USB 3.0 PCIe add-in cards


Limp Gawd
Jul 30, 2012
Hey guys,

My main rig is an x58 platform (Xeon 3520 + EVGA X58 SLI LE), which of course has no USB 3.0 headers. My case is a Corsair Carbide 400R, which has 2x USB 3.0 ports on the front. Right now they are simply plugged into USB 2.0 headers on the motherboard.

How reliable are USB 3.0 add-in cards? Which ones do you recommend?

Looking at NCIX.Com searching for: USB 3.0 PCIe Card

This gives me the following results:
1) no-name card
Uninterested in this

2) Silverstone
2x External plus a single 2x internal header
Supplies power from PCIe slot

3) Startech
Most expensive
2x External plus a single 2x internal header
Supplies power from a SATA power connection

4) Buffalo
2x External
Very basic

I've obviously heard of all 3 brands, though I only know of Silverstone for cases and PSU's, and Buffalo for routers. What can you guys say for these?

Startech of course makes add-in cards and adapters and doo-hicky's for EVERYTHING. I've used some of their stuff in the past, but how fast and reliable will this be?

Will the SATA power connector come in handy? Does PCIe offer enough power on it's own?

Thanks for your input guys!


[H]F Junkie
Dec 15, 2003
This may not apply to you, but I've tried about 6 different cards. The majority of them are using the older NEC/Renesas chipset. It's good, but it does have compatibility issues.

The Buffalo is the one I use, it's the only one rated for Server 2008. Obviously not your concern, but it uses the newer NEC/Renesas chipset (2nd gen), so it has less compatibility issues.


Limp Gawd
Dec 30, 2011
I bought the Startech earlier this year for a c2q build for myself out of spare parts. It does have compatibility issues but most annoying is that I sold the computer to a family member and now I have to go over and re-setup the card every few weeks. I think MSUpdate is applying a non-compatible driver but I'm not sure since the computer is no longer in my care on a daily basis. If it continues I am going to adapt the USB 3.0 built in to the case to plug into USB 2.0 headers and abandon the card. Also in this build it did not run at full USB 3.0 speed because it is limited by the pci speed.


Jan 7, 2011
Problematic at best.

Crash city at worst.

USB 3.0 is not the fastest plug in tech, nor the most stable. Firewire, eSATA, 1gb Ethernet - all will rape it.

I was a big fan of USB 3.0, but it's not all that. It's a 2.88mb Floppy.

Tony Ou

SilverStone Tech Representative
Jun 12, 2009
From SilverStone, if you only need to add internal USB 3.0 header, then go for EC01-P (EC01+), it's less expensive than EC04-P that has the external port in addition to internal header.

Both cards have the newer NEC/Renesas chipset compared to older versions of EC01 and EC04.