Monday, 9 February 2015

Quick Review: 1byone 7 Port USB3 Hub with Charge Port


Key Features...

7 Port USB3 Hub with 1 Smart Charging Port (5V/2A).

Compliant to USB 3.0 specification revision 1.0 and USB specification revision 2.0.

Fully integrated single chip implementation, Industry-first integrated 5V DC-DC switching regulator.

One up-stream supports Super-speed, high-speed and full-speed traffic.

Four down-stream ports, supports Super-Speed, high-speed and full-speed traffic.

Charging Downstream Port(CDP) feature for rapid-charging.

In-house USB PHY employs advanced CMOS process for  low power consumption.

Supports USB 3.0 low power states, full side-band signal functions include gang mode and LED status lights.

Full software support for Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003, 2000, ME and Mac OS 10X also various Linux kernels.

Product Dimensions 2.3 x 11 x 4.3 cm



The 1byone 7 Port USB3 Hub comes well packaged. The box includes a 780mm long USB3, Type B lead,  plus a 12v 3A amp power supply. No driver disk is supplied, or required, for windows operation.


The unit is well made, constructed from a 110mm,  1.6mm wall thickness,  aluminium extrusion and has nice weight to it.


The supplied  cable is rather short at 780mm in length, yet, thumbs up for the USB3 B type connector, which I much prefer to see on peripherals such as this. It gives a good solid connection, even when moved, unlike the current trend to install a feeble Micro USB3 on everything.



The row of LED's down the right hand side show, when a device is powered and active.



Charging...



The unit is supplied with a 12v, 3A power supply, yet chargers the bottom USB socket (7) at a rate of up to  2A.  The 1byOne hub incorporates a internal DC-DC converter to regulate the power to a more USB friendly 5volts .


Although the bottom USB3 socket is labelled for charging, it still operates as a normal USB3 socket. This makes it ideal for power hungry external 2.5" spinning hardrives which, can peak at 1A on power up. This is often the down fall of many USB hubs, due to high start up currents and voltage drop in cables. The extra current, is also useful for powering other projects, such as the new Raspberry Pi B 2 :)

One thing of interest in the instruction sheet is the following statement...

Power Usage Alerts:
2. This hub is not meant to serve as a stand-alone charger. It is not compatible with iPads or any other devices with irregular charging requirements.
By all reports, the charging port works correctly with Apple products. At a guess, I would call this statement a cautionary disclaimer on 1byones part due, to the fact, Apple have been know to change their charging requirements, to stop 3rd parties.

When charging my Nexus 4, current draw was around the 900-1150ma range, which dropped to 440ma when using any other port other than charging port 7.


Charging a Linx8 Windows 8 Tablet, resulted in a current draw of around 1200ma @ 4.77v

Idle output voltages measured high @ 5.19v, which is usual, this allows for voltage drop in longer or less efficient cables.

Running "Quake Live" on the Windows 8 Tablet, voltages dropped to 4.88v @ a 1.2A charging load.

Teardown...


The 1byone incorporates the latest Via VL812- Q7 Chipset's, supporting data transfer rates up to 5Gbps and features built in power regulation.



Each Vl812 chipset supports 4x USB3 ports, in this implementation, the 1ByOne uses two Vl812's to support a total of 7 ports.


In the above photo, you can clearly see an unpopulated power button silk screen foot print.
A feature that would have been nice, but probably dropped due to cost cutting.


Each of the ports are protected by a resettable PolyFuse.


Overall PCB construction is decent.



Testing...

System Specs:

Intel Core i5 4670 CPU
Gigabyte Z87-D3HP  Motherboard (Intel Z87)
Windows 7 64 Bit

Crucial M4 SSD in a Kingston HyperX USB3 Enclosure
up to 500MB/s Read / 95MB/s Write

Sandisk Extreme 64GB USB3 Memory Stick (SSD Controller)
up to 245MB/s Read / 190MB/s Write




1byone 7 Port USB3 Hub:
Sandisk Extreme 64GB USB3 Memory Stick 



1byone 7 Port USB3 Hub:
Crucial M4 SSD  / Kingston USB3 Enclosure



We also tested against the Intel Z87 motherboards native USB3 implementation, the results were near identical to the 1byone 7 Port USB3 Hub.

Gigabyte Z87-D3HP  Z87 Intel Motherboard:
Sandisk Extreme 64GB USB3 Memory Stick



Gigabyte Z87-D3HP  Z87 Intel Motherboard: 
Crucial M4 SSD / Kingston USB3 Enclosure


I had hoped,  the 1byone  hub would ,have worked from BUS power alone, with exception of the charging port feature.This would have been like many other Vl812 based hubs, but alas, this was not the case. The 12v power supply needs to be connected at all time for the unit to function and be detected by the operating system.

Overall, we were pretty impressed by the 1byone 7 port hub, with the exception of a few minor gripes.



What We Liked...


Price £22.99 (Amazon.co.uk)

USB3 OFC!

Great performance, compared with the motherboards native USB3.

Design, build quality.

2 Amp Charge Port.

Multi USB port protection.


What We Disliked...


No Rubber Feet

Short USB3 Cable.

No BUS power option.

Unpopulated power button on the PCB.