Category Archives: USB3-HUB81X4

Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware History Mid-2014 Update

USB 3.0 is ever evolving with new hardware and software that create new compatibility considerations, and Plugable is committed to staying on the cutting edge and improving our product functionality and compatibility.

For the best user experience we recommend to install the latest available firmware update to your hub. To do so you must use a computer running Windows and have the hub connected to a USB 3.0 port (2.0/1.1 ports are not supported for the update process) with any additional hubs/docking stations disconnected.

In this blog post we will focus on updating hubs with the VIA VL811+ and VL812 B2 chipsets to the 909x series firmware. Depending on what model hub you have, your hub may have an older chipset not supported by these latest firmware updates. Take a look at this chart to see if your unit is eligible for an update. (some may not be covered in this blog post)

The update process only works on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1) so if you are a Mac OS X or Linux/Unix user please contact our support for additional assistance, we’re more than happy to help!

  • Updating through a virtual machine like Parallels, VMware, VirtualBox, etc is not supported.
  • Mac users, updating through Boot Camp is supported.

If your product is eligible for an update, click on your product below to jump to details about firmware changes and specific update instructions:

USB3-HUB10C2 9091/9095 Combo Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9081/9084 combo which allowed for charging on the two flip-up ports only when the hub was not in use for data. This meant the hub had to be either not connected to a host computer (“no-host”), shutdown, or in hibernate/sleep mode.

The no-host requirement turned out to be a major limitation as many users wanted to charge their phone or tablet while using their computer. Users also wanted to be able to charge and sync devices at the same time.

Firmware update version 9091/9095 combo now nullifies the no-host requirement and enables full BC 1.2 Smart Charging and Charging Downstream Port (CDP) functionality. In short, users can now charge their device while the hub is attached to the computer and running. Users can now also charge and sync devices at the same time.

To update your USB3-HUB10C2 hub, please download the:

USB3-HUB10C2 VL812 B2 v9091/9095 combo update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

usb3hub10c2_detected

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

usb3hub10c2_updated

USB3-HUB781X, USB3-HUB7A, or USB3-HUB4AC1 9091 Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9081 which had no major limitations or issues. With that being said, there were some edge case scenarios where sleep/wake functionality for host and devices was not working properly.

Most users will not have encountered any issues but we recommend running the update to maximize compatibility with future USB 3.0 devices / computers you may eventually own.

To update your USB3-HUB781X, USB3-HUB7A, or USB3-HUB4AC1 hub, please download the:

VL812 B2 v9091 update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

812B2_detected

(The USB3-HUB4AC1 only has one internal VL812 B2 chipset vs the image shown here for the USB3-HUB7-81X and USB3-HUB7A hubs)

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

812B2_upgraded

USB3-HUB81X4 9095 Firmware Update

Units shipped with firmware version 9084 which allowed for charging on all four ports only when the hub was not in use for data. This meant the hub had to be either not connected to a host computer (“no-host”), shutdown, or in hibernate/sleep mode.

The no-host requirement turned out to be a major limitation as many users wanted to charge their phone or tablet while using their computer. Users also wanted to be able to charge and sync devices at the same time.

Firmware update version 9095 now nullifies the no-host requirement and enables full BC 1.2 Smart Charging and Charging Downstream Port (CDP) functionality. In short, users can now charge their device while the hub is attached to the computer and running. Users can now also charge and sync devices at the same time.

To update your USB3-HUB81X4 hub, please download the:

VL811+ v9095 update utility.

Once downloaded, disconnect any additional hubs/docking stations and have only the hub you wish to update attached. If you own more than one hub that needs a firmware update, please update one unit at a time.

After opening the firmware update utility, if the hub is not initially detected, unplug the hub from the USB 3.0 port on your computer and plug it back in and click the “Scan Device” button:

usb3hub10c2_notdetected

You should now see some information about the hub detected, specifically the chipset information and current firmware version:

usb3-hub81x4_detected

If you see results like the image above, go ahead and click “Start Upgrade”. Once the upgrade is complete, unplug the hub from both USB and power, then reconnect it (power first).

upgrade_complete

If you would like to confirm, you can click “Scan Device” again to see the update was successful:

usb3-hub81x4_upgraded

Device Charging Rates

Plugable does extensive testing to determine which devices charge at what rates on our chargers and charging capable hubs. This turns out to be important, because USB charging is not (yet) well standardized, and results vary by device.

