Print 20 comment(s) - last by melgross.. on Jan 7 at 3:05 PM

For those who don't want a new mobo

Technology enthusiasts have been eagerly awaited products supporting the 5Gbps bandwidth of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 since NEC announced its first chips using the interface. Amongst the first products are Super Talent's USB 3.0 flash drive capable of 320MB/s using a UAS protocol driver. It began shipping to the channel this week and should be available to consumers soon.

The first motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA hit the market last month, but there are many who don't want to upgrade just for those features. ASUS is making a PCIe X4 adapter with two 6Gbps SATA ports and two USB 3.0 ports for around $40.

Other manufacturers want to get into the mix. Vantec has announced a PCIe adapter of its own, as well as an adapter for the ExpressCard format used in most laptops. The company is known for its external hard drive enclosures, and will be introducing 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch enclosures supporting USB 3.0 as well. Expect to see these hit stores in January.

Buffalo recently began shipping the DriveStation HD-HXU3, sporting a USB 3.0 external hard drive. They have also announced PCIe and ExpressCard adapters of their own.

Unfortunately, there have been delays in Intel's chipset roadmap,and there won't be any USB 3.0 chipsets from the blue team until 2011. AMD is planning support for USB 3.0 and 6Gbps SATA, but details have been light.

Ultimately, several motherboard makers have decided to got ahead and put these features on the motherboard themselves or provide adapter cards. In the competitive enthusiast motherboard market, these features are increasingly a must have, and will move to more mainstream boards as economies of scale kick in and chip prices drop.

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Nice Price
By LeftSide on 12/11/2009 1:11:02 PM , Rating: 4
I would expect something with cutting edge tech on it to be more than $40. I would be very willing to pay $40.

RE: Nice Price
By Golgatha on 12/11/2009 1:34:23 PM , Rating: 3
I suppose I'm in the crowd that feels eSATA, which I have on my portable 2.5in and 3.5in external drives, is plenty sufficient for the time being. I will simply wait until I want to upgrade and I'm sure both SATA 3 and USB 3.0 will be on my next motherboard by that time.

I do see lots of utility in both of these technologies and USB 2.0 has needed a speed boost for quite some time, especially now that we have 2.5in drives in 1TB capacities. It takes forever and a day compared to eSATA to fill one of those suckers up.

RE: Nice Price
By tastyratz on 12/11/2009 2:21:22 PM , Rating: 3
Sata and Esata are exactly the same thing with just a more robust connector for esata.

Sata speeds are more than sufficient to keep up with current generation mechanical drives. While the mechanical drives do not always benefit from the additional bandwidth, they DO benefit from restructured commands and capabilities. Every ounch counts.

Where sata will REALLY shine though is with the wildly growing ssd market.

USB 3.0 will be a welcome change to the slower usb 2.0 structure of today as well, and will certainly benefit today's high speed multimedia peripherals.

RE: Nice Price
By bhieb on 12/11/2009 3:19:45 PM , Rating: 5
I suppose I'm in the crowd that feels eSATA, which I have on my portable 2.5in and 3.5in external drives, is plenty sufficient for the time being.

To me the are nice for desktops applications, but for things like a thumb drive integrated power is a must. eSATA is nice, but having to run power to it as well sucks.

RE: Nice Price
By CharonPDX on 12/13/2009 12:22:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's becoming more common now for eSATA ports (especially on laptops) to be dual eSATA/USB ports. This seems perfect to provide eSATA power. But, of course, the SATA-IO probably doesn't want to include some other trade organization's tech (USB) in their spec; for fear of licensing issues.

RE: Nice Price
By Gungel on 12/11/2009 2:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
But the above mentioned card from ASUS only works on certain motherboards from ASUS. For a list of supported boards search for U3S6 on

RE: Nice Price
By feraltoad on 12/12/2009 12:12:27 AM , Rating: 2
Saying their motherboards are compatible doesn't mean that other manufacturers' boards are incompatible.

"Compatible with PCI Express x4, x8, and x16 slots"

RE: Nice Price
By Etern205 on 12/12/2009 10:14:50 PM , Rating: 2
Most of today's board don't have a x4 or x8 but does have x16s.

I've read that some boards will say in their manual, the x16 slot will either run at x1,x2 mode or just simply x16.

If a PCIe x16 slot can only run at x16 mode, will inserting this card will it...

1. Fried out the slot/motherboard as well as the card itself?
2. Simply not work?
3. The PCIe slot reduces itself to x4 mode even though it's not stated in the manual.

RE: Nice Price
By Gungel on 12/13/2009 11:26:35 AM , Rating: 2
As per specifications x16 slots should support any x4 card. Unless of course ASUS made some proprietary changes.

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