I am computer challenged and have some questions. I have an iMac OS X 10.4. I want a unit that has multiple USB 2.0 hubs and also reads SD memory cards. Does Plugable have such a beast? Also, is USB 3.0 compatible with OS X 10.4, or do I have to upgrade my iMac? What is the advantage of a power adapter (e.g., Plugable’s USB 2.0 10 port hub)?
Thanks for contacting Plugable and for considering our products.
Plugable does not make any combined USB hubs and card readers. We don’t even offer standalone card readers. But we do have several USB hubs. And once you have a USB hub, you’d have enough ports that you could connect a USB-based card reader from another manufacturer. Here’s how it all works.
A USB hub is great for adding additional USB port to a computer where all the built-in USB ports are already in use. Say you have a computer with three USB ports and three USB devices attached to those ports (e.g., a USB keyboard, a USB mouse, and a USB printer connection). Then you get a USB card reader or flash drive that you want to connect to the computer. How do you connect it with no free ports.
Rather than doing something like unplugging the printer every time you want to connect the card reader or flash drive, instead you could plug a USB hub–for example, we’ll say the Plugable 10-port USB hub–into the USB port where the printer was connected, and, voila, now you’ll have a bunch more USB ports to which you can connect that printer, flash drive, card reader, and other USB devices for which there previously were no free ports.
A self-powered hub–that is, one with its own power plug–is incredibly useful when you have USB devices attached to the hub that draw their power from the USB connection.
Some devices, like most printers, use the USB port to establish a data connection but don’t need power from the USB connection, because printers usually have their own power adapters. But other devices, like USB flash drives, use their USB connection both for data transfer and to get power.
When you have a self-powered hub (again, one with its own power plug) you will have more available amperage to power devices connected to the hub that rely on the USB connection for power. It’s not infinite amperage. The needs of your devices still are governed by USB standards for how much power each device can consume, and in aggregate they can’t exceed the amperage available in the power adapter.
USB has gone through many three main iterations of standards on such matters as the data transfer rates and power management through the USB connection. USB 3.0 is the latest standard. However, your computer, because of its age, will not have any native USB 3.0 ports, so there is no value in you purchasing USB 3.0 products. Basically, if your computer only has ports that meet the USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 standards, you can’t transform them to behave like USB 3.0 ports by connecting USB 3.0 hubs and devices. Instead, those hubs and devices will just downgrade to act like USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 devices–depending on the type of port to which they’re connected–or potentially not work at all.
I hope this information has helped answer your questions. You can see all our hubs and other offerings at http://plugable.com/products. For any additional questions either before or after a purchase, don’t hesitate to write again. We are here to help.