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Date: April 2nd, 2010
Article by: (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Vantec
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH



The card is nice and tiny so it should fit just fine in most all cases, even cramped ones. It will work in any PCI Express slot whether it is an x1, x4, x8, or x16 slot. Also note the SATA power connector; you must connect this or the card will not function.



Two USB ports are found on the back, and the blue color is indicative of USB 3.0 compatibility. You can also use USB 2.0 or 1.1 devices with this card, but you won't be maximizing your bandwidth unless you connect a USB 3.0 compatible device using a USB 3.0 cable.


Let's move on to installation and see what kind of performance increase we can expect out of USB 3.0

 

PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING



Before installing the card inside your case, it is recommended that you install the driver first. Just run the executable file found on the CD and accept all the default settings.



Installing this card is just like installing any other expansion card. Insert it into any available PCI-E slot on the motherboard, connect a SATA power cable from the PSU, and turn the system on. The OS will detect and install it automatically.



Once the card is installed, device manager will show the card as a NEC Electronics USB 3.0 Host Controller/Root Hub.


It's now time to get a real-world look at the difference in performance between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0. I'm going to test this card out by connecting two enclosures to the card one will be a USB 2.0 enclosure, and the other will be USB 3.0. Both have identical Western Digital 250GB 7200 RPM drives inside. Then, a DVD image file that is 4.35 GB in size will be copied to each of the enclosures and the times recorded.


Before doing that, I copied the file between two SATA II drives in my test PC running Windows XP SP3. It took 1 minute, 38 seconds. Let's see how that compares to using USB 2.0 first, then USB 3.0:


4.35 GB File Transfer (USB 2.0)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Write to Enclosure

2:05

Read from Enclosure

2:00


4.35 GB File Transfer (USB 3.0)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Write to Enclosure

1:39

Read from Enclosure

1:37


As we can see from the results, USB 3.0 performed just as well as SATA II and easily blew USB 2.0 out of the water. Transfer times between USB 3.0 and SATA II were just about equal, actually. This is a substantial increase in performance over USB 2.0 while maintaining the same ease of use and familiarity that we've all come to expect from the USB interface. I'd also be curious to see the results if I were to use a 10,000 RPM or solid state drive with this setup, but unfortunately I don't have either one of those to test with. Even with a 7200 RPM drive there was still a noticeable increase in performance, though. All in all I'm left very impressed.

 

 


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