A USB 3.0 Hub and Gigabit Ethernet Adapter!

Last month we took a look at the Diamond Multimedia UE3000 USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and found it to be a simple way to add a Gigabit Ethernet port to a desktop or laptop PC. The one problem with this adapter is that it used up one of your computers USB 3.0 ports! We recently ran across another Gigabit Ethernet adapter, the Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet Adapter, that looks very promising. This device plugs into a USB 3.0 port, but has three SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet port built-in. It also comes with a wall power adapter, which means you can use to to charge USB devices without being hooked up to a PC.

The Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (part number UGT-MH330GNA) costs $40.47 shipped. This is about $10 more than Diamond UE3000 Gigabit Ethernet adapter, but you get the USB 3.0 hub and power adapter with this model. The device will work with Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 64, Windows XP, Windows XP Media Center Edition and Mac OS X 10.6 and later. Additionally it is compliant with both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 specifications.

 

Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Vantec UGT-MH330GNA Product Description:

The Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet once again revolutionizes the way data are move between our computers to our devices. The integrated Gigabit Ethernet port with the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 standard, easily add three USB ports to any computer ensuring that all your USB needs are met. With the transfer rates of up to 5Gbps for USB 3.0 and 1000Mbps for Gigabit Ethernet, it allows you to copy videos, music, photos, data files between USB devices and at the same time connects to your network at blazing speed. The Vantec 3 Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet is an ideal solution for anyone seeking a well-designed hub which fuses a sleek and compact design without sacrificing any of its functionality.

Vantec UGT-MH330GNA USB 3.0 Hub Features:

Vantec UGT-MH330GNA Gigabit Ethernet Features:

Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub Bundle

Inside the Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet retail box you'll find the a USB 3.0 Micro-B cable, user's manual, driver CD, power adapter and the USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet itself. We plugged in the Vantec hub into a free SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port on our ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Ultrabook that was running Windows 8.1 and the latest driver was automatically installed.

Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub Ports

The Vantec Gigabit Ethernet Adapter uses the ASIX AX88179 Chipset and supports all USB 3.0 power saving modes (U0, U1, U2, and U3) as well as IEEE 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet).  The adapter measures 99 x 66 x 18mm. The adapter itself without cords weighs 58 grams due to the all light-weight plastic enclosure.

 Vantec Gigabit Ethernet

On the back side, the Vantec UGT-MH330GNA has a power port, USB 3.0 Micro-B port, two LED indications and the ethernet port. The first LED indicator shows that the Power On Indicator that turns on when the Docking Stations is powered up. The other is the Ethernet Link/Activity Indicator and it turns on steadily when network link is established and flashes when network activity takes place.

  Vantec Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 Hub Cables

Here is a quick shot the the supplied power and USB 3.0 cables installed.  Now that we know more about the device, let's cut straight to benchmarking on a Gigabit network and trying out the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports!

Test System

We wanted to test the Diamond SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter in a real world setup, so we connected it to our ASUS Zenbook Prime Ultrabook that is running Windows 8.1 64-bit To test the wired performance we used the Alienware M17x R4 gaming laptop that was directly connected to the ASUS RT-AC66U Dual-Band Wireless-AC1750 Gigabit 802.11ac Router. The Alienware M17x R4 features an Intel i7-3610QM CPU with 6GB RAM running Windows 7 64-Bit, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M video card.

asus80211acrouter

We used the Aleinware laptop to run LAN Speed Server and then ran LAN Speed Test on the Ultrabook system with the USB NIC adapter to test throughput. We left the router in default mode, which means that the router was left in “Unsecure Mode” (for fastest data throughput), and with WMM / QoS turned ON. After connecting, we ran the PC application LAN Speed Test (LST) to measure file transfer and network speeds using both 1MB and 100MB packet sizes. LST builds a file in memory and then transfers the packet without the effects of windows file caching. It then reports the time and calculates the network speed. We used 6-foot long CAT6 cables for the RJ45 runs.

ASUS Diamond and Vantec Gigabit Adapters

We will be comparing the new Diamond Multimedia UE3000 USB 3.0 Gigabit network adapter to the 'free' ASUS 10/100M USB 2.0 network adapter that came with the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A Ultrabook. This should show you how much your network speeds can improve by moving up to a Gigabit controller and the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface.

asix-usb2

The ASUS USB 2.0 10/100M Ethernet Adapter uses the AX88772B controller from ASIX Electronics Corporation. This is a low-power USB 2.0 to 10/100M Fast Ethernet Controller.

asix-usb3

Diamond Multimedia and Vantec both use a controller from ASIX Electronics Corporation, the newer AX88179 USB3.0 to 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet Controller. The AX88179 is the world's first USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet controller which integrates USB 3.0 PHY and 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet MAC/PHY in a single chip.