If you’re looking for a charger, our data on charging rates will tell you exactly how much current, in milli-amps, specific devices will pull from our chargers. The higher the number, the faster the device will charge. We’ve tested many popular Apple and Android devices, and add new results frequently.

The complete list of results is available here at:
plugable.com/platforms/device-charging-rates

Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades

4.26.13 Updated with new versions

Note this post is only about hubs. For our own UD-3000 dock, please don’t follow this post — we have a separate post on the customized UD-3000 firmware upgrade.

USB 3.0 is rapidly evolving with new hardware and software that create new compatibility considerations, and Plugable is committed to staying on the cutting edge.

Skip background and jump to firmware update steps

This update utility is Windows-only and requires a USB 3.0 capable PC. If your PC has USB 2.0 rather than USB 3.0 ports, or if you use a Mac, you will not be able to complete this upgrade, and should instead contact support@plugable.com. For Mac customers wishing to update, a Windows installation in BootCamp can complete this update, however virtual machines like Parallels, VMWare, or VirtualBox are NOT able to complete this update.

Plugable products for which the updates in this post are relevant are listed in the table below. Since the updates vary with chipset, to update your hub, you must first determine it’s chipset. You may check the table below for expected chipset based on shipping date, however checking in device manager or system profiler for the device’s vendor and product ID’s is the more accurate and recommended method. Instructions to check this follow the table below.

USB3-HUB81X4

USB3-HUB7-81X

Please carefully identify the chip version of your hub first. VIA’s firmware update utility does not automatically distinguish chips, and writing the wrong firmware will brick your hub. If you’re unsure but have evidence that you need a firmware update, just email support@plugable.com and we’ll be happy to help.
VL811 Units shipping from Mid-March 2013 have firmware v9.83- this is the latest available version. Older units shipped with firmware versions 9.20, 9.72, and 9.82- customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility. Units sold until November 16, 2012 have the VL811 chipset. These units shipped with firmware versions 9.20, 9.72, and 9.82- customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.
VL812 Units purchased from Amazon US after November 16, 2012 (January 17, 2013 for Amazon UK orders) have the VL812 chipset. Depending on your order date and location, these units may have had firmware version 8564, 8571, or 0701. Customers with any of these older versions should use the Plugable VL-812 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

The discontinued USB3-HUB4 (white) also used VL811 and can follow the same steps as the black four port using the Plugable VL811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

How can I tell what chip and version of firmware I have?

Windows

To launch windows device manager, hit the Windows-R hot-key and run devmgmt.msc

  1. Find your hub under “Universal Serial Bus controllers.” The device will typically be listed as a “Generic SuperSpeed USB Hub” although it may appear as a “Renesas USB 3.0 Hub” “AMD USB 3.0 Hub” or other entry depending on your system’s USB 3 host controller chipset and driver. Pictured below on the left, highlighted in a red box.
  2. Right click on the device and choose “Properties” (not pictured).
  3. From the properties window that comes up, select “Details.” After doing so the window will update to show information similar to what is pictured on the right below.
  4. From the device’s details page, select “Hardware IDs” as pictured below on the right.

The firmware version can now be seen under the “Details” tab and “Hardware Ids” as pictured below, highlighted in blue on the bottom right.

812win

Note the “REV” details listed after the VID and PID are the version numbers to check in the “Latest Firmware Versions by chip set” section below.


Mac

To launch Apple’s system profile, from the left your menu bar, click the Apple Logo, hold down the alt/option key, and click “System Information.” Different models of hub will display differently, however you’ll know you found the right device when you find one with the following details: in the lower right hand section of the next 2 images:

Product ID: 0×0812
Vendor ID: 0×2109 (Via Labs, Inc)

Note the OS X System profile entries for hub firmware version (both old version 8564 and new version 8571 are pictured below, two hubs were connected)

Mapping USB VID, PID, and REV to your chip and firmware version

VIA does not set USB REV to be consistently mapped to the firmware version, but you can map them like this:

Hardware Ids (USB VID, PID, and REV VIA chip and firmware version
VID 2109, PID 0812, REV 8571 VIA VL812, firmware version 8581
VID 2109, PID 0811, REV 3198 VIA VL811, firmware version 9.83

Once you have your firmware version, you can compare against the latest available firmware versions.

Latest firmware versions by chipset

Chipset Firmware
VL811 9.83
VL812 8581

Firmware Update Utility system compatibility

As mentioned before, the actual firmware update process requires a USB 3.0 capable Windows PC.

