Powered USB hub vs. Unpowered

AaronHeth

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2005
95
0
Savannah, Georgia
I bought a Mac Mini yesterday and have been looking around for a USB hub. I've done some research and notice some complaints from unpowered USB hubs while others find them fine. Since I know there must be some people here with experience with both, I thought I'd ask. Unpowered hubs are considerably cheaper.

The only things I have really are a keyboard, mouse, digital camera, and printer (which has its own power supply). Maybe an old webcam.

I know an unpowered hub would work with a mouse and keyboard just fine, I only worry about my digital camera and printer (even though, as I said, it has its own power supply).

I also have an iPod but I suppose I'll just make use of my Firewire port from now on.

This is my first Mac, and I love it.
 

gwuMACaddict

macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
3,124
0
washington dc
i said, if you *GET* a shuffle

powered is handier anyway, you never know what peripherals you'll want in the future.

just an opinion
 
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strider42

macrumors 65816
Feb 1, 2002
1,460
6
unpowered hubs aren't wortht he trouble. You'll eventually run into a problem with them. Just get a powered hub and you won't have to think about it again.
 
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kgarner

macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2004
1,512
0
Utah
gwuMACaddict said:
powered is handier anyway, you never know what peripherals you'll want in the future.
I always get powered hubs for precisely this reason. Always easier to pay a little more now and not have to replace it when you buy something that wants a powered hub.
 
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grapes911

Moderator emeritus
Jul 28, 2003
6,994
3
Citizens Bank Park
You should be fine with an unpowered hub, but I can't recommend it for a desktop. A powered hub is worth the extra money. I know my 1GB flash drive has trouble in my G4 PowerMac keyboard. The only time I recommend a non-powered hub is when you want it to be portable on a laptop.
 
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decksnap

macrumors 68040
Apr 11, 2003
3,068
70
So the question is, are the ports in the Mac Mini 'high-powered' like they are in other Macs. If they are, then you can use one port for a non-powered hub, and if you ever need to use anything that requires high-powered like a shuffle, you can use the port on the back of the system. That's what I do with my old G4 tower.
 
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jalagl

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2003
802
1
Costa Rica
I second the recommendatio for a powered hub. Both my flash card reader or USB memory require a powered USB port to work, for example.
 
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TBi

macrumors 68030
Jul 26, 2005
2,582
0
Ireland
I think the max current for a single USB port is 500mA. So everything on the unpowered hub added together must draw less current than that if you want it to work.

On a powered hub all the ports on it will be able to supply the 500mA so it will work better with your peripherals.

You'll probably get by fine with an unpowered one, you can always use the second free usb port on the mini to power any devices which really need it. However a powered one would be the safer option. We spend extra on a mac over a pc because we know the extra is worth it, you should have the same mentality with your peripherals :)
 
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AaronHeth

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2005
95
0
Savannah, Georgia
Thanks for all the information. I got a powered one, found one that really wasn't expensive at all. It has a port for an AC adapter and includes one, so it can be portable too. You know, I've never been to a forum before where more than one or two people post their thoughts and have been helpful.
 
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DrRock

macrumors regular
Jun 18, 2005
159
0
^

I just picked up a Belkin 4 port powered hub yesterday for $30 at Best Buy. It has three ports on the back, and one on the top, seemingly designed for use with ipod shuffle. If you don't have the shuffle, it works great for the other versions, or other things that will only be hooked up temporarily like cameras. I have my keyboard and scanner in the back, with one slot open for my printer, which will eventually be hooked up. I still have my front slot open on my tower as well, so I should be set.
 
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YS2003

macrumors 68020
Dec 24, 2004
2,139
0
Finally I have arrived.....
I was able to run a mouse and 1 GB flash drive at the same time with a non powered USB hub. It depends on how much power each equiment you connect to the hub needs and how much power your one USB port of your notebook can supply. If it goes over the power limit, OS will tell you the hub does not have enough power to run the attached equipment.

I have a bunch of USB hubs (and firefire hubs) and some of my USB hubs have AD adaptors. Sometimes, I forget which AC adaptor goes with which hub as there is no logo or clear id on the AC adaptor which comes with USB hub.
 
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jamesW135

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2005
609
0
For me I dont need it, because for some reason my printer,mouse,and512 megabyte flash card all run off my 4 port non-powered usb hub.
 
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