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Ports Aplenty
Back in 1995 when USB was first introduced, or probably a little time later to be accurate, we got a fairly simple four-port USB1.1 hub to review and I recall sitting looking at and wondering when we'd ever see four USB enabled devices so I could get some benefit from it. That was in the days when USB seemed like a great idea but one that'd simply never catch on, not if the rather indifferent attitude from industry was anything to go by anyway.

Catch on it did though and today I have a pair of 7-port hubs sat on my desk alongside the four hardwired to my motherboard, and I have just a single connection free.

We could no doubt argue all day about the whole USB versus Fire-wire debate and which is better, but on this occasion which is better is all but irrelevant. USB is quite simply everywhere, in my case powering my mouse, my keyboard, my scanner and printer, my external storage, my mobile phone cradle, my Pocket PC, my VoIP handset, my MP3 player, my digital camera, my joystick, my DACAL CD storage carousel, my Bluetooth dongle and more. Fire-wire may have its advantages but you've got to hand to Intel, they've made USB an invaluable connection standard that we just can't live without.

So after a buildup like that it must be a USB hub I have to review today right? Well, kind of. The ICY BOX IB-861 does feature a four-port USB 2.0 hub but then pads out its CV with a 33-in-1 memory card reader, a Fire-wire port, an external 5 Volt and 12 Volt power jack, a mic, line in and headphone socket and a video in phono (RCA/Cinch) connector.

Key features

Supports 33 memory cards
4 port USB 2.0 Hub
Fits into standard 5.25 drive bay
Lighted interfaces
Power interfaces for 5 and 12 V

Memory Compatibility

Compact Flash Card TYPE I, Compact Flash Card TYPE II
Compact Flash Ultra Card TYPE I
Compact Flash Ultra II Card TYPE I
Compact Flash Extreme Card
Compact Flash Extreme III Card
IBM Micro Drive Card
Smart Media Card
xD-Picture Card
Secure Digital Card
Secure Digital PRO Card
Secure Digital Ultra II Card
Secure Digital Extreme Card Secure Digital Extreme III Card
Mini Secure Digital Card
Mini Secure Digital PRO Card
Multi Media Card
Multi Media PRO Card
Reduced Sized Multi Media Card
Memory Stick
Memory Stick (With memory select function)
Memory Stick (Magic Gate / High Speed data transfer compatible)
Memory Stick (Magic Gate / High Speed data transfer compatible with memory select function)
Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Duo (Magic Gate / High Speed data transfer compatible)
Memory Stick Pro
Memory Stick Pro Ultra II
Memory Stick Pro Extreme
Memory Stick Pro Extreme III
Memory Stick Pro Duo
Magic Gate Memory Stick
Magic Gate Memory Stick Duo
Memory Stick ROM