We’ve tested this firmware flash utility on 32 and 64 bit Windows 7, 64 bit Windows 8, as well as 32 bit Windows XP with good results. We were also able to successfully update the firmware on a hub running Windows 7×64 in BootCamp (Parallels and other virtual machines, however, will not work).

If you do not have access to a Windows PC with USB 3.0 support (or a BootCamp partition on your Mac) please contact support@plugable.com for assistance.

Updating VL811, VL811+, or VL812 USB 3 Hub Firmware

Download the appropriate firmware upgrade utility below. Save the file, do not run it from its current location.

Plugable VL-811 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

Plugable VL-812 USB 3.0 hub update utility.

After the file is downloaded, double click on the file, and follow the prompt: pressing Y (then enter) to continue when prompted.

The utility will either confirm that it has detected a VIA VL811 or VL812 hub and briefly show the current firmware version before proceeding with the update, or inform you if no hub is detected. Confirmation of whether the upgrade has completed successfully or failed will also be shown. This should happen within 15-30 seconds after launching the utility and pressing Y (then enter) when prompted.

After update has fully completed successfully, you must unplug both power and incoming USB to the hub to reset it. After waiting a few seconds, plug the power, then the USB cable to your PC back in. If you follow the steps above for checking the firmware version, you should see the newly applied version.

Please feel free to comment with your results and observations if you run into issues during the actual upgrade. We welcome your feedback, and will update the post with any improvements.

Thank you!

Plugable’s USB 3 Hubs and OS X

USB 3 support is still evolving on OS X. Below is a listing of the known issues affecting our hubs on OS X:

1. Updates specific to certain models of Apple computer are available that affect “USB 3 reliability.” Applying all updates from the App store on your USB3 Mac is recommended for best results, and seems particularly important on the following new models:

  • 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pro.
  • Mac Mini with USB 3.0
  • iMac with USB 3.0

Since many OS X updates are model-specific, we are unable to provide a listing of all relevant updates for your system. Apple’s built in Software Update via the App store is the recommended method to check for updates for your system. Sample updates relevant to particularly affected models are below:
http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1603

This update is recommended for all 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 21.5″ iMac (Late 2012) and Mac mini (Late 2012) systems.
It includes all features and updates from OS X Mountain Lion v10.8.2 plus system-specific enhancements and fixes for Late 2012 systems.

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1609

This update includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.
This update is recommended for all Mac notebooks introduced in June 2012.

http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1542

This update is recommended for MacBook Pro (mid 2012) models.
The update includes fixes that improve graphics stability, external display support, and USB 3 device support.

2. VL812 based USB3-HUB7-81X 7 port units with firmware version 8571 are recommended for OS X users.

Units with v8564 are still shipping, which will have the following issues on OS X:

  • May not detect some USB Mass Storage devices connected to the hub.
  • USB Mass Storage devices connected to the hub before the hub is connected to the Mac are not detected. This issue also appears when you reboot your Mac and have to unplug/replug your USB 3 storage devices for them to be detected.
  • Ports 1-4 do not work if the AC power supply isn’t connected. If ports 1-4 do not work, please check your power supply and make sure the green light is lit.

Please see our Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades blog post for details on how to perform this upgrade on a USB 3.0 capable Windows XP or later PC (or from a BootCamp partition on your Mac). Please contact support@plugable.com if you do not have access to a Windows XP or later PC with USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 does not work), or a BootCamp partition on your Mac (Parallels and other virtual machines do not work, only BootCamp).

3. VL811 based USB3-HUB81X4 4 port units with firmware versions prior to firmware v983/rev3198 may have an issue where USB storage devices connected to the hub do not resume from sleep properly. Please see our Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades blog post for details.

4. Apple’s super drive does not work when connected to a hub.
http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2801

The SuperDrive is designed exclusively for use with MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini’s that do not have a built-in optical drive. The SuperDrive must be directly plugged into the computer’s USB port, and cannot be used if connected to a USB hub.”

This is because the SuperDrive requires 1100 milliamps of power, substantially more than allowed by the USB specifications that hubs are designed to meet. As a result, the Apple SuperDrive will only work when connected directly to your Mac.

5. USB Audio devices (especially 5.1 and 7.1 USB sound cards and recording input devices) have been reported to have a variety of issues when connected via the hub. Details on this issue are in this thread on our support forum.

