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Author Topic: USB 3.0 hub: powered or not? Also, observations.  (Read 2901 times)
walter.sk
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« on: January 12, 2011, 12:55:16 PM »
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Running an i7-930 processor, Windows7 64-bit, nVidia GTX460 with 1GB memory, and 6GB DDR3 RAM, soon to be replaced by 12GB (max for my machine).

I just installed a SIG USB3.0 2-port adapter card, and bought a pair of 2TB Western Digital My Book Essential drives, USB 3.0 capable.  The cables that came with the drives are too short to run them at the far end of my desk, which is the only space available for them.  For about the same cost as a pair of longer USB 3.0 cables I could get a 4-port USB 3.0 hub, which would allow me to use my current cables and still reach the desk area involved.

Question: For about equal cost I can get a non-powered external hub, or one with a wall-wart power supply.  In the ancient world of USB 2 the powered hubs were necessary for some devices, but I don't know how USB 3.0 works.  Would I be better off getting the powered hub in case future USB 3.0 devices might require them?

Observations:  While USB 3.0 claims to be 10 times faster than USB 2,  I have found that the increase in speed when transferring a mix of 10mb raw files and 32mb-100mb tiff files was about twice as fast, depending on the size of the source drive.  Copying 1.4 Tb of picture files from a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black averaged about 35 mb/second.  Copying about 750 Gb of similar files from a 1TB Caviar Black averaged about 52mb/sec.  The rates for my old Maxtor external USB 2 drive averaged about 30mb/sec on both tasks.  So the USB 3.0 drives are appreciable faster, but not astoundingly so.

More important, I think, was the fact that continuous copying over a period of hours and 1.4Tb of data was done without the USB 3.0 My Book Essential drive getting anything but mildly warm.  It also comes with a power switch in the back (I have read about various external drives no longer having switches), which makes it easy for me to leave them connected but turn them on only when needed.  I don't yet know about their reliability, but I am very pleased with their performance and design so far.  I was able to get them for $130 each.
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nsnowlin
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 11:07:17 AM »
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I had the same question when I got my new, and similar to your, desktop.  I err on the cautious side and would get a powered hub.

My experience transferring files differs greatly from yours.  I get closer to the 10X speed.  However, I bought a USB-3 case and put a fast 7200 RPM disk in it.  (There are access speed differences with some 7200 drives.)  Most after market USB-3 drives come with 5000 RPM disks in them.

Stu
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walter.sk
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 12:15:29 PM »
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Thanks for the reply.  I got a powered hub and 2 WD MyBook 2TB USB3 drives, and everything works well.  The transfer rates vary wildly depending on the size of files and the particular internal drives involved.
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