By PURPLELEC | 24 July 2023 | 0 Comments
Selection Guide for USB Hubs
A USB hub (USB HUB) is a multi-purpose expansion peripheral that allows the computer to add USB, Type-C, AC power and other interfaces. It is quite practical for groups that need to use multiple USB devices at the same time for office work, file processing, and even gaming. It can be divided into two charging methods: external power supply and direct connection to the computer, and the products sold on the market are very rich in both brands and types.
about USB specifications
Before choosing a USB hub, you must confirm the USB specification and speed. Currently, there are mainly USB 2.0 or higher products on the market. The specifications within the range are listed below.
USB 2.0: 480Mbps
USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen1): 5Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB 3.1 Gen 2): 10Gbps
Although the above are theoretical values rather than measured values, basically the larger the number, the newer the model and the faster the transmission speed. If you need to transfer a large amount of data quickly, the model above USB 3.2 is the best solution. However, the transmission speed will also vary depending on the connected device, please refer to the following purchase points for purchase.
Key points for purchasing a USB hub
Next, we will introduce how to choose the USB hub that best meets your needs in the vast sea of devices.
Choose according to the specifications of the equipment you usually use
When using a USB hub, the most important thing is to confirm whether your computer and other devices support its specifications. The following will explain how to confirm the specifications and how to choose a suitable model.
To be on the safe side, first confirm the USB specification sheet
The USB specification of each computer is different, and the transmission speed will also be different. The easiest way to judge is to check the color of the jack itself. Generally speaking, the red jack supports USB 3.2 Gen2, the blue jack supports USB 3.2 Gen 1 and below, and the black or white supports USB 2.0 and below.
It is right to choose a new type of connector when you do not know the specifications.
Generally, new USB connectors are backward compatible. Basically, USB 3.2 Gen1 is also compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. When you don’t know the specifications supported by your computer, it’s safest to choose the highest-grade USB hub. Although the hubs corresponding to the new version of USB 3.2 Gen2 on the market are expensive, their backward compatibility will be very useful when replacing a new computer in the future. You may wish to refer to them when purchasing.
However, it should be noted that the transmission speed is based on the specifications supported by the computer. Even if the USB hub has a higher specification, it will be useless if the computer does not support it. In addition, no matter what the situation is, it is not compatible with USB 1.0. Although there are almost no USB 1.0 products on the market, it is still safe to pay attention to it.
Computer power supply vs external power supply
There are two power supply methods for the USB hub. One is to directly use the power supply connected to the computer, and only one cable can be used to connect the USB port and power supply. It's just that the available power depends on the port of the computer, and it is easy to be in short supply when encountering a machine that consumes a lot of power. Therefore, it is more suitable for connecting small speakers, keyboards and mice and other devices that do not consume much power.
The other is the form of external power supply. The AC transformer is the main power supply method. It can operate stably without power shortage as a major advantage, so it is suitable for some large-scale equipment such as printers; however, it may make it more difficult to tidy up messy work areas because space for transformers and wires needs to be reserved.
In addition, there are products that support both methods at the same time, as well as USB hubs that can be connected to PD (Power Delivery) for data transmission while charging the computer. When choosing, it is recommended to decide which power supply form is ideal according to the type and quantity of peripheral devices you want to use.
Choose according to the type of interface between the computer and the USB device
There are two main types of USB hub connectors: "Type-A" used by most U disks, and "Type-C" that can be used for MacBooks, game consoles, and new Android system laptops. The hub itself can also be divided into an upstream interface (PC side) and a downstream port (USB device side). It is important to pay attention to whether the shape of the two sides is consistent with the computer and the equipment to be used for expansion.
In addition to USB devices, some of them also include HDMI, card readers, AC adapters, and even Type-C slots, etc. For those who are interested, please refer to them for comparison.
The length of the wire and the relative position of the ports also affect the ease of use
Others, such as the number of ports and expansion slots, and the length of wires are also things that need attention, and it is best to choose according to the number of commonly used devices, placement and other usage habits.
Pay attention to the interval between the ports and whether they are arranged vertically or horizontally
The smaller the size of the hub itself, the narrower the interval between the expansion slots (USB ports). If the interval is too narrow, it is usually difficult to plug and unplug the device. If there is a need to frequently replace connected devices, it is not suitable for small-sized products. In addition, the arrangement and combination of the slots is also very important. The common arrangement methods are vertical and horizontal, and some even have side attachments. Since the sizes of the connectors of different devices are different, those with a slightly larger size may cover two slots. In this case, it is better to choose a longitudinal design.
Select the wire length according to the use environment
The length of the cable is also something that must be paid attention to when purchasing a USB hub. If the device to be connected is placed next to the computer, you can choose a shorter one, such as the 5 ~ 15cm type that is common on the market, or the product directly connected to the wireless cable. Be aware that the model without a cable may block other interfaces. If the device is far away from the computer, it is better to use a long cable, and you can refer to the product with a cable reel or a swivel plug to avoid the situation that is difficult to store and organize.
Bonus points for additional functions such as power saving and LED indicators
Most of the USB hubs are placed, but those with magnets on the bottom and can be fixed by adsorption are also very popular because of their convenient organization. Although it is a simple gadget, it may still have a power-saving switch that can switch the power supply, and LED indicators that help confirm the operating status of the device and other intimate functions. I believe it can further improve the overall practicality.
Pay attention to whether it will interfere with the surrounding equipment
Everyone's working environment is different, and the computer expansion devices used are not the same, so there may be mutual interference, such as affecting the Wi-Fi signal, or bluetooth failure caused by interference and other unexpected situations. Although the manufacturer will list the applicable environment in detail in the user manual, there may be situations that even the manufacturer cannot predict. At this time, you can refer to the experience of users with similar working environments to help troubleshoot difficult problems.
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