Plugable Launches New 10-Port USB Hub Family

Plugable has had the top-selling 10-port USB 2.0 hub on Amazon for over 3 years — much of that time in the “top 100″ of all electronics. And over that period, we made many large and small improvements responding to customer feedback.

That’s made the Plugable USB2-HUB10S a proven, rock-solid solution for giving your USB-capable computer additional USB ports. It will work with any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer along with many game consoles, wireless routers, and other devices that have a USB port and support USB hubs.

Today, we’re building on this solid foundation by adding a higher-end USB 2.0 model with extra charging features. The Plugable USB2-HUB10C2 uses the same Terminus Technology FE 1.1s chip in our popular 4-port charging hub to support extra charging features on the two swivel ports. It upgrades the power supply to a high-quality 5V 4A model — the same used on our top-selling $109 USB 3.0 universal docking station. Charging rates are device dependent, so make sure to check our charging rates table for this model before purchase. This is a great solution for iOS and Android users with PCs or Macs who want both connectivity and charging of devices in a single hub, along with lots of extra USB ports for other devices.

Even more exciting is we’ve brought this same 10 port design to USB 3.0, for making the most of all your high-performance USB 3.0 devices. Over the past few years, with updates to chips, firmware, and the various operating systems, USB 3.0 has become mature. Our new Plugable USB3-HUB10C2 uses the same VIA VL812 Rev B2 chips and 9000 series firmware as our top-selling USB 3.0 7 port hub to deliver no-compromise compatibility with USB hosts and devices for all operating systems. It’s also fully backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. It includes a beefy 12V 4A power supply (with step-down in the hub to USB’s 5V).

For charging, there are some compromises with these USB 3.0 chips and firmware — devices will charge at maximum rate only when the PC is off or not connected. Our hub supports this feature on the two swivel charging ports. Again, see our charging rates table for this model for more details.

We’re very excited to have these 3 great options to cover the full range of USB hub needs with proven components. Today, these hubs are available on Amazon.com, and over the next few weeks will be available throughout Europe, UK, Canada, and Japan.

There is much more detail on each product pages and throughout the site. Any questions? Please feel free to comment below or email support@plugable.com. We’re happy to help!

Plugable USB 2.0 10 Port Hub (with Power Adapter) Product Details
$24.95

Plugable USB 2.0 10-Port Hub with 2 Flip-up Charging Ports (With 4A Power Adapter) Product Details
$35.00

Plugable USB 3.0 10-Port Hub with 2 Flip-up Charging Ports (48W Power Adapter) Product Details
$54.95

2014-03-10-14-Monitors

Attaching 14 Monitors on Windows 8.1 with USB

As computers continue to advance in computing power the need to display more information is greater than ever. Our USB display adapters are based on DisplayLink technology and the driver limit until now has been 6 USB attached monitors. Now, with the DisplayLink 7.5 M1 driver and our Plugable USB graphics adapters and docks, this limit has been removed. 14 Monitors plus one to two additional on PCIe is the new limit.

Here’s a video of a massive 14 monitor setup we created in our office with Plugable hubs and graphics adapters. Take a look:

Overall we were extremely pleased with the results but there are some important limitations to be made aware of. The removal of the 6 adapter limit DisplayLink feature and is still in early testing. Users may see slow enumeration of attached adapters beyond the previous 6 adapter limit. Our 14 monitor setup took 15 minutes on each restart to bring all the monitors up, but was reasonably snappy after that. In our video we focused on mainly static content on each monitor. Full-screen video playback on multiple screens will start bogging down your system.

On our computer equipped with a Core i3 3217U with Intel HD Graphics 4000 we capped out at about 10 simultaneous HD YouTube videos though playback was well under 15 FPS. Expect to be able to play around 2 to 3 HD videos smoothly with near 100% CPU load. Anything more and the frame rate drops significantly. This is mainly due to the limitation of the entry level Intel Core i3 processor in the Intel NUC computer we used. Surprisingly USB 2.0 did not seem to be the main limiting factor.

Further testing on a more powerful Intel Core i5 based computer proved to be a much better experience. Slow enumeration was still present but to a lesser extent.  HD video playback on multiple monitors was acceptable on all 14 monitors though still not perfect. Users who wish to attempt a setup such as the one in our demonstration should consider using an Intel Core i7 based computer with Intel HD Graphics 4400 or better. The use of USB 3.0 based graphics adapters over USB 2.0 is strongly recommended. Look for another video from us soon, focused on USB 3.0 and a higher-end PC.

Have any questions? We’ll be happy to help. Feel free to post below. Thanks for going out of your way for Plugable products!

