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  • Mar 22nd, 2017 7:23 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 14, 2004
2620 posts
164 upvotes
North Etobicoke

USB 3.0 Question

My computer has no USB 3.0 ports and the MB does not have a USB 3 port on it. I have a free PCIe 2.0 slot available. Can I put this card in to that slot to gain USB 3.0 ports ?
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_ ... _id=081467
Or only a MB that supports USB 3.0 can solve this issue?
TIA
15 replies
Deal Addict
Apr 14, 2007
2831 posts
327 upvotes
Montreal
It should work. Would be best to know your specs as well...
Jr. Member
Jan 12, 2017
116 posts
27 upvotes
That's what I did, gained about a 3 fold increase in speed over usb 2 with one of those 4 port versions.
Jr. Member
Mar 3, 2017
110 posts
41 upvotes
Check manufacturer's site and makes sure they have win 10 drivers, then make sure they have more than 1 driver revision for win8 and 7. If they don't then don't be surprised later on if they cease making drivers and a new version of win10 breaks the drivers rendering your card nonfunctional.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 14, 2004
2620 posts
164 upvotes
North Etobicoke
gnuman wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 9:21 pm
It should work. Would be best to know your specs as well...
Win 7 Ultimate
P5E3 Premium. https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P5E3_PremiumWiFiAP_n/
Intel Q6850 @ 3.00GHz
4GB Ram
GeForce 8800GTX
It serves me well and I don't wish to upgrade at this point. Home use only, no gaming.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 14, 2004
2620 posts
164 upvotes
North Etobicoke
Pleas do not buy this card if expecting 3.0 speeds, it runs at 2.0 speeds. Does anyone have one of these upgrade PCIe cards from USB 2.0 to 3.0, not a 3.0 Hub. Please let me know, better yet if you bought it from CC and I have to go back there to return this one.
Between SYBA , Mediasonic and Vantec which one will be my best buy to get a functioning card.
TIA
Penalty Box
Mar 23, 2004
21447 posts
2312 upvotes
Not understanding PCIe bandwidths is how you got into this trouble, lol. It's tough to blame just you when manufacturers sell x1 USB 3.0 cards w/o warning though.

I'm guessing you are trying to add this to a 5-series board? Because you mention PCIe 2.0 which is non-existent on 3 and 4 series (Core2) boards. If you had a 6-series or later board, you'd already have native USB 3.0 ports...

The thing you have to keep in mind with 5-series (P55/H55/H57/etc.) is that the PCIe slots are 1.x [bandwidth] from the PCH. The only "real" 2.0 slots are the CPU-linked slots you have on the board. If you only have one of these, and it's filled with a GPU, then your other slots are all 1.x. Most board makers tell you something to that effect but some don't. Intel played a small trick here with the 5-series chipsets, technically these are called/conform to PCIe 2.0 but they are bandwidth limited to half their bandwidth, meaning they're essentially PCIe 1.x. DMI 1.0 was pretty crappy, unfortunately.

Now consider that USB 3.0 (now called USB 3.1 Gen 1) has a max theoretical bandwidth of 5Gb/s but due to encoding this is really 5GT/s--a resultant 500MB/s which happens to be exactly the same as a PCI-e 2.0 x1 link. However when you put that in a slot with half bandwidth you've just bottlenecked it to half that (and this is a real/actual bottleneck not the stuff some other people call "bottlenecking" :rolleyes: ).

What this means is a USB 3.0 connection through an x1 slot on a 5-series board is limited to just 2.5GT/s, not the 5GT/s you're expecting.

Incidentally, this is why some 5-series boards that had [3rd party] USB 3.0 had the option of electrically linking the on-board controller to the CPU at the cost of halving the GPU/x16 slot to x8 bandwidth. This is typically called something like "USB 3.0 Turbo Mode" or something like that. I have this option on my Gigabyte P55 board, for example.

Barring that you need a PCIe card that uses an x4 link instead. But of course you also need a PCIe slot that is electrically x4 or more on your board. PCIe x4 even at 1.1 bandwidths offers more than enough bandwidth for USB 3.0--you get 1GB/s which is about twice what USB 3.0 needs.

