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I have a computer with about 6 external hard drives connected, however it's died and i'm replacing it with another computer with only 4 USB 2.0 ports. I have a 7 Port USB 2.0 Hub that is connected to extend one of the ports to the remaining devices.

The only issue is when I connect the the system together, the drives connected to the hub operate faster than USB 1.1, but still considerably slower than USB 2.0 (which is a bit to slow for my purposes). If I replace the 7-Port Hub with 2x 2-Port USB 2.0 Hubs connected to two of the ports on the computer, and plug the drives into that, will it be faster than running 3 of them of the 7-Port Hub?

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USB 2.0 is limited to 480Mbs per controller. So the important thing is how many devices per controller rather than per usb port. Reducing the amount of ports on the hub won't help as all the traffic is still passing through the single controller that the USB port it is connected to is on.

It might be that with your motherboard, each physical port has its own controller, and that is why the dedicated ports are working at full speed.

You would be better off getting a PCI 2.0 usb card (or two) and using that instead.

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thats what i thought. I was hoping that each USB port was on its own controller, is there anyway I can find that out? –  cgoddard Dec 7 '11 at 16:21
    
On linux you can do lspci -v | grep USB and look for EHCI (USB2) controllers. Under Windows, look in Device Manager for Enhanced PCI to USB controllers. –  Paul Dec 7 '11 at 22:40

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