DisplayLink USB 2.0 Graphics Adapters on Linux – 2014 Edition

IMG_20140306_164523A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post discussing the state of USB Graphics on Linux systems, specifically, Fedora 18. What follows is an update on the situation, looking at both Fedora 20 and Ubuntu 13.10, and examining how far we have come, and how far we still have to go.

The short story

Multi-monitor on Linux, especially with multiple graphics cards and USB graphics adapters, remains problematic. You can find many distros and configurations where it just won’t work. We’d recommend staying away unless you’re an advanced Linux user who is willing to play with different distros, install optional components and do hand configuration. Unfortunately, it’s just not plug and play yet today, as it is on Windows.

The long story

That said, it is possible to get things working in limited scenarios for USB 2.0 generation DisplayLink-based adapters. We used all Plugable products in the tests for this post. Our test systems included Intel, Nvidia, and AMD primary graphics adapters. For Nvidia and AMD, we tested both the open-source and proprietary drivers.

Intel is the most compatible, providing decent results under all configurations.
Nvidia graphics cards, when running the open source nouveau driver, only work in Multi-Seat mode. Attempting multi-monitor setup with a DisplayLink adapter and an Nvidia graphics card results in garbage graphics being displayed on your DisplayLink-attached monitor. The Nvidia proprietary drivers do not work under any scenario.
The AMD open-source drivers work under both multi-seat and multi-monitor setups, but the performance, at least in our tests, is significantly worse than with the Intel drivers.
The AMD proprietary drivers are unavailable in any easy to install package under Fedora 20, but we installed them in Ubuntu, and were unable to get any results, they simply do not work with DisplayLink graphics.

Fedora 20

Fedora has always provided the best support for DisplayLink graphics on Linux. We noticed some regressions on Fedora 19, but these have largely been resolved in Fedora 20. There isn’t much new to report.

You should be able to connect one of our docking stations and create a plug-and-play multi-seat setup, or connect one of our display adapters, and expand your desktop to an extra monitor using the Arandr utility, or something similar.

Ubuntu 13.10

Ubuntu still has several issues with DisplayLink graphics, and they do not work out of the box.

In order to enable DisplayLink adapters to work on Ubuntu, one must download the latest Mainline Kernel build from the Ubuntu Kernel PPA, install it, and then reboot with that kernel. Once this is done, DisplayLink graphics adapters will work in multi-monitor mode. Simply enable them from System Settings like you would enable any extra monitor attached to your PC.

A step-by-step guide to accomplish this will not be provided because switching away from your distro-provided kernel is something only expert users should attempt.

It should be noted that the reason this is necessary is due to the Ubuntu team making some changes to the kernel that they ship with Ubuntu, resulting in broken DisplayLink graphics support. A bug report has been submitted, here.

You can also keep track of the USB Graphics situation under Ubuntu in this blueprint.

Performance

Performance continues to be an issue with DisplayLink on Linux. Using a composited window manger(Gnome 3, Unity, Cinnamon, etc) will result in poor performance across all of your displays. Compositing re-renders far more pixels than non-compositing desktops. When you’re just going through a GPU, you’ll only notice battery loss. But when all those pixels have to get processed by the CPU and sent over USB, it’s a huge hit.

Switching to a lighter-weight window manager or desktop environment (XFCE, LMDE, Mate, etc) results in a quite usable setup, provided your main display adapter is a recent Intel chip.

Unfortunately, due to the discontinuation of Gnome 3′s fallback mode, that is no longer an option for improved performance.

Other Outstanding Bugs

Besides the issues I mentioned above, there’s still a few other problems.

When rebooting your Linux computer, or simply logging out and back in, your USB-attached displays will not always come back without having to disconnect and reconnect them.

Changing the location of your DisplayLink screens in your virtual desktop can sometimes cause strange issues (like only half of the monitor rendering). Toggling the screen on and off inside of your Display management UI usually solves this.

Nvidia’s and AMD’s proprietary drivers are still entirely incompatible with DisplayLink graphics on Linux.

Conclusion

We hope this background helps. We don’t recommend or support USB graphics on Linux yet, because of the problems above — but if you do have questions, please feel free to comment below. We want to get as much information out as possible about what works and doesn’t, so things can improve here. There’s no reason Linux can’t have the same or better multi-monitor support as any other platform in time!

If you are an Open Source Kernel or User-Space developer that would like to help improve this situation, we’d like to point you to our Plugable Open Source Hardware Samples Program where you may sign up to receive free sample hardware to help on your development efforts.

USB Hubs, Bluetooth, Video, Networking, Docking, SATA, Keyboards

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