Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: AUKEY

Confronting the growing lack of laptop I/O

The trend with laptops in the past couple of years has been to drop many of the inputs that were once standard. Ethernet was an early casualty of the Ultrabook design, and now even standard USB ports are missing from the thinnest designs. USB Type-C does offer an all-in-one solution, but laptops with no other connectivity require dongles and adapters to be practical. AUKEY’s USB C Hub is one option to add I/O back to your machine in a single package, and they sent one over so we could check it out.

DSC_0152.jpg

In case you haven’t heard of them, AUKEY is a common sight when browsing Amazon, offering a wide range of adapters and accessories. This CB-C55 has now been superceded by the "improved" version which offers media card slots on the side as well, but we are looking at the standard version today.

DSC_0153.jpg

Continue reading our review of the AUKEY CB-C55 Multiport USB-C Hub!

Corsair's flashy new RGB fans and controller

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 22, 2017 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: corsair, ML120 Pro RGB, ML140 Pro RGB, Lighting Node PRO, Corsair Link, hub

Corsair's ML120 and ML140 Pro RGB fans connect physically to the Lighting Node Pro or RGB hub, allowing you to use Corsair's Link software to program animated RGB lighting inside your case.  The price of these fans sets a high bar for them to meet, a three pack of ML120 Pro RGBs with the RGB Hun and Lighting Node Pro will cost you $120 or a two pack of the ML140s plus controller runs you $100.  The Tech Report tested the fans against CoolerMaster's MasterFans and were quite impressed, Corsair's fans provided more effective cooling performance as well as being significantly quieter.  If you are in the need for high end RGB fans, this is a decent investment but you really have to need them.

illuminated2.jpg

"Corsair's ML120 Pro RGB fans pair an innovative magnetic-levitation bearing with RGB LED lighting for a fan that's both functional and flashy. We put a trio of these spinners to the test to see whether their performance matches their good looks."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Manufacturer: Inateck

One hub to rule them all!

Inateck sent along a small group of connectivity devices for us to evaluate. One such item was their HB7003 7 port USB 3.0 hub:

DSC02348.jpg

This is a fairly standard powered USB hub with one exception - high speed charging. Thanks to an included 36W power adapter and support for Battery Charging Specification 1.2, the HB7003 can charge devices at up to 1.5 Amps at 5 Volts. This is not to be confused with 'Quick Charging', which uses a newer specification and more unique hardware.

Specifications:

  • L/W/H: 6.06" x 1.97" x 0.83"
  • Ports: 7
  • Speed: USB 3.0 5Gbps (backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1)
  • Windows Vista / OSX 10.8.4 and newer supported without drivers

Packaging:

DSC02346.jpg

Densely packed brown box. Exactly how such a product should be packaged.

DSC02347.jpg

Power adapter (~6 foot cord), ~4.5 foot USB 3.0 cord, instruction manual, and the hub itself.

Charging:

Some quick charging tests revealed that the HB7003 had no issue exceeding 1.0 Amp charging rates, but fell slightly short of a full 1.5A charge rate due to the output voltage falling a little below the full 5V. Some voltage droop is common with this sort of device, but it did have some effect. In one example, an iPad Air drew 1.3A (13% short of a full 1.5A). Not a bad charging rate considering, but if you are expecting a fast charge of something like an iPad, its dedicated 2.1A charger is obviously the better way to go.

Performance and Usability:

DSC02519.jpg

As you can see above, even though the port layout is on a horizontal plane, Inateck has spaced the ports enough that most devices should be able to sit side by side. Some wider devices may take up an extra port, but with seven to work with, the majority of users should have enough available ports even if one or two devices overlap an adjacent port. In the above configuration, we had no issue saturating the throughput to each connected device. I also stepped up to a Samsung USB T1 which also negotiated at the expected USB 3.0 speeds.

Pricing and Availability

Inateck is selling it these direct from their Amazon store (link above).

Conclusion:

Pros:

  • Clean design 7-port USB 3.0 hub.
  • Port spacing sufficient for most devices without interference.
  • 1.5A per port charging.
  • Low cost.

Cons:

  • 'Wall wart' power adapter may block additional power strip outlets.

At just $35, the Inateck HB7003 is a good quality 7-port USB 3.0 hub. All ports can charge devices at up to 1.5A while connecting them to the host at data rates up to 5 Gbps. The only gripe I had was that the hub was a bit on the light weight side and as a result it easily slid around on the desk when the attached cords were disturbed, but some travelers might see light weight as a bonus. Overall this is a simple, no frills USB 3.0 hub that gets the job done nicely.

Video Perspective: HooToo HT-UH006 7-port USB 3.0 Hub

Subject: General Tech | November 20, 2013 - 05:45 PM |
Tagged: video, usb 3.0, hub, hootoo

Many times throughout a given week, we get products from vendors or from our own purchases that just find their way onto a shelf.  Rarely used and even more rarely discussed, you'd likely be ashamed of me for the number of devices we come in contact with that don't see a word of coverage on this very tech site.

A USB hub might have been one of those items but this model was worth discussing thanks to its relative performance and price.

The HooToo HT-UH006 7-port USB 3.0 hub is, despite the silly sounding name, a capable product that does exactly what it states it will do: split a single USB 3.0 connection into 7 ports capable of USB 3.0 performance.  My quick testing with the device showed nearly identical benchmarks of our USB 3.0 enabled SSD both directly connected to the back of my motherboard and through the HooToo hub.  With 280 MB/s read speeds and 175 MB/s writes, I was essentially seeing the limit of the drive in question.  I don't expect the hub to support more than those kind of performance levels IN TOTAL on the 7 ports though.

ht-2.jpg

One thing the HooToo does not do, despite having an optional external power connection, is charge your iPad or other USB power hungry accessories.  A quick look with our USB power meter showed our iPad Air only getting 0.46 amps of power through the USB 3.0 hub; the same power draw was recorded directly from the PC as well.  This charge level did not increase when we connected the external power connection.  Our search for a perfect multi-amp USB charger with multiple ports continues...

The hub is very light which actually becomes more of a problem than a feature for me.  Sitting on my desk, I would prefer a heavier device that is less susceptible to movement and cable tug than the HooToo was.

ht-3.jpg

But, with a price tag of only $35 on Amazon.com, the HooToo 7-port USB 3.0 hub is a simple yet useful device for most PCs.  I no longer have to run an extension cable around to the front of my system to plug in additional USB thumb drives, even fast ones.  Testing out new keyboards or mice is as simple as plugging the cable into the HooToo box on the top of my desk.  If you are looking for a USB hub capable of USB 3.0 speeds, the HooToo 7-port seems like a solid choice.