Trendnet USB 3.0 to Gigabit Adapter + Hub

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Product: Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 USB 3.0 to Gigabit Adapter + Hub
Provided By: Trendnet
Price: ~$40 at time of Publication

 

Introduction:

Today we are looking at a little device that has more purpose in this day and age than you might think. We are taking a look at a USB 3.0 Hub that has an integrated Gigabit Ethernet port. While that may not sound that exciting at first, I'm sure there are many people out there that have Ultrabooks and other Windows tablets that rely on wireless only. While that may be fine for some situations, I've found more and more times that I wish I could just plug a wire into a device and have it transfer large data chunks faster. 

Part of my job requires me to setup new PCs and tablets and I like to create an image of the machine when I'm done so if the client screws things up, I can quickly restore the backup. Often, pushing the image over a wireless network - even a fast one - can take a long time and it's really handy to be able to push this much faster over a wired network. Also, with the aforementioned Ultrabooks and other devices, there is often only a single USB 3.0 port and it would be nice to plug in multiple devices and card readers into the machine in order to maximize the 5Gbps bus offered by USB 3.0 but that single port can only go so far.

Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 Package

 

That's why the Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 is more handy than you might think. If offers a total of 3 USB 3.0 ports in addition to the Gigabit Ethernet port. Let's take a look at what you're getting in this package and then quickly cover how it performs.

 

First Look:

The Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 ships in one of those annoying clear clamshell packages that require you to cut it open with scissors, but once you hack your way into the beast, you will find the following items. 

Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 Bundle

 

In addition to a software CD that contains drivers for Windows and Mac, you have the small USB 3.0 Hub as well as a powered adapter in order to provide power-hungry USB 3.0 devices enough juice to operate properly. There is also a quick-install guide, but as this product is USB, you simply plug it in.

For the record, installation in a Windows 10 Build 9879 machine didn't require drives at all. It took a couple of minutes to download the drivers from the web and it was ready to go. For testing, I made sure I used the drives on the disk (which were the same as downloaded) so that the performance you'll see in a few minutes will be accurate as to what you should expect.

Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 USB 3.0 Ports Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 Gigabit Ethernet Port

 

The device is large enough to provide ample space by each USB port in order to use fatter flash drives. This is awesome and I'd much rather have a USB hub that is a little bulkier than one that requires small USB devices only.

On the next page, we'll quickly come some of the features and specifications before we quickly touch on testing, performance and compatibility.


 

Overview:

The following information has been taken from the Trendnet site and posted here for your convience. If you want all the little details, including software downloads and product manual, please check their site as they have all the latest information. If you just want the quick scoop, we've got it below.

TRENDnet’s USB 3.0 to Gigabit Adapter + USB Hub, model TU3-ETGH3, adds a Gigabit Ethernet port and three 5 Gbps SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports to a Windows® or Mac® computer. The TU3- ETGH3 is also compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports. An included optional power adapter provides full power to power hungry USB devices.

 Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 Profile

 

Features:

  • Gigabit Ethernet - Adds a Gigabit Ethernet port
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 - Adds three USB 3.0 ports which support 5 Gbps speeds when connected to a USB 3.0 port
  • Flexible Connector - Attached flexible 10 cm (4 in.) USB 3.0 cable accommodates most installation scenarios
  • Operating Systems - Compatible with Windows® and Mac® operating systems
  • Compatibility - Compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1 ports
  • Power - Optional adapter ensures operability of power hungry connected USB devices

 

 

Specifications:

Device Interfaces:

  • 1 x type-A (male) USB 3.0 connector
  • 3 x type-A (female) USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 x Gigabit port


System Compatibility:

  • Windows® 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP; Mac® OS 10.6 - 10.9

Maximum Data Rate:

  • Up to 2 Gbps (Gigabit Port)
  • Up to 5 Gbps (USB Port)


Special Features:

  • Energy saving GREENnet technology

 

On the last page, we'll take a look at performance of the USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet port as well as talk about USB 3.0 performance and see if this unit can work on a Chromebook as well.


Performance:

For performance testing the Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 we hooked it up to a couple of different machines and found the performance to be consistent under both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 preview platforms. Out of curiosity, I tried it on a Chromebook as well and discovered that it worked flawlessly and was automatically installed instantly. The USB 3.0 functionality and performance on any of the platforms we tried was exceptional and there was no difference in performance when devices were plugged directly into the machine or the USB 3.0 Hub. In terms of networking performance, I had my doubts however.

 

Often times, a Gigabit port in a USB adapter is not quite up to the task and the performance of an on-board solution through a laptop mainboard or a desktop mainboard is much better. The Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 surprised me though and the performance numbers are below. For all of our network performance data, we use a program called "iperf" and run a server instance and push data using a single instance and then five instances to gauge single and multiple connections. It really stresses the connection and we run a minimum of five separate tests and average the results.

Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 Performance

For this short comparison, we used a Killer e2200 on-board solution found on our MSI Z97 motherboard. This is a better solution than many other motherboards and the Trendnet USB 3.0 proved more than adequate and out-performed in overall throughput when testing multiple simultaneous file transfers. I was very impressed.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Trendnet TU3-ETGH3 is a simple product that offers a lot for a little. It lists at ~$40 currently and for that price you get three USB 3.0 ports and a very fast Gigabit Ethernet port. Granted, if you are maxing out the USB 3.0 connections you're going to see a bit of a slowdown on the network and vice versa, but in reality, there will be very little reason - or duration of such a load if you are using it for some extra connectivity on your Ultrabook or Chromebook.

Trendnet makes no mention of compatibility with Google's ChromeOS, but on the Acer CB5-311 13.3-inch 1080p Tegra K1 powered machine, it worked perfect. It gave me the wired connectivity for my network that I wanted as well as an additional two USB 3.0 ports on this machine.

The build quality, price, performance and general usefulness of the USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter + USB Hub is fantastic. While it will not be required for desktop applications; Laptop, Windows Tablet, Ultrabook and Chromebook users can gain a lot of extra connectivity without shelling out a lot of money, and that is a great big win.

 

Pros:

  • Extra connectivity
  • Great performance
  • Low cost
  • Awesome compatibility

 

Cons:

  • None

This product score a perfect 10/10 as there is nothing wrong with any piece of it in terms of hardware, software or performance. It is top-notch and a "Gold" Editor's Choice Winner!

I'd like to thank Trendnet for sending over this product for a review. While it may seem more like an "advertorial" than a review, the reality is that it just works and does everything they claim and more. It's a great product that any geek would love to have in their toolkit.