For those of you that have recently purchased or are looking to purchase a netbook, notebook or ultrabook, one thing is certain, not all models are created equal and even the higher-end products don't always come with every feature you want. One situation I can think of is when I purchased a netbook without researching, and found out on the day of delivery it had no wired Ethernet connection at all.
To fix this situation, I scoured the internet for USB to Ethernet adapters, and came across quite a few. The downside to all of these is they would take the only USB 3.0 port I had leaving me with slower USB 2.0 for my personal use. Vantec has recently announced an exciting new product to combat my woes offering both a three port USB 3.0 hub with an additional Gigabit Ethernet port, making this a solid all-in-one solution.
Furthermore, this hub is externally powered if need be, to charge USB devices quicker and more efficiently, without going over the power limits of your on-board controller. On the networking side, the Gbit Ethernet port supports all modern standards with 802.3x flow control and auto-negotiation, even jumbo frames. Compatibility extends from modern Windows operating systems to Mac OS X 10.6+. Warranty period for this product stands at one year.
The scope of delivery for the Vantec USB 3.0 Hub includes the user manual, driver CD, USB 3.0 cable, power adapter and of course the hub itself.
Looking at the hub, you will find the three USB 3.0 ports placed horizontally across the front of the device.
The backside houses the power connection, mini USB 3.0 port and Gigabit Ethernet port.
The material chosen for the USB 3.0 Hub are mostly plastic with a bit of added shine to them.
Here we stacked three of our favourite and very quick USB 3.0 flash drives into the hub to check for any spacing issues between the ports. It is safe to say, with standard sized flash drive, you shouldn't run into issues. Drives like the Supersonic Magnum from Patriot, which tend to be a bit oversized, could present issues in this layout.
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To accurately test the USB 3.0 Hub, I first ran our results with our Lexar P10 connected to our native USB 3.0 ports. After which I placed the Vantec USB 3.0 Hub into our native port connecting the P10 to it to measure for any speed loss that could be attributed to the hub. For testing the networking aspect, I ran the Vantec through our multi-stream throughput test that simulates heavy network traffic.
First, our native tests where we have the Lexar P10 reaching sequential speeds of 232 MB/s read and 224 MB/s write.
Now running our Lexar P10 through the Vantec USB 3.0 Hub, we find no performance loss at all with the same numbers coming through in the end.
In our multi-stream throughput test, the Vantec held its own against our on-board Intel Gbit and the PCIe Intel Pro 1000 PT.
The Vantec USB 3.0 Hub w/Gbit is one of those devices I call a 'problem solver'. While there are many devices that offer Gbit Ethernet over USB 3.0, many don't offer the additional support of three USB 3.0 ports. In fact, many take your only available USB 3.0 port, especially on compact devices like netbooks.
Performance in all categories was great. We saw no noticeable decrease in performance when using the USB 3.0 hub with our Lexar P10, and the Gbit networking side was just as efficient as our PCIe and on-board network adapters.
List price of the Vantec USB 3.0 Hub w/ Gigabit (UGT-MH330GNA) is set at $55.99, but I was able to find it a several online retailers for around $46. So, if you're in need of a SuperSpeed USB hub, but want the additional functionality of Gigabit Ethernet, the Vantec UGT-MH330GNA is one to look for indeed.