Miscellaneous Ramblings

Miscellaneous Ramblings Review

Keyspan 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub

Charles Moore - 2003.01.13 - Tip Jar

USB 2.0 is not really a Mac thing - at least so far. While all new models since the 1998 iMac have had USB 1.1 ports, USB 2.0 was conceived at least in part as competition for Apple's FireWire technology and has not yet been used by Apple. Macs now have FireWire as their fast data transfer protocol; USB 1.1 handles lower-speed peripheral demands like pointing devices and printers.

However, USB 2.0 is gaining wide acceptance in the PC orbit, which means that it will be supported by a wide range of peripherals, some of which will likely be of interest to Mac users. USB 2 peripherals include hard drives, drive enclosures, CD burners, hubs, networking devices, and digital video devices, and are expected to eventually include a vast range of devices such as printers, scanners, digital cameras, PDAs, speakers, and webcams.

Consequently, it's good to note that it is quite easy to upgrade your Mac to support USB 2.0, as long as it has an open PCI slot available or will support a CardBus PC card adapter (see notes on adapters at the end of this article, and read Should you upgrade your PowerBook to USB 2? for more on the topic).

USB 2 support is built into Mac OS X. While some USB 2 adapters will work with OS 8.6 through 9.x, you only get USB 1.1 speeds with these classic operating systems.

At any rate, most of us need a USB hub to supplement the one or two built-in USB ports on our Macs. I find that these days even having a four port USB hub hooked up isn't always enough.

The subject of this review is Keyspan's 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub. I have been a satisfied user of an older model Keyspan USB hub for several years now, and it has given excellent performance. However, its flat, rectangular design and old iMac fruit color scheme (mine is strawberry) has been superseded by a more compact, rounded unit in classier black or silver, and is available in both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 models.

The USB 1.1 version is twenty dollars cheaper, but if you have upgraded to the USB 2.0 - or think that you might in the future - the USB 2.0 unit will have you covered, and it supports both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices, although the latter will still operate at USB 1.1 speeds (which is to say a maximum of 12 Mbps).

USB 2.0 has a maximum throughput of 480 Mbps., which nominally exceeds standard FireWire's 400 Mbps, but benchmark comparisons I've seen suggest that FireWire is faster in real world use.

Back to our USB hub. One major difference with this hub compared with my old strawberry Keyspan 4-Port USB hub or the new Mini 4-Port USB hub that I use with my new iBook, is that the USB 2.0 unit is a powered hub, meaning that it requires an AC power adapter in order to work.

The other two Keyspan hubs I referenced can draw their power from the computer's USB bus to support low-powered devices like mice and keyboards, although they also have power adapters that must be used if any individual device requires more than 100 mA. The Keyspan 4-port USB 2.0 hub supplies 500 mA to each port. You can also daisy chain up to four of these hubs in succession.

The hub has a power LED to indicate that it is receiving power from the AC adapter, and an LED at each of the ports, which normally glows green when a device is plugged into the port, but it changes to amber if current draw exceeds the maximum 500 mA.

I like KeySpan stuff, and this USB hub is no exception. Construction and materials quality are first-rate, and the AC adapter seems quite robust as well. A high-speed USB device cable is included with the package.

The only downside of the hub it is the lack of bus power capability, but if you are using USB 2.0 devices or certain higher current draw USB 1.1 devices, you will need external power anyway. If your USB 1.1 demands are more modest, check out the very cool Keyspan Mini 4-port USB Hub, which I recently reviewed on Mac Opinion.

The Keyspan 4-port USB 2.0 Hub sells for $59.95. The standard USB 1.1 model is $39.95.

Features:

  • Easy connections. Add new peripherals instantly without shutting down your computer.
  • Full power. This powered hub delivers full 500 mA to each attached USB device.
  • High speed. Each port supports speeds up to 480 Mbps.
  • Expandability. Attach more hubs to connect up to 127 USB devices.

System requirements:

  • At least one available USB port
  • Mac OS 8.1 or greater, Mac OS X 10.1.3 or greater
  • If the Mac does not have a USB 2.0 port, this hub operates at USB 1.1 speed.

Keyspan also makes both PCI and CardBus USB 2.0 adapter cards that support the Mac.

The Keyspan USB 2.0 CardBus Card includes a small power adapter. Use of the power adapter is optional and Keyspan USB 2.0 CardBus Cardensures that a full 500 mA of power is available to USB devices that are attached to ports on the CardBus card. Cards that do not include a power adapter are not able to provide a full 500 mA of power on each USB port.

Features:

  • Adds two USB 2.0 Hi-Speed ports to your PC or Mac
  • Compatible with both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices
  • Supports data rates up to 480 Mbps
  • Includes small power adapter
  • Supplies 500 mA power to each USB port
  • Supports up to 127 downstream USB devices
  • Compliant with EHCI, OHCI, and CardBus standards
  • Easy Plug and Play installation
  • Backed by a five year warranty

System requirements:

  • At least one available CardBus slot
  • Mac OS 9.2.1 or greater
  • PowerBook G3 or G4 with an available CardBus slot

Price: $99.

The Keyspan USB 2.0 PCI Card adds five Hi-Speed USB ports to your Keyspan USB 2.0 PCI CardMac or PC. The card supports USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 peripherals.

Features:

  • Adds four external and one internal USB 2.0 Hi-Speed ports to your PC or Mac
  • Compatible with both USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices
  • Supports data rates up to 480 Mbps
  • Supplies 500 mA power to each USB port
  • Supports up to 127 downstream USB devices
  • Compliant with EHCI, OHCI, and PCI 2.1 standards
  • Easy Plug and Play installation
  • Backed by a five year warranty

System requirements:

Price: $59.

Go to the Miscellaneous Ramblings Review index.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

Links for the Day

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Page not found | Low End Mac

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it?

It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for. Perhaps searching, or one of the links below, can help.

Most Used Categories

Archives

Try looking in the monthly archives. 🙂

at BackBeat Media (646-546-5194). This number is for advertising only.

Open Link