Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
Good value, but PCI-E 2.0 x1 can't realistically support 4 fast USB 3 devices
on 2 June 2012
On Windows, drivers are not found automatically via Windows Update, but they install easily using the companion CD. The card's VIA USB 3 controller is then correctly detected in device manager. Under Linux Mint (equivalently Ubuntu), the USB 3 xhcd_hcd driver module is loaded automatically when the device is detected, so in this case the card just worked. Under Gentoo I simply had to enable xHCD USB 3 support in the kernel configuration (Device Drivers -> USB -> xHCD).
USB 2 and USB 3 devices were successfully detected when plugged into the hub. Unfortunately the only available USB 3 device I have to hand at the moment is a flash drive which will has max read 60MB/s and max write 30MB/s. Therefore I didn't see any noticeable difference between the drive's performance when attached to a USB 2 or 3 port, simply because even the USB2 bus can just about handle this drive's maximum speeds.
Therefore, I can't directly comment it's performance for USB 3. However, what I can say is this: PCI Express 2.0 x1, according to Wikipedia, has a bandwidth of 4GBps. Now, each USB 3 port is supposed to support 5GBps. Obviously we don't actually expect all our USB 3 devices to run at 5GBps, but there are four ports on the card. My point therefore, is that if you have four fast USB 3 devices attached, all sharing the PCI-E bandwidth, you can't hope for more than 1GBps each, (125MB/s), a fifth of USB3's claimed 5GBps. Therefore, if you're buying a PCI-E 2.0 x1 USB 3 card, maybe it makes more sense to get one with only two ports. This is what lost the product a star, but given the low price, I am still happy with my purchase: even if I can't get full USB 3 speeds on all the ports, I have still added four new fast USB ports at relatively low cost.
Note about hardware installation - initially had a little difficulty getting this into the case. It appeared to be too small to reach the back panel, but it turned out in fact that the bracket wasn't successfully sliding into it's slot in the case side. So when you're installing this, make sure the bracket slides in correctly (in the end I had to remove my graphics card to see what I was doing). Anyway, other USB 3 cards appear to have identical dimensions, so this isn't really the fault of this card, but just something to bear in mind.