lot of personal experience in this, so would you recommend an external HDD? It would be used as a secondary drive for my Windows partition where I would store Steam games (so they don't take up space on my internal HDD that I want to keep space on for my Graphic Design work) on this external drive. I'm looking for something between 500GB and 1TB and of course something reliable. It would not be used in traveling, so portability is not a concern. Is there any sort of desktop external HDD's of that capacity at a reasonable price?

    Also reliability is a concern, so I was really wanting to stay away from Seagate as I've read that they have high failure rates over the likes of samsung and WD.
     
  11. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    While there have occasionally been instances of problems with a particular hard drive model, they all have similar reliability. However, I'm partial to Western Digital since around the time they originally release the "green" drives. Out of a couple of dozen WD drives, I've had a couple fail on me. I think external drives that get moved around a lot are particularly susceptible to failure. A good backup strategy is important! (edit: what I really mean is the HDD's themselves are all relatively equal in reliability, but the external enclosure part can vary quite a bit between manufactures).

    Anyway, the WD Passport is a great little drive, and reduces cord clutter. It has a relatively short cord though, so you'd need to keep it right next to your iMac (depending on your desk setup, you could probably attach it to the back of your iMac and not even know it was there!). I always have a couple hanging around.

    For larger "powered" external drives, all of mine I put together myself (i.e. got an external drive enclosure and purchased the hard drive separately). I have several very nice Anker enclosures (brushed aluminum), but unfortunately it looks like they stopped selling them. I've tried the WD MyBook drives, and I'm not a big fan - kind of cheap feeling, bulky, and high failure rates - YMMV. They're very inexpensive though.

    Yeah, lots of users keep their Steam games on a separate drive for space reasons. Here's an official Steam support page on how to do it.
     
  12. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #12
    OP asks above:
    [[ If I used one of my iMacs ports of the external HDD! Would the USB powered hub still be enough for having 4 USBs in at a time? ]]

    No.

    You need a POWERED USB hub.
    That means, a hub that comes with a separate power supply of its own that you plug into a wall outlet.

    Bus-powered hubs aren't going to serve your needs.

    Check carefully when shopping.
    Make sure that whatever you're considering is "powered" (there should be some indication of that in the description).
    You DO NOT want "bus powered".
     
  13. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #13
    Why are 4 way bus powered ones sold if they could not handle 4 USBS sticks at a time? How many can they candle?
     
  14. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #14
    Keyboard, mouse, game controllers. All those would work FINE on a bus-powered hub.
     
  15. MartinAppleGuy thread starter macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

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    Sep 27, 2013
    #15
    That is extremely disappointing.
     
  16. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #16
    It all comes down to the USB spec. Also consider that each additional device will add additional power draw. The hub needs power to run itself, so when you consider that a HDD likely pulls nearly the max power a USB port can supply by the spec, adding the hub to that draw will be too much for a single port. Also, just as with other communications devices, if you move the device further from the source connection you increase the risk of data corruption without a signal booster. A powered USB hub can also act as a signal booster.

    Maximum current (on non-charging devices so ones that use the data channels) is 0.5-0.9A. Western Digital doesn't post the power draw requirements for their drives but for a spinning drive you'll need very close to that 1 amp to start/run the motor to spin the drive.
     
  17. ron7624 Contributor

    ron7624

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    Houston, Texas area
    #17
    Agreed. Be sure to get one that has its own power source. Depending on the device, the power needed varies and a non powered hub may not give you enough juice. They are not expensive and if you don't need the external power, you can unplug.
     

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