Transferring data is a common task that many computer-users are often faced with on a regular basis. Most accessories and peripherals operate using USB to quickly transfer data, but if you’re stuck using the older version, USB 2.0, rather than the latest USB 3.0 version, you’ll likely be wishing for an upgrade.
Although USB 2.0 can still transfer fairly quick at 480 megabits or 60 megabytes per second, USB 3.0 is capable of reaching speeds up to ten times as fast at up to 5 gigabits or 640 megabytes per second. With quicker speeds you’ll experience less wait time to make for a more productive time spent to get things completed much faster than before.
Whether you’re putting together a brand new system, or simply upgrading an existing computer, we’re going to outline a few of the best USB 3.0 PCI-Express add-on cards for 2016-2017.
Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 PCI Express Card
- The Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 PCI Express Card offers an easy integration with just about every kind of computer and Operating System. Fully compatible with every version of Windows from XP or newer, and there’s even specific expansion cards for easly 2008 to late 2012 Mac systems. However, do keep in mind that some older Operating Systems may have limitations in place that may not let you achieve full USB 3.0 speeds.
- Offers up to seven individual ports, but available in smaller sizes like four or five port varieties with a respective decrease in retail price for the less amount of USB 3.0 ports you opt for.
- Offers a wide range of connection options for powering the card so it’s always ready to use and able to deliver promised speeds. Select from a 15 or 20-pin connector, or simply choose the 4-port, new-release version that can power itself without the need for an additional cable.
- Easy installation with plug and play operation in most situations with the most recent Operating Systems like Windows 8 and 10. There may be a need to install additional drivers if you’re using an outdated OS like XP.
- Backwards compatible with older USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 devices so you can still use your older gadgets even though they may not readily support the new USB 3.0 version. It comes included with the necessary drivers on a CD, but Inateck highly recommends simply downloading the latest version of the drivers from their website for the best experience.
Anker Uspeed USB 3.0 PCI Express Card
- Available in either 2-port of 4-port varieties, the Anker Uspeed USB 3.0 PCI Express Card was designed for adding an easy-upgrade for anyone looking to increase their transfer rates to the latest Super-Speed USB 3.0 standards of 5 Gbps.
- The 2-port card is powered by a standard 5V 4-pin or 20-pin power connector. The 4-port card is powered by a standard 5V 4-pin connector, but it doesn’t have an input for a 20-pin power connector.
- Works well with virtually any Microsoft Operating System from Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and even 10. Both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms are compatible.
- All of your older, outdated devices can still be used since backwards compatibility is standard. Although USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 are significantly slower, your older technology will still be able to communicate and transfer data without any hiccups.
- Backed by a generous 12-month warranty period that assures it’ll still be functioning properly for a year down the road from the day you purchase it.
- Priced affordably for anyone looking to make an upgrade on a budget. Retails for under $20.
Rosewill 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI-E Card
- Offering one of the quickest and easy installation processes, the Rosewill 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI-E Card requires no additional power connection, but we do recommend using the integrated 4-pin power connector for best results and to power your devices, rather than simply transfer-only. However, do keep in mind that you may need an available 4-pin power connector since one is not included.
- Utilizing the Renesas uPD720201 chipset, you’re given access to USB 3.0 Super-Speed technology at 5 Gbps through a single lane on your motherboard. Designed to support simultaneous transferring of multiple devices at once, you can achieve multiple transfers with all formats of USB 1.1, 2.0 or 3.0.
- Compatible with hot-swapping so you don’t necessarily need to power down your devices or your system before removing them from the ports.
- Designed to support a wide range of Operating Systems that operate on either 32-bit or 64-bit platforms. Including but not limited to Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 and 10. Although most OS’s won’t require drivers, they’ve included a drivers CD where you can manually install them if need be.
- Users have stated that it works well in Linux, although you may need to manually install certain drivers.
- Coming in at a price tag of around $18, it surely won’t break the bank, and should work without flaws for years to come. Both the value and quality are paired well together.
SAWAKE 4 Port Pin USB 3.0 PCI-E Card
- As one of the most inexpensive and budget-friendly options currently available, the SAWAKE 4 Port Pin USB 3.0 PCI-E Card offers SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology for the best transmission and transfer speeds between your computer and any USB 3.0 connected device(s).
- Although not necessarily required, you can connect a 4-pin power connector to unleash the best abilities for high-current consumption devices and peripherals that may require more-demanding power. If you’re like to experience hot-swapping and charging capabilities, we highly recommend connecting a 4-pin connector.
- Compatible with virtually any Operating System from Windows 2000 and newer. There’s an included drivers CD for installation if needed. Some outdated Operating Systems may not support USB 3.0, or may not recognize the expansion card altogether. If this is the case, try installing the drivers manually.
- The most inexpensive option at under $10. An easy and effortless upgrade for anyone – even with no prior experience.
Although many new motherboards and pre-built computers may come with a few USB 3.0 ports, you may either want to add several more or simply add a couple additional, depending on your specific needs and what you’ll utilize your system for. Offering the fastest transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps or 640 Megabytes per second, you’ll likely spend less wait time and have more productivity to finish certain tasks in a much more acceptable time-frame.
We’ve over-viewed, outlined, and reviewed a few individual PCI-Express cards that are all easy-upgrades for the novice computer users. Adding an additional PCI-Express card doesn’t have to be a daunting and cumbersome tasks – a simple plug and play upgrade is all that’s required in most situations – especially if you’re using a newer Operating System.
Although they’re all great options, we’re going to recommend the Anker Uspeed USB 3.0 PCI Express Card above the rest since it comes packed with a generous 12 month warranty period. But if warranties aren’t all that important to you, you’ll likely be fine with either option since they’re all backward compatible with USB 1.1 and 2.0, and work well with virtually any Operating System that’s out there.
If you’re looking for the highest level of compatibility, be sure to checkout the Inateck PCI-E to USB 3.0 PCI Express Card since they offer Mac-specific PCIe cards and a variety of available inputs – all of the way up to seven USB 3.0 ports.
On a budget and in need of a simple option? Although all of the ones we’ve covered are quite inexpensive, the SAWAKE 4 Port Pin USB 3.0 PCI-E Card is priced less than all of the others.