1MB Packet Performance

 

ASUS USB 2.0 10/100M Network Adapter:

asus-1mb

Diamond Multimedia UE3000 USB 3.0 10/100/1000 Gigabit Network Adapter:

diamond-1mb

Vantec USB 3.0 10/100/1000 Gigabit Network Adapter:

lst-1mb-three

Benchmark Results: When transferring 1MB packets the ASUS USB 2.0 10/100M adapter that came with the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A averaged 78Mbps read and 93Mbps write, which is obviously slow. The Diamond Multimedia USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000M Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter (UE3000) averaged 664Mbps read and 687Mbps write. The Vantec adapter uses the same controller as the Diamond adapter, but came in a tad slower with 630Mbps read and 538Mbps write averages. This is likely due to the design differences of the boards used in each adapter as this one has the USB 3.0 hub as well. We tested with and without the power adapter and there was no difference in performance. Yes, that means you don't have to use the wall power adapter if you are just using Gigabit ethernet.

100MB Packet Performance

ASUS USB 2.0 10/100M Network Adapter:

asus-100mb

Diamond Multimedia UE3000 USB 3.0 10/100/1000 Gigabit Network Adapter:

diamond-100mb

Vantec USB 3.0 10/100/1000 Gigabit Network Adapter:

LST-100mb-test

Benchmark Results: With 100MB packet sizes we found ASUS USB 2.0 10/100 adapter averaged 77Mbps read and 93Mbps write. The Diamond Multimedia USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter (UE3000) averaged 642Mbps read and 757Mbps write and the Vantec USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN Network Adapter  averaged 586Mbps read and 615Mbps write.

USB 3.0 Hub Performance Testing

To test out the USB 3.0 hub performance we used a Patriot SuperSonic Magnum 256GB USB 3.0 Flash drive. We reviewed this drive back in March 2013 and it is still the fastest thumb drive that we have ever used. We use it daily and figured it would be the ideal USB 3.0 Flash drive to test out the performance of the USB 3.0 hub.

Directly Connected to the USB 3.0 Port:

direct-usb-speed

Connected to the Vantec UGT-MH330GNA USB 3.0 Hub:

vantec-usb-speed

Benchmark Results: Oddly enough, the sequential read/write performance of the Flash drive actually went up slightly when connected to the hub. The difference was nominal though and we were really just making sure there wasn't a major performance hit with the hub.

usb-hub-full

The one thing that we noticed with the Vantec USB 3.0 hub is that the ports are very close together. Most USB 3.0 flash drives are fairly wide, so you might only be able to use the two outside ports if you have say three Patriot SuperSonic Magnum Flash drives. Normal USB 2.0/3.0 cables will fit fine three across as will many standard sized USB driver like the three in the image above. All three drives are recognized at the same time and we had no issues with three drives installed and the Gigabit Ethernet running.

fully-loaded

The last thing we did was fully load the Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 channels to see what happened if you had both active at the same time. We noticed that the USB 3.0 performance would dip down to around 280MB/s and 140MB/s read on average from a maximum score of 304MB/s read and 159MB/s write with no Ethernet traffic at all. We expected to see a small decrease in performance and that is exactly what we saw. To be honest, we expected the performance to fall greater than this, so this is good.  It should also be noted that we were able to do this test with no external power source, so this was just the Vantec adapter being powered by the single USB 3.0 port!

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

vantec-usb-hub

The Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet is a product that many mobile users will like. Most Intel Ultrabooks only have one or two USB 3.0 ports and if you need a USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet adapter it means that you'll possibly be down to one open USB 3.0 port or worse yet, none.  This hub takes up one USB 3.0 port, but in return gives you a three USB 3.0 port hub and Gigabit Ethernet!

Our performance testing showed that USB 3.0 performance was just as good as being directly connected to a native port and the Gigabit Ethernet port was hands down faster than the 10/100 USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter that is included with most Intel Ultrabooks. This could also easily add Gigabit Ethernet capabilities to a Desktop PC that had a LAN controller fail, sparing you from replacing the board or adding an internal card.

We found that on our particular test system that the power adapter was not needed, but we did find a use for it at home. We were able to use the Vantec adapter as a USB charger for our smartphones and other devices when not being used on our PCs. Some notebooks can't charge your mobile devices when they are powered down, so you can use the power adapter to make this a stand-alone USB charging station. Clearly, this is not the intended function of this product, but a real-world use that we found.

The Vantec 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (part number UGT-MH330GNA) costs $40.47 shipped. It is also backed by a 1-year limited warranty should anything go wrong. The price is competitive and most USB hubs have a 1-year warranty, so everything here is within reason.

At the end of the day the Vantec USB 3.0 Hub w/ Gigabit Ethernet is something that we recommend to those that need a wired Gigabit connection without losing any USB 3.0 ports on their system. If that sounds like something you are looking for, you have finally run across the solution to your problem.

 

ASRock Z77 Pro3 Legit Reviews Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The Vantec USB 3.0 Hub w/ Gigabit Ethernet adapter transforms a single USB 3.0 port into a Gigabit Ethernet connection with three useable USB 3.0 ports in mere seconds!

vantec-usb3-hub-bundle