Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brief review of the Moxa UPort 407 industrial 7-port USB hub

I've had the Moxa Uport 407 for a while now.  Not sure why I didn't write about it before, guess it slipped my mind.

I got it because I needed a real powered USB hub.  Not these rinky-dink pieces of crap you see everywhere from Best Buy to Memory Express, that purport to deliver 500 mA per port out of a 300 mA AC adapter.

(Seriously, what is it with USB and powered hubs?  Do people really have to put up with that crap?  Or do people basically not care?  Probably the latter, as 99% of the people have no problems and don't know any better.)

Anyway, I cared because my USB peripherals were not behaving properly.  I'd lose communication with my CD printer (A fantastic little Primera Z1, by the way, too bad they're discontinued), or my scanner, or whatever - randomly.  The final straw was getting a Thermaltake BlacX USB drive dock that kind of crashed the whole thing.

So, after much reading, I went with the Moxa.  Yes, they're expensive.  And boy, was it worth it.

This thing is built like a tank, and comes with a massive AC adapter.  Moxa says it can deliver the USB-specified 500 mA to every port - it can't, quite, since the AC adapter is a few mA short, but it's close enough for 99.9999% of the applications out there.  The metal case is nice, and although it doesn't seem to get warm, it sure beats the stupid $14.99 USB hub my buddy had with the homebrew heatsink sticking out a hole hacked in the top.

Plugged it in, and hey!  My CD printer is suddenly cycling itself on boot, it never did that before.  And look!  It works!  No lost communications, no weird hiccups, no nothing, everything just works.  Bliss!

They make a 4 port - personally, I needed the 7 port.  I have all 7 ports full of whatever, and could probably use another 7.  Everything is USB these days.

I've had it for over a year and it's been flawless.  No signs of overheating, no hiccups, no problems of ANY kind.  In fact, it's been so good I forgot it was there, which is kinda the whole point.  I mounted it underneath my desk.  The screw-lock on the power cable is a nice touch, as I never have to worry about kicking the power cord out by freak accident.

When I upgrade, if Moxa has a USB 3.0 solution I'll buy one in two seconds flat.  Maybe two, so I can have 14 USB ports available.  These things are what all USB hubs should be - bulletproof.  Well worth it, IMHO.

[Edit]:  Just asked Moxa, and they don't have any USB 3.0 roadmap yet.  Damn.

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