6. Other troubleshooting and information regarding OS X USB 3.0 Support are discussed on Apple’s support page here.

Please be aware that troubleshooting may be time consuming and we may not be able to resolve issues other than #2 and #3 above.

VIA VL811 USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrade

2.8.13:This post is no longer current

Please refer to our newer post Plugable USB 3.0 Hub Firmware Upgrades

VIA Labs has released a new firmware version for their VL811 USB 3.0 hub chipset.

A primary feature is a work around for issues on Mac OS X 10.8 systems, where USB storage devices would disconnect unexpectedly upon system sleep. Windows and Linux users will likely see limited benefit from applying this upgrade (as those OSes did not have this same disconnect problem), so we would advise against upgrading unless you’ve encountered a specific issue. Note that late 2012 Macs (Macbook Pro Retina, iMac, Mac Mini) have USB 3.0 issues that are not solved by any firmware update (we’re expecting an Apple update for these at some point).

One challenge is the firmware update utility VIA provides is Windows-only, even though a primary benefit for this particular version is for Mac users — you’ll need a copy of Windows and a USB 3.0 capable machine to update your hub.

We’ve tested the upgrade succesfully on Plugable’s USB hubs, including the 7 port USB3-HUB7-81X (VL811 version; versions purchased after November 2012 use the different VL812 chipset), 4-port USB3-HUB4 (currently out of stock), and 4-port USB3-HUB81X4.

Note: The Plugable UD-3000 USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station is not compatible with VIA’s generic hub firmware update utility — putting a generic firmware on the UD-3000 dock will make it non-functional and non-recoverable. Only use the information in this post for updating standalone USB 3.0 Hubs.

We’ve tested the firmware flash utility on 32 and 64 bit Windows 7, 64 bit Windows 8, as well as 32 bit Windows XP with good results. We were also able to successfully update the firmware on a hub running Windows 7×64 in BootCamp (Parallels and other virtual machines, however, will not work).

Determining if you need the update

You can check the Apple System Profile or Windows Device Manager to determine what version of firmware you currently have.

To launch Apple’s system profiler, from the top right of your screen click the Apple Logo, choose “About This Mac” and click “More Info” on the screen that pops up. Another screen will appear: click the button here for “System Report.” Once system report is loaded, click on “USB” at the bottom of the “Hardware” section, and then find your USB hub. Different models of hub will display differently, however you’ll know you found the right device when you find one with the following details: in the lower right hand section of the next 2 images:

Product ID: 0×0811
Vendor ID: 0×2109 (Via Labs, Inc)

OS X System profiler entry for hub with older firmware version (version 0300)

OS X System profiler entry for hub with firmware upgrade applied (version 2A97)

Note that the new firmware will show as revision 2a.97 on Mac after update.

Checking VIA firmware version in Windows

To launch windows device manager, hit the Windows-R hotkey and run devmgmt.msc

Find your hub under “Universal Serial Bus controllers”. The firmware version can be seen under the “Details” tab and “Hardware Ids”.

And here’s a hub already updated to the new firmware.

Updating VL811 Firmware

Download the latest VL811 specific version from VIA here:
VIA hub firmware download page.

We recommend having your hub connected to AC (wall) power, and disconnecting all devices from your hub before updating the firmware. Also, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you’re not experiencing the hard drive disconnect issue on OS X, it’s best to forgo the update.

Upgrading your Via VL-811 chip based USB 3.0 hub is a 2 step process:

  1. Download and extract the firmware update zip file from the link above
  2. open and start the USB3HubFWUpgrade.exe utility to update your hub

Please note that Disabling User Account Controls as suggested in the Via user guide was neither required by our tests, nor advisable in our opinion. We recommend you do not disable User Account Controls on your Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 PC. If your hub isn’t detected by the firmware upgrade utility, please try right clicking on the utility and choosing “Run As Administrator.”

Note that 2012 Macbook Pro Retina and 2012 Mac Mini systems have additional issues with USB 3.0 that aren’t related to or fixed by this firmware update. Apple users who just have drives lost on sleep, but who don’t have access to a Windows PC, should contact us at support@plugable.com — we’ll be happy to help.

We welcome your feedback. Please comment below if you have any questions or if you find any discrepancies in our steps above. Thank you!

OS X Mid-2012 MacBook USB and Graphics update

Good news Mac owners! Apple has released a graphics and USB focused update just for late model, Mid 2012 MacBook models including “all Mac notebooks released in June 2012.” This update “includes graphics performance and reliability enhancements and improves compatibility with some USB devices.”

