4 Port USB 3.0 PCI-e Desktop Card

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Sicklyboy, Jul 8, 2011.

Jul 8, 2011
  1. Sicklyboy
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    Global Moderator Sicklyboy Resident Mechanical Keyboard Addict

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    [yt]ynH7ETlklE8[/yt]
    Edit - sorry for the HORRIBLE video quality. 2.0 MP cell phone camera + this being maybe my third youtube upload ever = nasty looking.

    So, I ordered a 4 Port USB 3.0 PCI-e card from DinoDirect. When I bought it, it had been on sale for $17.09 USD. I would say that it will drop down to the normal price of $34.18 USD, but I can't be certain, because the timer keeps resetting each day when the sale "ends". Shipping was very fast, coming to NJ from Hong Kong, due in part from the EMS shipping I chose, but that aside the item was shipped out in 3 days, which is very fast compared to some other China-based competitors. Once shipped, it took roughly a week for me to get.

    Now, I unfortunately do NOT have any USB 3.0 devices, but I will still be doing a benchmark with DiskBench v2.6.1.0 on Windows 7 x64. I will be copying a file to and from the drive (MadWorld, RZZE8P.wbfs, totaling at 3.39 GB) as well as creating a file on the drive, all over the USB 3.0 ports, then tested against the USB 2.0 ports built into my motherboard to see if there is any difference. Results below in the spoiler.

    Installation of the card was easy, provided you know have basic knowledge of the internal components of a computer. The card is a PCI-e 1x form-factor with a 4 pin Molex power connector to power it. It fit right into my PCI-e 16x slot (my motherboard has 4 16x ones, nothing smaller). Turning on the computer, no BIOS settings needed to be changed to allow the card to work (NOTE: The card is NOT bootable, and thus you will be unable to load an OS or bootable program off of any external media from it). Booting into Windows, the card is detected, but no drivers are found. You follow by inserting the mini-CD included in the box, and this is where the trouble starts. The drivers on the CD are NOT compatible with the card, as far as I can tell. The 2 included drivers are Fresco Logic USB 3.0 Host controller (x86/x64) and Renesas Electronics uPD720200 & uPD720200A USB 3.0 Host Controller Driver Kit (x86 and x64) for Windows XP, VISTA, 7 and Server 2008 Release 2. The card has a VIA Technologies chipset, and forcing the card to use any of the drivers included on the disk caused the card to either "not start", as reported with Device Manager, or in the case of one driver cause a blue screen. I'm not sure why this is, but my best guess can only be that while the website and the item I actually received both show a 4 port card, the box itself shows a 2 port card and the UPC label on it specifies NEC 2 port USB 3.0 card (shows in pictures below). Somehow, I suppose it could be possible that there was a mixup in the manufacturing plant, including on product with the CD and box for another.

    Regardless, after about two hours of looking around, I found compatible drivers. The drivers can be found on EVGA's website for the integrated VIA Technologies USB 3.0 controller found on their P67-FTW motherboard, with a direct link to the download here (I will be keeping a permanent download of the file on my computer for my own purposes. Should the EVGA link ever go down, PM me and I will mirror it somewhere.) To install the drivers in a Windows 7 64-bit environment, do the following:

    1: Physically install the card and connect the 4 pin Molex connector for power
    2: Boot Windows
    3: Download the VIA Technologies USB 3.0 Root Hub driver for EVGA p67-FTW motherboards here.
    4: Extract the contents to a folder on your desktop.
    5: Open Device Manager, right click any device along the name of "Universal Serial Bus (USB) Controller" that is missing a driver (yellow ? mark)
    6: Click "Properties", then "Update Driver"
    7: Click "Browse my computer for driver software", then browse to the folder where the drivers are stored.
    8: Make sure "Include subfolders" is checked, then click next.
    9: If all goes as it should, the drivers should install. You should now see another USB device in Device Manager missing a driver, complete the same process for that with the same drivers.
    10: Reboot computer and test the card.

    Once past this hurdle, the card should be in perfect working order. As previously stated, I don't have any USB 3.0 devices to test performance with, just compatibility with USB 2.0 devices and read/write times compared to those of a USB 2.0 host.

    Conclusion: Good price for the card, easy to install but a major pain to set up since the included drivers aren't for this device. However, once set up correctly, device is a good buy to future-ready your computer as USB 3.0 becomes the standard. As the benchmarks show, the USB 3.0 card allowed the drive to write files faster, but reading them was a bit slower than the USB 2.0 port. However, this is not a professional test, and I only did one round of tests on each port. For a more accurate test, it should have between 3 to 5 runs on each port, so take this as an estimate and NOT an actual evaluation of the card's performance with USB 2.0 hardware. Edit - I forgot to mention, one other small quirk about the product - the bracket that sits up against the back of the PCI slots on your case were loose, but nothing that a philips screwdriver couldn't easily fix in a matter of 4 seconds.

    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Pictures Below
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
     
  2. hamidf

    Newcomer hamidf Newbie

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    thank you for the review, appreciated.
     
  3. yuyuyup

    Member yuyuyup GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Since USB 3 is more powerful, does it recharge devices faster, even if they are 2.0 or 1.0 ?
     
  4. kaputnik

    Member kaputnik GBAtemp Regular

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    That depends. You could do an educated guess by simply check what current a wall socket charger for that specific device delivers. If it's above 500 mA, charging the device using an USB 3.0 port is likely to be faster than using a 2.0 one. However, that doesn't take eventual current limiting in the device's charging circuit into account, so it won't give you a definitive answer.
     
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  5. linxinru

    Newcomer linxinru Newbie

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    :)  good one.
     
  6. belgraneros

    Newcomer belgraneros Newbie

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    Thanks a lot! I have the exact same card and I couldn't find the damn driver.
    Finally with your help I've installed it
     
  7. Themanhunt

    Member Themanhunt GBAtemp Fan

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    As a rule of thumb, don't buy these sorts of expansion cards. Chinese, cheap - the wrong words. Sure it may work, but the speeds most probably wont be the full speed they could be.

    Just go for a recommendable brand like Akasa.
     

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