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Buffalo USB 3.0 Interface ExpressCard Review

By on March 22, 2011
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Pushing the limits.

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Good: Reaching the limits of ExpressCard bandwidth and providing maximum possible transfer speeds
Bad: Sticks out of the notebook, Is limited to almost half of USB 3.0 actual speeds being based on ExpressCard 1.0 tech.
Price: AED 140
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Yesterday I reviewed the Buffalo USB 3.0 PCI Express card which proved to be an extremely capable card, so I wondered if the laptop version would perform similarly. Notebooks, more than motherboards, need USB 3.0 upgrades since even current high-end notebooks come with 1 or 2 USB 3.0 ports. Any entry level or mid-range notebook available in the market right now doesn’t come with any USB 3.0 ports.

The unfortunate thing is that not many laptops come with an ExpressCard adapter in the first place, so upgrading to USB 3.0 maybe even more difficult than you think. This first hurdle out of the way, the only other thing left is to face the fact that that USB 3.0 ports will be extending out of your laptop’s side by a good inch and a half. If you can live with that, then high speed transfers are yours to be enjoyed.

For testing the Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard, I used the recently reviewed MSI CX620 3D which came with a convenient ExpressCard adapter. For comparisons I have used the speeds from USB 3.0 ports from the Gigabyte P67A-UD7 motherboard. I’ve used the Buffalo DriveStation Axis 1TB external HDD to test out the USB 3.0 speeds.

Those are pretty decent speeds all things considered. Yes, that’s still slower than the desktop variant, but you have to consider that the Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard is based on ExpressCard 1.0, which has a maximum bandwidth of 2.5 Gbit/s, half of what USB 3.0 is capable of. Realistically ExpressCard 2.0s will not be flooding the market until later this year, which basically means that as of now the Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard is the closest you can come to USB 3.0 speeds.

The Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard retails for about the same price as their USB 3.0 PCI Express card. In both cases these adapters are an upgrade for your existing system should you have a USB 3.0 hard drive and want to utilize its full potential.


About

From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

Comments
  • Sward24919

    are there ANY ExpressCard 2.0 USB 3.0 Express cards on the marktet NOW? I would be interested in checking them out if so….

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