SilverStone Technology was founded in 2003 on the principle of recognition that merely having innovative expertise within the industry is not enough. Their objective is to ensure that their expertise is delivered to all products with consistency, in response to user’s needs, and with maximum user satisfaction. SilverStone Technology thrives on challenges of rapid technological advancements and creating an aesthetic standard for the industry. Their products are of high quality. Product lines include PC Chassis, PSU, Cooling Solution, Storage devices, etc.
In this content we will be taking a look at SilverStone EP03B which is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 based 4-port hub with fast charging and monitoring functionality. The salient features of the product include:
- Integrated display for monitoring voltage and current
- Supports current up to 2A for each USB port
- Provides four 5Gbps Super Speed USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
- High quality brushed aluminum design
- Supports over voltage and over current protection
- Includes AC adapter for stable power delivery
- Compliant with USB battery charging specification 1.2
- Multinational power adapter included (V2 only)
|Price||USD 34.99 MRSP|
Packaging and Unboxing
The product is shipped inside a cardboard box.
The SST-EP03B provides 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports for connectivity with the computer as well as dedicated AC adapter for fast charging. It has integrated monitoring which allows the user to monitor the voltage and current of individual port.
The salient features are printed in 10 languages along with the EAN, UPC info labels and a serial no sticker. The product is made in China.
Salient features are highlighted here. The product comes with multi-plugs for international use. These plugs are provided with Version 2 of the product.
Specifications of the product are printed.
Opening the box will show the hub itself placed on top of inner card cover along with the user manual.
SilverStone EP03B is a 4-port USB hub and fast charger with an integrated monitoring meter. Here is what SilverStone is saying about it, “To satisfy users’ increasing sophisticated need for USB 3.1 Gen 1 data transfer and fast charging of mobile devices, SilverStone created the EP03, a smart USB 3.1 Gen 1 hub. It has four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports with a digital power meter display that can monitor each port’s voltage and current output. Compliant with USB battery charging specification 1.2 (BC 1.2), the EP03 is capable of providing up to 2A from one single USB port for fast charging supported mobile devices. In addition, built-in protection mechanism ensures the EP03 can deliver power evenly and safely according to the number or the state of battery charge of connected devices. All of these nifty power delivery characteristics can be seen in real time via its power meter so user has complete knowledge of all connected mobile devices’ power draw state at any time. This is also useful for checking if a new/replacement charging cable is up to spec compared with the original one!”
The SST-EP03B has a dimension of 51×31.5x130mm (WxHxD). The housing of the product is made of brushed aluminum and plastic. We have 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1 based ports on the top powered by Genesys Logic GL3522 chip. Following are the few features of the hub controller:
- Low Power Requirement
- 4-Port Hub Controller
- Genesys Logic’s own developed USB 3.1 Gen 1 Super Speed transmitter/receiver physical layer
- Compliant with USB 2.0 High-Speed PHY
- Supports Super-Speed, High-Speed, and Full-Speed USB connections
- Backwards compatibility with USB 2.0 and 1.1
- Built-In 5V to 3.3V and 1.2V regulators
- Supports native Fast Charging compliant with USB-IF battery charging specifications
- Supports Fast Charging during Sleep and Power-Off modes
- Package Type QFN 76 (9x9mm)
Each port of the hub has an LED indicator right next to it. The LED indicator helps the user to know which port is selected using a SELECT button. We have an LCD display on the lower section of the housing. It displays the Voltage and Ampere of the selected port. The hub takes AC 100~240V 50~60Hz. The output is DC 5V and 3.5A. Each port supports up to 2A. The hub has Over-Voltage and Over-Current protection built-in. The hub is Fast Charging capable using USB Battery Charging 1.2 Compliance. SilverStone has mentioned that its detect range is 0-5.5V with an error margin of ±0.1V and 0-2.5A with an error margin of ±0.1A.
The backside of the hub has 4 rubber feet which is a nice touch as SilverStone was paying attention to the details. There is a serial number sticker printed in the center along with the info label.
The SilverStone EP03B has a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector and a DC power port on the side.
SilverStone has provided a USB cable along with the hub for connectivity with the PC. The length of the USB is short in my opinion as we have to place the hub closer to the PC. The length should be enough allowing the user to conveniently place the hub closer to the side of the PC case near to the user’s access without leaving the chair.
SilverStone has provided a dedicated AC adapter with the hub. The user has the option to either connect the hub to the wall directly which also allows the fast charging or connect the hub to the PC. The power cable of the adapter has plentiful length for convenient use. The user can connect the hub to the PC with AC adapter plugged in as well. Please note that data transmission over the fast charging port would only be done if the connected device supports the CDP (Charging Downstream Port) protocol.
The socket of the adapter has a modular design which allows the user to connect either of provided 4x plugs supporting international use.
The above picture shows the AC adapter with the plug installed on it. Simply place the plug on the top matching the tabs and rotate clockwise to lock it. Rotating anticlockwise would unlock the plug.
The above picture shows another plug installed on the adapter.
