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  • How to plug so many different USB devices into Mac Mini 2018

     Damiano Galassi updated 1 year, 11 months ago 3 Members · 3 Posts
  • David J. Smolar

    April 15, 2019 at 12:03 am

    Hi all. Looking for advice. I just purchased a Mac Mini 2018 to replace my Mac Pro tower 2008 for my video editing work. So…I’m having a USB traffic issue.

    Most of my drives and devices are USB but this Mac Mini only has 2 USB ports. It has 4 Thunderbolt ports. Of course this isn’t an impossible situation. I can get lots of adapters and hubs and have everything hooked up simultaneously. But I’m looking for guidance as to the smartest way to set up which USB device goes where, so everything is performing without compromising each other or corrupting a drive, etc.

    If there are only 2 ports, there are 2 busses. As an example of my conundrum, I sometimes do webcasting where I’ll need my keyboard/mouse, mic, camera, and external drive simultaneously. They all require USB ports. But if I plug them all into a hub and then run the hub off one USB port, will the camera slow down? Will the audio be choppy or fail? Will the drive short out or the monitor lag?

    I do video editing, so I’m very concerned that the time machine drive isn’t competing with something else, or that the monitor’s response time/speed isn’t hindered because it’s sharing a buss with other stuff. And I’m cutting using multiple external drives…you get the picture. It’s always possible this stuff isn’t important, which is fine. But it’s also possible that I’ll corrupt a drive or something egregious like that.

    Ideas? Thanks, Dave.

    David J. Smolar
    Preditor
    dsmolar.wix.com/inbetweenthings

  • John Rofrano

    April 21, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    [David J. Smolar] “I do video editing, so I’m very concerned that the time machine drive isn’t competing with something else, or that the monitor’s response time/speed isn’t hindered because it’s sharing a buss with other stuff.”

    You are correct that plugging a hub into a USB port is just dividing the bandwidth between all of the devices. I would do some testing to see how your camera reacts to sharing a bus with external hard drive that is recording video. You might get away with having the camera and mic on one USB port and the external drive and keyboard/mouse on the other, with just two hubs.

    The way I see out, you have two options: (1) Buy a Mac with more USB ports (which means stick with an older Mac) or (2) Start to replace your USB attached devices with Thunderbolt devices.

    [David J. Smolar] “…where I’ll need my keyboard/mouse, mic, camera, and external drive simultaneously. “

    I woulds start with storage devices. Get a thunderbolt external drive and see if that alone off-loads enough bandwidth to solve the problem. You can also get a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Then plug the camera into one USB port and the Mic into the other and your problem is solved. Nothing will be sharing a USB port. I have an Apple Time Capsule so my Time Machine backups are over the network and don’t consume a USB port.

    ~jr

    http://www.johnrofrano.com
    http://www.vasstsoftware.com

  • Damiano Galassi

    June 5, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Thunderbolt 3 ports *are* USB ports too. You have 6 USB ports on the mini. I don’t know how many busses there are, but USB 3 has enough bandwidth that an audio interface and a camera won’t saturate.

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