Important things you need to know about USB hubs

By | May 10, 2011
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As you know from our last article on USB hubs, they are a convenient way to add more USB ports to your computer. Most often, you won’t need a powered hub. Powered hubs are only necessary for certain things – for instance if a USB device requires a lot of power – more than can be provided by a bus-powered hub. A bus-powered hub is fine for plugging in your USB mouse, USB flash drives, card-readers, or even charging your cell phone or other devices that can be recharged using a USB port.

The one thing you cannot use a bus-powered USB hub for adding more RAM to your computer with a ReadyBoost flash drive to boost your computer’s RAM. If you want to use a flash drive (only USB ReadyBoost-ready flash drives please) to boost your RAM, always plug it directly into a USB port on your computer. The reason? Many USB hubs are USB 2.0 compliant, but aren’t as fast as the USB 2.0 ports on your computer – and the fast transfer of data required when boosting your computer’s RAM with a ReadyBoost flash drive requires more power than a bus-powered USB hub can provide.

Non-powered USB hubs – also known as bus-powered hubs – are great for adding USB ports to your computer. But remember, you are splitting the power of one USB port into four. And though most unpowered hubs have voltage regulators to split the power evenly between the four ports, you can’t use bus-powered hubs for power-hungry, high-drain USB devices like printers, scanners, Web cams and computer monitors, etc.

If you have a USB hub, you can plug your mouse, card readers, USB flash drives, cell phones, eReaders (to recharge them) and other devices which do not require a lot of power. Save the USB ports on your computer for high-drain devices like printers, Web cams, scanners and monitors – and for boosting your RAM with a ReadyBoost flash drive. Having extra USB ports available for low-power-drain devices like keyboards, mice, USB flash drives, card-readers, etc. is always a good idea because they save the powered USB ports on your computer for devices like printers, scanners, Web Cams, monitors, and other high-drain devices – and for using to boost your computer’s RAM with a ReadyBoost-ready flash drive, like our MegaBoost flash drive.

While there are powered hubs are available, they can be quite expensive. And though they have their own power supply, you still might not be able to plug more than one high-drain device into it. Unpowered (or bus-powered) hubs are the most popular because of their reasonable cost and their usability. Our HubbaMan 4-port USB hub is a bus-powered USB hub that you can use to add more USB ports to your desktop or laptop computer. And if you’re like us, you can’t have too many USB ports.

2 thoughts on “Important things you need to know about USB hubs

  1. Anne Marie Radigan

    I am using XP and want to know if I can boost my RAM with a ReadyBoost flash drive.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      ReadyBoost is not available in Windows XP. It’s available in Vista and Windows 7.

      Reply

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