Maggie from CA writes:
I would like to update my USB ports to 3.0. After researching online for a 4 port USB 3.0 card, I find that prices vary from $20 – $100, depending on the brand. Is one brand of card better than another?
USB 3.0 is the newest standard of USB specification, which allows devices made to work with USB 3.0 operate far faster then the same device would over a USB 2.0 connection. USB 3.0 add-on cards are available for desktop PCs, but how do you decide which one to buy?
A few things to consider:
How many USB 3.0 ports do you get? Some add-on cards will give you 1 USB 3.0, some 2 and others 4. You want to determine how many USB 3.0 ports you’ll think you will need and buy the card that fits. There is no advantage to using a USB 2.0 device in a 3.0 port, and certain devices like mice and keyboards do not generate enough information to use any of the increase in speed with USB 3.0. Hard Drives, Flash Drives and Cameras are principally what you would want to use with a USB 3.0 port. That is, if the device has a USB 3.0 connector.
Does the card have an internal port or not? Some add-on cards have an internal port and front mounted plate to add a USB 3.0 port to the front of the computer or to connect the internal port to a new cases’ internal USB 3.0 port. If this is important to you, get one, but unless the card comes with a new faceplate that fits in a 5 1/4 drive slot, you most likely will not have an internal connector on your computer that would work with USB 3.0.
Will the card fit into your computer? Most USB 3.0 cards require a PCI-Express slot. Make sure your computer has one open PCI-Express slot, since it will not fit into a regular PCI or AGP slot.
The various options will dictate the price, but don’t underestimate the value of buying from a company with good support and return policies. Like any computer hardware, it risks the possibility of being defective, and you want to know the manufacturer will stand behind their product.
P.S. WorldStart does offer a USB 3.0 add-on card here: http://store.worldstart.com/product/7416