As with any OS X update, simply choose updates in the App Store or choose Software Update from the Apple menu. Once all prerequisites are installed (which include 10.8.2), the update will appear.

Details on the update are rather sparse at the moment, however initial findings on the 11 inch Air I use as a primary work laptop are positive. After installing the update, some U3 Communicator HD docks which I had previously identified as defective actually worked consistently and at normal speeds.

I’ve also noticed better reliability on the arrangement of the quad display panel I use with the tiny Air and a set of our DisplayLink-based UGA-165 adapters. Previously I could virtually never reboot and have my display arrangement persist, but now that seems to have been corrected- however this probably has more to do with the unusual number of hubs and devices I go through in day to day equipment testing and the constant swapping of ports that comes with it.

One frustrating issue that persists is when an USB storage volume unexpectedly disconnects, finder will freeze- immediately if you instruct it to eject the improperly disconnected volume. Forcing a reboot corrects the issue, however the system is largely unresponsive until the reboot which of course could result in data loss.

We’d love to hear your input on how this update is affecting your Plugable devices on those shiny new MacBooks!

MacRumors of course has a thread on the topic with very active discussion: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1486234

The Windows RT and Surface USB Device Compatibility Story

[Updated 11/20/2012]

Microsoft’s official statement is “Windows RT uses class drivers and in-box drivers exclusively, departing from a common driver added scenario on the x64 or x86 architectures.” (see Microsoft policies). There is no DDK. Officially, installing drivers on Windows RT is not supported.

That said, it turns out there is at least oneWindows ARM driver that exists (probably built and extracted from a full Windows RT platform development kit), and as a user you can install those drivers on a normal, unmodified Microsoft Surface device at least.

Whether Microsoft will close this mechanism in the future is unclear.

But for now, these steps show how to install a driver on the Surface to get wired ethernet support for particular devices like ours.

Below is a more complete list of all the Plugable devices which can and can’t be made to work with the surface today. Most use the drivers already built into the RT, so none of the above is a concern — but Windows RT is “special” so check for compatibility before assuming a device will work!

What devices work out of the box with ARM-based Windows RT (without a 3rd party driver install)?

USB hubs, including

USB extension cables, including

USB storage devices, including

USB keyboards and mice, including

What needs a driver package, but don’t have one for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Anything with a USB graphics function, including

Quite a few other devices with driver installs required, such as

What needs a driver package and has one available for ARM-based Windows RT devices

Feel free to add additional information in the comments, if you discover anything new or find any errors.

New USB 3.0 Support Built-In to Windows 8

Microsoft is formally launching Windows 8 today. With all the talk about Windows 8 being focused on the UI, it’s easy to overlook developments that have been happening under the hood. Some important changes include the addition of a native USB 3.0 stack, UASP or USB Attached SCSI Protocol support as well as support for function suspend and remote wake-up. The new driver stack supporting USB 3.0 is loaded whenever a USB 3.0 device is attached to an xHCI host controller and is based on Microsoft’s Kernel Mode Driver Framework (KMDF). New features available to developers include:

  • Static streams for bulk endpoints — allows a client driver to open up to 255 streams in a bulk endpoint
  • Chained MDLs — can boost performance by avoiding buffering
  • Function suspend and remote wake-up for composite devices

With USB 3.0 users can expect the fastest performance for external USB drives to date, and if their hardware is UASP capable — the improvement can be even greater. UASP allows hardware that supports it to use command queing which enables the device to perform transfers in parallel. Function suspend and remote wake-up allow the operating system to utilize advanced power management features that are defined in the USB 3.0 spec. With the growing array of USB 3.0 devices available and backward compatibility with USB 2.0 and 1.1, USB 3.0 is bringing much better performance to what is probably the most ubiquitous hardware interface around.

Many Windows 8 systems are thin-and-light with room for only 1 or 2 USB ports. Most people have a lot more devices than that. Fortunately, one of the wonderful features of USB is a great architecture for supporting hubs which enable many devices to share one port. So a USB 3.0 hub like our Plugable USB 3.0 7 Port Hub with 4A Power Adapter is a great companion.

The increased throughput also allows a better user experience when connecting one of our USB 3.0 graphics adapters like our USB3-HDMI-DVI graphics adapter or our USB3-VGA graphics adapter. Another great match is our USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station. Featuring graphics, audio, and networking all managed by single DisplayLink DL-3700 chipset the UD-3000 also provides a 4 port USB 2.0 hub and a 2 port USB 3.0 hub. The added bandwidth greatly improves the performance of USB docking stations, and the UD-3000 performs accordingly with network intensive and video tasks.

