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Asus Launching USB 3.0 PCI-E Card for $30

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 52 comments

Don't want to switch out the motherboard for USB 3.0? Why not sink $30 into an Asus PCI-E card!

Although Intel isn't exactly eager to jump on board the USB 3.0 bandwagon just yet, that doesn't mean consumers can't get in on the SuperSpeed USB action. While Asus just unveiled the first motherboard to support USB 3.0, the company also snuck out a nifty expansion card for PC enthusiasts who just don't feel like swapping out the motherboard.

Enter the Asus U3S6, providing two tasty USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6 Gb/sec. ports across the PCI-E bus. Maximum PC took a few zesty screenshots of the expansion board, and reports that it contains three primary components: a NEC D720200F1 USB 3.0 controller, a Marvell 88SE9123 SATA 6 Gb/sec. controller, and a PLX PEX8613 (also found on the SATA6 boards).

According to Maximum PC, the expansion board worked on par with the USB 2.0 ports found on the P55 used in testing. However, because USB 3.0 is relatively new, the site didn't have any 3.0 devices handy; they didn't have a SATA 6 Gb/sec. drive for testing either. However, the site did say that Asus alleviated any possible bottlenecks by running the card in an x4 PCI-E mode.

The Asus U3S6 PCI-E card is expected to be available soon, and will retail for a measly $30.

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  • 25 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 30, 2009 8:52 PM
    ROCK SOLID:HEART TOUCHING

    fucking love you asus
  • 20 Hide
    Goro , October 30, 2009 9:00 PM
    eklipz330ROCK SOLID:HEART TOUCHINGfucking love you asus


    Amen to that brother.
Other Comments
  • 25 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 30, 2009 8:52 PM
    ROCK SOLID:HEART TOUCHING

    fucking love you asus
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , October 30, 2009 8:52 PM
    OMG this makes me so happy, it requires double post.... MY MAXIMUS FORMULA X38 LIVESSS!!!!! =D =D =D =D =D
  • 20 Hide
    Goro , October 30, 2009 9:00 PM
    eklipz330ROCK SOLID:HEART TOUCHINGfucking love you asus


    Amen to that brother.
  • -2 Hide
    razor512 , October 30, 2009 9:11 PM
    It is good that actual hardware improvements are happening but I wouldn't go for it just yet as most likely bugs are still being worked out and performance improvements are also still happening. Best to give it time as we don't know how these cards or the early hardware will perform when a wide range of USB 3.0 devices are used or what problems will surface.
  • 7 Hide
    IronRyan21 , October 30, 2009 9:13 PM
    Now I cant wait for USB 3.0 Devices to show up, im tired of the slow transfers from my USB flash drive to PC :( 
  • -7 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , October 30, 2009 9:28 PM
    Sure would be nice if ASUS would either release a new BIOS for my Crosshair or let me go back to my old one.
  • 6 Hide
    dhowie , October 30, 2009 9:39 PM
    If this allows drives to boot from it, this will allow nearly anyone to build a semi future proof machine! I just wonder if you are utilizing both sata ports and both usb 3.0 if it will bottleneck. It's to my understanding that the 4x slot will only allow for about 5/6 of full sata 6GBS, and then throw in some USB 3.0 threads to clogg it up. Let's get some benchmarks!
  • 4 Hide
    megamanx00 , October 30, 2009 9:39 PM
    Hah, kind of giving Intel the ol FU there.
  • 9 Hide
    jisamaniac , October 30, 2009 9:47 PM
    But will it work in linux?
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 30, 2009 9:54 PM
    Any info on overclocking the PICE bus gives trouble?

    Also, they could test it by connecting 2 pc's together and transferring a file from one to the other!
  • 1 Hide
    wildwell , October 30, 2009 9:56 PM
    Very nice and very affordable. Time for USB 3 devices!
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , October 30, 2009 9:59 PM
    IronRyan21Now I cant wait for USB 3.0 Devices to show up, im tired of the slow transfers from my USB flash drive to PC


    It would be interesting indeed, to find compatible USB sticks to run the OS from!
    It would have been nicer if Asus could have created the connection in RAID.
    Plugging this card in your pc, with a dual 8GB USB stick, and running the OS from that supposed to be blazing fast!
  • 1 Hide
    ssalim , October 30, 2009 10:01 PM
    Too bad I only have one PCI-e.
    I'll stick with USB2.0
  • 1 Hide
    koga73 , October 30, 2009 10:01 PM
    the one thing its missing is a usb 9pin connector on the board. Because of this, I cant hook up my front usb ports to 3.0, i have to reach around the BACK of the computer to get 3.0. I'll wait
  • 3 Hide
    claudeb , October 30, 2009 10:05 PM
    yeah from my rough calcs. you need x6 and you will have 2Gbits left over. for x4, you are 6Gbits short.

    x4 = 16Gbits, 2 X usb3 = 10Gbits, 2 X Sata6Gbits = 12Gbits

    This doesnt really bother me though
  • 2 Hide
    Niva , October 30, 2009 10:56 PM
    Claudeb, the chances of operating all 4 connected ports at maximum bandwidth are extremely low.

    It's a big deal to me if this card will operate in linux though, I'll buy one for sure if it does.
  • -2 Hide
    ereuter71 , October 30, 2009 11:08 PM
    It is odd that they do not specify PCIe 2.0. My guess is that it is only PCIe 1.0, which means 250 MB/s per lane, so 1000 MB/s total bus bandwidth. Since each SATA 3.0 port specs at 600 MB/s, and each USB 3 port specs at nearly 600 MB/s, it looks like there is NOT enough bandwidth to support all 4 ports at once. But with only two ports operating at a time, and considering overhead (I'd be surprised is USB 3 can exceed 400 MB/s), it may be good enough.
  • 2 Hide
    lvlouro , October 30, 2009 11:31 PM
    Razor512It is good that actual hardware improvements are happening but I wouldn't go for it just yet as most likely bugs are still being worked out and performance improvements are also still happening. Best to give it time as we don't know how these cards or the early hardware will perform when a wide range of USB 3.0 devices are used or what problems will surface.


    Be it as it may, to me it seems really impressive that a company is selling such a recent tech at this prices. And not any company, ASUS

    they could easily be changing double that and still sell (as some companies do) but as I've seem there is no ASUS tax :) 
  • 0 Hide
    dhowie , October 31, 2009 12:12 AM
    Anyone have an idea if we will be able to boot from the card?
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