USB 3.0 is the latest in a line of connection types for transferring data to and from various peripherals to your PC or Mac...
USB 3.0 is the latest in a line of connection types for transferring data to and from various peripherals to your PC or Mac. USB has long been the preferred choice for PC users, with Macs preferring Firewire. While USB 2.0 (480Kbps) offered 40x faster transfer speeds to USB 1.0 (12Kbps), USB 3.0 promises another 10x faster, with transfer speeds of upto 5Gbits/s.
This huge increase in speed is designed to cope with the ever-increasing file sizes of images and data, resulting in larger amounts of storage. This USB 3.0 specification also dwarfs the uprated firewire 800 connection that has had little take-up other than for card reader connections on Mac computers.
The beauty of this express card is that it can instantly upgrade your current computer without having to take it apart. All you need is an ExpressCard port (34 or 54 slot), which are fairly standard on all laptop models. Once installed via CD, the card simply slots in for use. It provides two ports which accept the standard type A USB lead and are also backwardly compatible with USB 2.0 devices and leads, should you wish to plug them in – though these will continue to run at USB 2.0 speeds.
The card also features an external power port, should you not wish to expend the 1.1W it uses from your computer.
From our review sample, the USB 3.0 express card appears to work well without any hassle. However, at present there is a huge lack of USB 3.0 devices to test it with and so, as yet, we haven't been able to verify the high speed capability of the card. Buffalo has also announced a USB 3.0 external hard drive (HD-HXU3), due in the next month, which has been specially designed for use with this card. We expect more USB 3.0 devices to follow from most manufacturers over the next 12 months and when they do, this card will be very handy. For now, though, its use is limited.