USB 3.0 is among the latest ports for laptops and smartphones. Most of the modern smartphones have this port and it works quite neatly when it comes to stability and speed. It is faster and a significant upgrade from USB 2.0. your old computer will jump to life the moment you make the switch. But what if your system does not have USB 3.0? Don’t worry about it. You can add ports with the PCIe expansion card.
Even though you have clarity about what to buy, it is easy to get confused. You may not be able to understand which one to purchase from the plethora of options the Internet holds. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry because we are here to help. Read this article thoroughly and towards the end of it, you will know exactly which direction to head.
What is PCIe?
PCI Express or PCIe is the savior of old computers. Whether it is Windows, Linux, or OSX, over time, your computer will succumb and become slow. You will have trouble downloading files, storing them, and using the computer in general because the new files are heavier than before. Your system will end up struggling.
Does this mean that you should invest in a new computer right away? Not really. Manufacturers understand that it is not feasible to keep buying new systems, which is why they ensure that their product is upgradable or has the ability to be improved. This is where PCIe expansion cards come in. You can use a PCIe card to boost any feature you like such as the graphics or sound. Similarly, you can add extra ports to your system by choosing a USB 3.0 PCIe card.
The reason why PCI3 cards have stuck and are popular today is that they solve almost any hardware problem at an affordable price. They have long warranty periods, promising that the improvement is not just temporary. As long as you remember to check the compatibility of the card with your system, you will be happy and satisfied with the results.
Best USB 3.0 expansion cards – Experts’ choice
Now it is time to go through some of the best USB 3.0 expansion cards on the market today. We have tried to review them in as much detail as possible for you.
1. FebSmart 4 Ports USB 3.0 PCIe Card
We love getting started with the extremely popular options and that is why FebSmart is first on our list. Let’s take a look at what this Amazon’s Choice product offers:
- It has 4 ports and is compatible with Windows 10, 8.1, and 8. If you have a Windows XP or Vista computer, you will need to download the required drivers.
- All the 4 ports that this PCI3 card will add to your system are USB 3.0 ports. They have the ability to provide incredible speeds of up to 5 Gbps for files, photos, videos, etc.
- The PCIe card has been made with the help of Self-Powered
- Technology, which means that you do not need to add any power cable.
- It has plug and play installation.
- The manufacturers provide a 1-year warranty and lifetime tech support.
- Simple to install
- Good construction
- Comes with the required drivers
- Compatible only with regular PCs. Will not work with slim or mini devices.
2. ELUTENG – PCIe USB 3.0 Card
The ELUTENG PCIe expansion card has 4 ports as well and does not require any additional power. It is quite independent and likes to work on its own! Below are a few more details:
- Every interface has its own 2A power supply and all the 4 ports work independently.
- It offers a transmission speed of 5 Gbps, which is quite incredible.
- All the 4 USB 3.0 can work simultaneously. You can also use USB 2.0 cables because they are backward compatible.
- The PCIe card has been made to be safe from short circuits. This ensures that your computer is safe as you use it.
- Every PCIe card has 4 conductive capacitors that promise stability.
- It has wide compatibility, which means that you can use it for PCIe x1, x4, x8, and x16.
- It is directly compatible only with Windows 10. This means you can plug and play easily. If you have Windows 8, 7, Vista, or XP, you will need to download the drivers first.
- Works as expected
- A few users have complained that the drivers don’t work properly
- Not for Linux
3. StarTech.com USB 3.0 PCIe Card
If you are looking for a widely compatible card, this is it. StarTech.com offers an excellent PCIe card with 4 USB 3.0 ports. Its features are as follows:
- The transfer speed of this card is 5 Gbps per channel.
- It comes with SATA and LP4 power connectors (optional) and you can choose either of them.
- The card comes with UASP support, which promises 70% faster speed.
- It is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1.
- You can use it to charge compatible Apple devices through USB charging specification 1.2.
- You have a 2-year warranty to turn to in case something goes wrong and you are unhappy with the product. You also have lifetime technical support.
- Works with small form factor computers
- Ideal if you are using multiple devices
- You can choose between LP4 and SATA
- The ports are very tight
4. Tiergrade Superspeed USB 3.0 PCIe Expansion Card
Want more ports because 4 may not be enough for you? Try the Tiergrade Superspeed PCIe expansion card. It has 7 ports and a range of exciting features such as the following:
- It comes with a 15-pin SATA power connector.
- You can use all the 7 ports simultaneously. They are all USB 3.0.
- While each port can give you 5 Gbps speed, please remember that how much you actually get heavily depends on your computer or device itself.
- It is compatible with Windows 10, 8, XP, Vista, and 7.
- It is also backward compatible with USB 2.0.
- The expansion card comes with all the hardware you will need to install it. The installation process is quite simple as well.
- Each port can deliver 5W power. If you have devices that need more, they will not be compatible with the ports.
- Easy to install
- Works well
- Some users have had trouble with using the ports simultaneously
5. FebSmart USB 3.0 PCIe Card
We shall end our list with another Amazon’s Choice product from FebSmart. This one is for those who do not need 4 ports because it has only 2. Keep reading for a few more details.
- It has self-powered technology, which means that you do not need additional power to make it work.
- The card is compatible with Windows 10, Vista, XP, 8, 8.1, and 7.
- The transmission speed that you can expect is 5 Gbps.
- You can just plug it in and use it on your Windows 10, 8, and 8.1 systems. For XP, 7, and Vista, you will need drivers.
- It has a high performance chipset with 2x power module and 2x electric circuit protector.
- You get lifetime tech support and 1-year warranty with this device.
- Very easy to install
- Works great
- Drivers for Windows 7, Vista, and XP can only be installed from the given CD. It is impossible for computers with no CD drive.
People also ask
To round off, let’s learn a little more about expansion cards and PCIe by answering a few FAQs.
1) What are expansion cards used for?
Expansion cards work to provide features that the motherboard of your computer does not have.
2) Are expansion cards necessary?
If you want to upgrade your old system with a new functionality and do not fancy buying a new computer, you definitely need an expansion card.
3) Does USB 3.0 provide more power?
Yes, it is faster and has more efficient power management than USB 2.0.
4) How do I install my PCI Express Card?
Check if it is compatible with your system. If yes, it will usually be a plug and play process. The product description will mention whether you need to install drivers. Go through the steps mentioned and use the CD provided.
5) Will USB 3.0 work on older computers?
Yes, USB 3.0 can work on USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. since it is backward compatible.
There you have it. This detailed list of products along with some important information about USB 3.0 and PCIe cards. We hope this has helped you but if you need anything else, please know that we are always available. All you have to do is to leave a comment. Have fun shopping!