In short, look for a card that uses an x4 slot. Note that because there's no such thing as an x2 slot some cards actually have an x2 link but obviously have to have an x4 connector to use x2. These cards will work on your board at "just enough" bandwidth to cover USB 3.0--500MB/s or 5GT/s which is exactly what USB 3.0 needs--you'll suffer a small performance loss but it's likely very minor. The "full"/real x4 cards out there will be perfectly fine though, and you can even get a USB 3.1 Gen 2 card and be okay. In fact that's probably your best bet because Gen 2 cards will typically use x4 links given they need 10GT/s bandwidth to run properly--and heck might as well get the latest USB standard while you're at it right? Just hope you have an x4 slot on board.

Ones like these are what you'd be after:
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_ ... _id=087114
http://www.canadacomputers.com/product_ ... _id=089720

Downside is those cards don't offer either an internal connector or very many ports; so you'd still need a USB 3.x hub to get more ports if you wanted.

This is why it's not really a great idea to try to "upgrade" old boards for these newer standards--the cost is not too appealing. By the time you spend your money on that you could have bought an newer B-chipset (B85/B150/B250) board with all these features built-in/native. Of course you'd also have to buy a new CPU at a minimum (new RAM w/B150 or B250 as well) as well but you'd also be getting likely better performance and certainly lower power consumption.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 14, 2004
2620 posts
164 upvotes
North Etobicoke
Wow, I appreciate you answer. Now I have a better understanding. I was using the black PCIe universal slot which says it can run X1 or X4 and will adjust speed accordingly to card installed. I guess I needed a Gen 2 card
Thanked.
Jr. Member
Jan 12, 2017
116 posts
27 upvotes
The card I have is Marked IOCrest on the 3 yr warranty, but the blister pack peg card (no box) 'Etron 188' 4 port. Data Transfer rates to 5GBs (comes with some sort of min disk, but I never used it) and I've had maybe a year with it, and I am completely satisfied, speeds are on par to internal drives 80-120 mbs transfers, depending what you plugin. Purchased at CC ~30-40 bucks. I think this is it http://www.etron.com/en/products/u3hc_d ... oduct_ID=5
[OP]
Deal Addict
Mar 14, 2004
2620 posts
164 upvotes
North Etobicoke
PatK621 wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 11:18 am
The card I have is Marked IOCrest on the 3 yr warranty, but the blister pack peg card (no box) 'Etron 188' 4 port. Data Transfer rates to 5GBs (comes with some sort of min disk, but I never used it) and I've had maybe a year with it, and I am completely satisfied, speeds are on par to internal drives 80-120 mbs transfers, depending what you plugin. Purchased at CC ~30-40 bucks. I think this is it http://www.etron.com/en/products/u3hc_d ... oduct_ID=5
Yes, that's a gen 2 card but CC does not sell that model anymore..
Thanks.
Penalty Box
Mar 23, 2004
21447 posts
2312 upvotes
Menthol wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 10:06 am
Wow, I appreciate you answer. Now I have a better understanding. I was using the black PCIe universal slot which says it can run X1 or X4 and will adjust speed accordingly to card installed. I guess I needed a Gen 2 card
Thanked.
Menthol wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 2:39 pm
Yes, that's a gen 2 card but CC does not sell that model anymore..
Thanks.
I think you misunderstood. A Gen 2 card (speaking of PCIe version) won't help you. What you need is an x4 card, PCIe generation does not matter. That Etron card is an x1 card, it will suffer the same bandwidth problems as you're encountering. This is of course assuming you have a 5-series chipset that isn't an X58. You didn't specify what your chipset or board model was--that would be helpful.
Deal Addict
Feb 29, 2012
2096 posts
1058 upvotes
Richmond
What USB 3.0 devices do you plan to use with your new ports? The only USB 3.0 devices I have are portable disk drives, and they run at a very small fraction of theoretical USB 3.0 speed, so the kind of limitations that people are talking about here wouldn't matter.
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Nov 21, 2002
6931 posts
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Winnipeg
Faith24 wrote:
Mar 20th, 2017 10:19 am
What USB 3.0 devices do you plan to use with your new ports? The only USB 3.0 devices I have are portable disk drives, and they run at a very small fraction of theoretical USB 3.0 speed, so the kind of limitations that people are talking about here wouldn't matter.
+1

if my memory is correct pcie-1x real world is like 250 MB/s speed
2tb/3tb/4tb external mechanical drive the most cost effective large storage mediums=100MB/s

You should be fine make sure the card isn't cr@p, do some research before you buy. Plus I don't think hubs are extra expenses for extra ports. Once you go hub.... the desktop gets the snub.... baby :facepalm: ?? LOL. Yeah I know it sounds bad but its true. For raw convenience and less clutter are the real reasons for buying a hub.

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