Generic 4 Port USB Hub - Part 1

By Wilfred
02/05/99

Hardware One

Introduction

The year 1999 is where we see adopters of USB becoming a common place. The range of devices to use this nifty interface are starting to flood the market. We see USB mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, webcams, modems, speakers, gamepads and joysticks selling in shops all over.

"The ability to connect up to a maximum of 127 devices into one PC (via multilevel tiered star topology using USB hubs), makes running out of connectors a remote possibility."

USB is established as a standard connector to make adding peripherals to PCs easier than ever. Without USB, you would have to determine what kind of connector your device use and whether you have an available port to support it. The keyboard and mouse plugged into PS/2 ports, modem into serial port, joystick and gamepad into gameport, scanner into parallel or SCSI port, printer into parallel port. What a mess!

Now, using USB devices will give you the added advantage of true plug-&-play as well as the ability to hot plug and swap them about. The ability to connect up to a maximum of 127 devices into one PC (via multilevel tiered star topology using USB hubs), makes running out of connectors a remote possibility.

With direct support of USB in Windows 98 as well as the presence of USB controllers and supported BIOS in today’s machines, the pains are indeed minimal. My own short experience has been a pleasant one. In fact, I love this new method of connection so much I’ve quickly outgrown the 2 USB connections ports found on my Asus P2B motherboard. This brings me to the generic 4 Port USB hub I purchased to support my devices.

Considering the growing number of USB peripherals suggests that most users will soon end up, like me, with more devices than USB ports on their PCs. Therefore, getting a USB hub would be a necessity sooner or later.

"The added bonus was that I got the 'iMac' coloured version, a translucent green see-through case. Cool!"

With a Creative Webcam II, HP Scanjet 4200C and Creative Cobra to think about, I quickly made a trip to SLS where I purchased this S$75 generic 4 Port USB hub. Since most shops either didn't sell them or displayed them in obscure corners, I didn't have the chance to pick and choose. After a short deliberation at the specifications on the box, I went ahead to pay by NETS.

I first tore open the box when grabbing a bite at the food court downstairs. The thing was so tiny and <I refrain> cute! It measured only 10cm by 6.5cm by 2cm - about the size of my Intellimouse. The added bonus was that I got the "iMac" coloured version with a translucent green see-through case. Cool!

"The advantage of this is that the hub will be able to provide a full 500mA per port."

The heavy weight of the package was immediately noticeable and the culprit was none other than the AC adaptor - a damn heavy brick if you ask me. Nevertheless, it was really love at first sight and I couldn’t wait to see it sit elegantly on my desk. =)

 

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