Each USB 3.0 device such as the DisplayLink graphics solutions still requires specific device drivers, but with the underlying USB 3.0 host controller stack built in to Windows 8 there won’t be much difference to the user from USB 2.0 — except speed. Prior to Windows 8, different USB 3.0 host chipset vendors shipped updates to drivers for their host controllers that fixed bugs and added features. Thanks to Microsoft’s efforts, this function has been moved into Windows 8 so users will have one less thing to do when trying to get the maximum performance possible from their equipment.

You can get a lot more background on what’s new for USB in Windows 8 from the Windows USB Core Team Blog.

Any questions about Windows 8 and any Plugable products? We’d be happy to help. Post below, or email support@plugable.com anytime. As always, we’re here to help!

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Support

We’re as excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release as we expect many of our customers are. And we’re here to help if you install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on computers where you’re using or plan to use any Plugable devices.

We’ve already begun installing Microsoft’s latest operating system on PCs in our lab for the fun of hands-on exploration and–more importantly–for testing the compatibility of Plugable products on this platform.

Here’s what we know already.

Graphics Adapters
All Plugable graphics adapters rely on DisplayLink drivers that are explicitly called out during Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup as incompatible with the new operating system. DisplayLink has made Beta drivers available for Windows 8 on its public forum.

1) You will need to uninstall your current DisplayLink drivers when prompted to do so by Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup.

2) Once Windows 8 Consumer Preview is installed, you can download and install the DisplayLink drivers from http://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink. Please read the release notes to be aware of any that may affect you.

We have used DisplayLink drivers successfully on a computer running Windows 8 Consumer Preview with a Plugable UGA-2k-A graphics adapter. With an extended desktop, the Windows 8 “Metro” interface showed on the primary desktop, and the extended desktop functioned like a Windows 7 extended desktop.

The ability to control whether in duplicate or extend mode was located on an option called “Devices” that can be invoked from the lower right corner in the “Metro” UI.

Network Adapters
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should find the compatible ASIX or Realtek drivers for all Plugable network adapters via Windows Update. The computer will need a network connection separate from the one made available by the Plugable adapter.

USB 3.0 Devices
Windows 8 has native support for USB 3.0 and should properly manage the host controllers in any Plugable USB 3.0 cards and hubs. No third party drivers should be required.

Windows Easy Transfer Cable
The Plugable Windows Easy Transfer cable works in Windows 8. We’ll devote a future post to the topic of what the user interface looks like in Windows 8.

We’ll also cover using the optional Bravura software (license comes with the Plugable cable) in that future post.

If You Need Support
We hope all Plugable products function to your satisfaction on Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you experience problems or previously unseen quirks, we encourage you to post your questions at http://support.plugable.com or write to us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help and eager to hear about your experiences with Windows 8.

[usb3-hub81x4-post]

Updating firmware on the Plugable 4-Port SuperSpeed USB 3.0/2.0 Hub with VL810 chipset

This post is only applicable for hubs purchased prior to 3/1/2012, later hubs do not include the VL810 chipset.

Because USB 3.0 is still maturing, it’s helpful to choose devices with upgradable firmware (and/or drivers). Our Plugable 4-Port SuperSpeed USB 3.0/2.0 Hub uses the VIA VL810 chipset both because it’s the best selling hub chipset currently on the market, and updating the firmware is relatively easy.

First, download VIA’s USB 3 Firmware Upgrade Tool (Windows required).

When the package is finished downloading click on the .zip file to extract the contents and run Usb3HubFWUpgrade_Setup_VX.XX.exe (to match the version you downloaded). This will install the USB3.0 firmware upgrade tool.

Reboot your machine, and connect your hub to AC power and to a USB3.0 port directly on your computer. Now, run the Usb3HubFWUpgrade program from the start menu. You will see a screen like this:

When the upgrade tool reports 1 device found, click the “Start Upgrade” button. Once it has completed you will see:

Disconnect both the AC power and the USB cable from the hub to reset it, reconnect, and you’re done!

See VIA’s Release Notes (PDF) for the list of features and fixes in each firmware version.

Plugable 4-Port USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Hub with 20W Power Adapter (VIA VL811+ Chipset with v9084 firmwar... Product Details
$26.95