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Customer Review

on 21 September 2012
Card arrived promptly and well packaged. Be careful when cutting the tough retail packaging that you don't damage the mini CD hidden within -you'll need this to get started!

The card is quite dainty and fits nicely into your PCI Express slot (the tiny white one). It's a high profile card with a height of 4.2 inches; so don't buy this if you've got a low-profile case. Remember to fit the card with your PC turned off and all power cables removed.

Now there are two aspects of this card which I thought are worth comment; the drivers and the molex power connector on the card.

First, the molex connector. This is the white 4-pin power connector on the side of the card. This needs to be fed from one of the 12v molex cables coming from your PC power supply (which you've already got feeding your DVD drive and hard disks). Some report here that this card works fine without feeding it extra power, and others say it doesn't. My vote on this is that if you want to maintain USB 3 device performance you MUST power the card with a molex cable. To illustrate, when I provide extra power through the molex connector, my Kingston HyperX drive gives a sustained throughput of 135MB/s. If I turn off the computer, remove the molex plug and reboot, the performance goes haywire, surging randomly from anything between 5 and 135MB/s. So whilst the card works without extra power, it obviously struggles.

Next -the drivers. I recommend you upgrade these as soon as possible from the internet. This will prevent the spontaneous disconnection issue that some have reported. Downloading the latest drivers though isn't trivial as the tecknetonline.co.uk website doesn't provide them. As this card hosts the NEC/Renesas Controller chip you can get the drivers from Intel directly by googling "USB 3.0: Renesas Electronics* USB 3.0 Driver". I upgraded to version 2.1.28.0 and on my Windows 7 machine I am happy to report no problems.

In summary, this card isn't exactly plug'n'play. It's plug in, ferret around with your PC wiring, scrounge a molex cable, hunt for drivers on the internet, and then, finally, you can play. On the positive side though, once it's up and running it's perfectly good.
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