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As you can read in this Super User question, I'm having a hard time getting two external 2.5" platter-based hard drives to run in USB 3.0 mode simultaneously off a single USB 3.0 port.

Can anyone recommend a USB3 hub with individual switches for each port that can definitely accomplish this task?

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    Would it be acceptable if the hub plugs into the wall as well as the computer? That would be the easiest way to ensure you have enough power for the hard drives, plus you'll also be able to charge your phone(s) faster. – Bennett Yeo Aug 21 '18 at 14:45
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    @BennettYeo Definitely. The two hubs I have purchased so far both plug into the wall. Unfortunately, neither can reliably put two external bus-powered hard drives in USB 3.0 mode. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Aug 21 '18 at 19:23
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I was originally thinking of recommending you a wall plugged USB hub, however; it seems you already went that route and the hubs were unable to negotiate the power necessary for reliability. Because of this, I had to take a step back and think of an approach that would be guaranteed to run two HDD's at the same time. I ultimately decided to recommend you specialized hardware designed for your exact user case scenario.

Startech 2.5 SSD/HDD Enclosure $66.15 (MSRP: $92.99)

Hard drive enclosure

In practice, this system acts as a hardware layer between your HDD's and you target machine with a mini-PSU strapped to the back. This system will most definitely be able to handle your user case scenarios. Here's a video of the enclosure in action. It will of course, need to plug into the wall with an AC to DC adapter.

  • 2 Bay enclosure
  • Internal SATA interface (I/II/III)
  • USB 3.0
  • 2 A Output Current
  • 5 v Output Voltage
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Chrome and Linux (2.4.x and up)
  • Individual switches (inside enclosure)
  • Supports RAID 0/1/JBOD and BIG

There is also a USB 3.1 variant for $86.99 (MSRP: 125.99) and a Thunderbolt 2 variant for $236.37 ($326.99). Personally, I would stick with the USB 3.0 variant I recommended above as SATA III only supports up to 6 Gb/s anyway. The other 2 variants are overkill unless you want fan speed control and/or configure the system for a RAID 0 (striping) SSD configuration and purchase SSDs actually capable of 750 MB/s+ combined simultaneous read and write speeds. I say SSDs because any HDD you buy is pretty much never going to actually hit the SATA III limit anyway.

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  • Thank you for the excellent answer (upvoted) and for thinking outside the box. Although I like your idea, I don't think it will work right now for me. I already own the drives, and they are in their own factory enclosures. I think a hub might still work, but I haven't found one that meets the requirements outlined above... hence this question. :) – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Aug 23 '18 at 1:50
  • Factory enclosures :/ . Do you think it's possible to measure and tell me the max amp draw on these HDD?. The last option I can think of is to buy one wall plugged hub per HDD and then plug those into the computer and wall. Do you want me to recommend some products for that solution? Also have you tried one HDD per hub with the hub's you have already purchased? – Bennett Yeo Aug 23 '18 at 18:16
  • I'm not sure how to measure the max amp draw on the HDD's. Can you tell me how? I have tried one HDD per hub with the hubs I bought and sometimes they would connect in USB 2 mode, and sometimes USB 3.0 mode. It appeared random. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Aug 24 '18 at 8:12
  • Alright never-mind about experimentally deriving the amp draw. Could you tell me the name model number of your HDD + enclosure system? I feel that your manufacturer should have at least anticipated your scenario and perhaps sell a product that could deal with this (that I could look at for some ideas). Are you sure you aren't able to remove your current HDD from their current enclosure and put them in the enclosure I recommended above? – Bennett Yeo Aug 24 '18 at 13:36
  • The hard drives are Western Digital "My Passport" 1TB USB 3.0 drives, product # WDBBEP0010BBK-01 (several years old). They don't have any screws for removing the drives from the factory enclosures... a sledgehammer would do it though. ;) – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Aug 25 '18 at 18:57

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