I can't find the original post I wanted to comment on so I am just sharing this as a new post. Belkin and several other companies make USB hubs that have AC (110 V) adapters that power them. If you use one of these you will never have the underperformance issues with the 3 volts your PC's USB ports seem to be able to muster. I had problems powering up multiple USB drives and my two phones at the same time before I adopted this fix. Don't have a take on the laptop / phone charger scenario.