Tag Archives: USB 3.0

LG 34UM95 monitor USB hub draws too much power; use Thunderbolt

Simple, robust and bloody fast:  Apple Thunderbolt cable
Simple, robust and bloody fast: Apple Thunderbolt cable

When I started using my LG 34UM95 monitor it was effectively a secondary display, my principal one being an Apple Thunderbolt 27”.  I have been sufficiently pleased with the LG to promote it to a primary role to make use of all that glorious screen real estate.  I used the supplied HDMI cable to connect monitor and computer.

The LG provides three USB ports (one 3.0, two 2.0) and I not unreasonably wanted to connect my keyboard (why Apple doesn’t offer a wireless keyboard with numeric keypad is beyond me) and Apple DVD drive using the LG’s ports.  That’s when the problem started.

I connected one of the Mac Pro’s USB ports to the LG’s USB up port, but my keyboard just would not work through the LG and after a short while I observed a dialogue advising me that a USB device was drawing too much power.

The answer was simple, though.  I dived off to my friendly Apple supplier and got a Thunderbolt cable.  I connected up and bingo, USB ports all working, monitor and Thunderbolt connection recognised and automatically configured.

Mind you, I thought thirty-five quid for a 2 m cable was a bit steep, but Thunderbolt cables are not exactly ubiquitous.  Imagine my surprise when I saw on the Apple Store an optical Thunderbolt cable at the bargain price of just a quid short of a grand.

A grand's worth of optic fibre:  Corning Thunderbolt cable
A grand’s worth of optic fibre: Corning Thunderbolt cable

That’s right, £999.  It is 60 m of the finest optical connection, to be fair, but I would love to know how many of those get sold each week.

iTec USB 3.0 Card Reader review

iTec USB 3.0 card reader
iTec USB 3.0 card reader

Memory cards are now so cheap and their capacity so high that they offer a viable and flexible backup option.  This card reader is a cheap and simple way to give a computer additional storage and data exchange options.

My new Mac Pro is a fantastic piece of kit and has more input and output ports than you can shake a stick at, but one option that I sadly miss from my iMac is an SD-card slot.  I do a lot of photography and for me the easiest way of getting images onto the Mac is simply to take the card out of the camera, bung it in the computer and copy the files across.

On top of that the cost of memory cards is now so low, and their capacity so high, that they provide a super way to back data up and get it off site (how many people keep their backup with their main computer. so that in the event of theft or fire the backup is lost with the original?).

A quick trawl of the web showed a number of options and I plumped for the i-Tec USB 3.0 Card Reader.  It does exactly what it says on the tin, as they say.  It supports the following formats:

MS, MS PRO, MS PRO Duo, SD, SDHC, SDXC, Mini SD *, Mini SDHC *, Micro SD/T-Flash, Micro SDHC, MMC, MMC Plus, RS-MMC *, MMC Mobile *, CF typ I

*with appropriate adapter (not included)

Other characteristics:SDHC and SDXC compatible

  • Data transfer rate up to 5 Gbps
  • No installation needed
  • LED indicator
  • Low power consumption
  • Draw Power directly from USB port

Operating systems:

  • Windows ME, XP, Vista, 7 32/64bit, 8 32/64bit
  • Mac OS X and higher

I wanted USB 3.0 for speed and for value for money (it cost me just the equivalent of £10.50) this is difficult to beat.  One thing to remember when you see the adverts though.  They will show the reader unencumbered by cable or cards as shown above.  The reality is a little more cumbersome:

iTec USB 3.0 card reader with USB cable and SD card
iTec USB 3.0 card reader with USB cable and SD card

It’s not a big deal, but so often nice pieces of kit are shown in elegant isolation, ignoring the spaghetti-like mess of wires behind the facade of elegant simplicity.