Pressing the release button on the housing of the adapter would release the plug form the socket.
SilverStone has provided 4x plugs with the EP03B for international use.
The user manual is comprehensive.
Here are some important instructions for EP03B use:
- To use EP03 for fast charging, we recommend using factory included USB cable from your device manufacturer for best results. Lower quality cable may reduce charging efficiency and speed.
- While the device is charging, no data transmission can occur at the same time if the device does not support CDP (charging downstream port).
- The computer will install required driver automatically upon its connection to the EP03 for the very first time. Please wait for driver installation to complete before using it.
- Please make sure the AC adapter is plugged when using EP03.
- Your PC host and OS must fully support USB 3.1 Gen 1 for super speed transfer rate of 5Gbps to work. Otherwise, it will revert to USB 2.0 standard speed.
- Please un-plug the adapter if EP03 is not to be used for an extended period of time.
- EP03 is only intended for use in dry indoor conditions. No part of the product should be allowed to become moist so never handle it with your hands wet.
- EP03 has an included standard 5V/3.5A adapter to provide one USB port with fast charging capability (2A). If the user wants have fast charging to more than one USB port simultaneously, then he/she needs to purchase a 5V adapter with higher amperage rating.
- EP03 can support a maximum of 2A for each USB port, but the current delivery rate will vary according to your devices’ charging state. When a device’s battery is nearly full, the EP03 will automatically adjust current delivery to protect it.
There is two phase testing of the SST-EP03B. Since it is not only a charging hub but a metered connection on high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 1 protocol, we need to test the transfer speed as well as the charging rate of the hub.
The following configuration is used for speed testing:
- Intel i9 10850k
- GIGABYTE Z490 Vision G
- Lian Li GALAHAD 360 White
- XPG Spectrix D50 16GB @ 3600MHz
- GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 3070 VISION OC
- SAMSUNG 256GB NVMe SSD [OS Drive]
- Lian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG White Edition
- DeepCool DQ750-M2 White PSU
The testing is done using Patriot Viper 64GB USB 3.1 drive. The drive is rated for up to 385MB/s sequential read and up to 40MB/s sequential write speed. For testing, we have used the Crystal Disk Mark benchmark with the drive connected to the SST-EP03B and the drive connected directly to the motherboard.
The drive was operating closer to its specifications during the test.
Next, we connected the SAMSUNG GALAXY S7 Edge Smart Phone to the SST-EP03B for the charging test. In our first phase the EP03B was connected only to the PC. We have used Ampere app from GOOGLE Play Store to show the charging statistics. In the second phase the AC adapter was connected as well to the EP03B and Ampere app was used again for the charging statistics. The readings were taken after 10 minutes of charging. Here is the result:
|EP03B Connected to PC Only||EP03B with AC Adapter plugged in|
|Voltage/Current from Ampere app||4.031V / 680mA||4.112V / 1010mA|
|Voltage/Current from EP03B Meter||4.7V / 0.8A||5.0V / 1.1A|
It can be seen that charging the smart phone using the EP03B on PC is slower then charging it using the EP03B with AC Adpater plugged in. This also verifies the fast speed charging capability of the EP03B. Please note that SilverStone has already mentioned that if charging using PC connectivity on EP03B then charging current may fall below 0.5A and that they suggest to use the AC Adapter for fast charging.
The SilverStone EP03B is a SMART 4-port charging and communication hub with digital display meter. It is using the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface on the 4x ports and supports the fast charging. It is compliant with the USB battery charging 1.2 protocol and supports the CDP functionality as well. Using CDP (Channel Downstream Port) the connected device can be fast charged along with the data connectivity at a time provided the device supports the CDP. The hub comes with multi-plugs for international use and AC Adapter.
The housing of the hub is made of brushes aluminum with plastic. There is a display on the surface which allows the user to monitor the voltage and current usage of the selected port. The user can switch to the other ports by pressing the SELECT button provided on the housing. It is a handy feature allowing the live power monitoring. The hub can also be used to test the USB cable which allows the user to verify the specification of the cable.
The hub can be connected to the PC for data connectivity using USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection for up to 5 Gbps speed. The chip driving the SST-EP03B is GL3522 from Genesys Logic which is low-powered 4-port controller with multiple features like supporting CDP, Super-Speed, Fast-Speed, and High-Speed charging complying to USB-IF battery charging 1.2 protocol and built-in voltage regulators (5V to 3.3 and 1.2V). The SST-EP03B has over voltage and over current protection features.
The SST-EP03B has MSRP of USD 34.99 at the time of the review. We have tested the hub for USB 3.1 Gen 1 based data transfer rate and charging function. The hub is found working flawlessly. The SST-EP03B is a feature rich and complete solution for multi-port fast charging hub with high speed USB connectivity differentiating it from the other options. Having features like fast charging, digital display power meter, USB 3.1 Gen 1 based data connectivity, power balancing, and safety features, the SST-EP03B comes recommended by us.
We are thankful to SilverStoneTek for giving us the opportunity to review their SST-EP03B.