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Old Oct 3, 2011, 04:00 PM   #1
Wild-Bill
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USB 3.0 Card....on the CHEAP !

Greetings,

Thought I'd share my experiences trying to get USB 3.0 working on my 2008 Mac Pro without having to shell out ~$70.00 for a Sonnet Allegro or similar Mac-only USB 3.0 PCI-E card. Shame they charge such a "premium" for Mac drivers, but I digress....

I ordered the "Pluggable Superspeed USB PCI-E" card from Amazon for $25.95

I downloaded the Lacie drivers from their site

I downloaded and installed Kext Helper here

I downloaded a patched kext to replace Lacie's (Lacie does a drive check & if it doesn't detect a Lacie drive, it won't work).

How I got it to work:
1. Unzip the patched kext (named PXHCD.kext) to your Desktop
2. Run the Lacie installer for your version of OSX Do NOT restart.
3. Run Kext Helper. Drag the PXHCD.kext from your Desktop into the Kext Helper window. Input your user password. Let it do its thing.
4. Kext Helper will tell you to "Reboot and pray". QUIT Kext Helper
4a. Kext Helper may not quit. Don't worry. Just FORCE QUIT.
5. Reboot. Enjoy USB 3.0 on your Mac for less than half the price!

I tested using a Western Digital WD4000KD in a Thermaltake BlacX 5G USB 3.0 adapter. My disk speed tests in AJA showed about 62 MB/s read / write using a 1.0 GB test file and Video Frame Size of NTSC DV25. I also tested my internal Western Digital Caviar Green which only got about 42 MB/s speeds.

ENJOY !!!!!

** Update. When looking in System Profiler, the "Link Speed" is only showing 2.5 GT/s, vice 5.0GT/s as someone else's screenshot showed. And when I look under USB in System Profiler, the hard disk is identified under Superspeed USB as being capable of up to 480 Mb/s, which happens to be USB 2.0 speed. Weird. Still though, the disk tested faster than an internal SATA Caviar green.

***** Edit: This is on 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. I don't want ML on my Mac Pro. *****
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Last edited by Wild-Bill; Jan 28, 2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old Oct 3, 2011, 08:01 PM   #2
JavaTheHut
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Sweeeet!
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 02:44 AM   #3
VirtualRain
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So I reinstalled the Lacie drivers for my generic USB3 card tonight on Lion as I needed to run a backup for offsite (I was overdue).

I'm only getting about 65MB/s backup speed now whereas I use to get about 100MB/s when I was running Snow Leopard.

Me thinks this is not running at full USB3 speeds under Lion, although 65MB/s is faster than 480Mbps of USB2. (screen grab from my backup app below)... Perhaps since my 2TB drive is about half full, this is simply a symptom of writing to a slower, inner section of the platter?

FWIW, my link speed is 5GT/s but my USB speed shows 480Mb/s under system profiler. Screens below...
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Old Oct 21, 2011, 04:40 PM   #4
Digidesign
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Will this work with the older Belkin USB PCI-e card? Similar to the one here.

Have that card in my Mac Pro (2006), but it has stopped working since the Lion upgrade.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 10:53 PM   #5
roofoo
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Mountain Lion compatibility?

Does anybody know how to get this working in Mountain Lion? I had it working great in Snow Leopard but just upgraded to ML and now it doesn't recognize my USB 3.0 drive. Thanks

Edit: Nevermind, I used the new Lacie driver, and found an updated .kext file here. Now it's working again!

Last edited by roofoo; Dec 22, 2012 at 11:32 PM. Reason: Fixed problem on my own
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 09:31 PM   #6
dromemc
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I bought the same card linked, and followed the instructions in the original post. The card isn't recognized. I saw the updated drivers at the bottom of the thread, downloaded them, uninstalled the earlier LaCie driver, and installed the updated versions. Still no luck.

Did I miss something on the uninstall process? Do I need to manually uninstall the previous PXHCD.kext file?
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 03:06 AM   #7
nigelbb
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The ORICO cards with Fresco chip work with the native OS X driver in Mountain Lion e.g. http://www.amazon.com/Ports-USB3-0-E...=orico+usb+3.0
http://www.amazon.com/Fresco-Logic-F...eywords=fresco
The FL1100 chip versions need power to be supplied via a Molex power connector.
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 12:33 PM   #8
ActionableMango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dromemc View Post
I bought the same card linked, and followed the instructions in the original post. The card isn't recognized. I saw the updated drivers at the bottom of the thread, downloaded them, uninstalled the earlier LaCie driver, and installed the updated versions. Still no luck.

Did I miss something on the uninstall process? Do I need to manually uninstall the previous PXHCD.kext file?
IMO if you have Mountain Lion, you are much better off using a USB 3.0 card with Fresco Logic chipset. It uses native drivers supplied with 10.8.2, so there is no third-party driver nonsense.

Instructions are here.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 11:16 PM   #9
LordJohnWhorfin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dromemc View Post
I bought the same card linked, and followed the instructions in the original post. The card isn't recognized. I saw the updated drivers at the bottom of the thread, downloaded them, uninstalled the earlier LaCie driver, and installed the updated versions. Still no luck.
My card is reported as a pci1912,15 instead of pci1033,194. That's probably what's going on... I found a patched kext that works for it in this thread (post #200).
The author cautions that it does not support superspeed hubs. I've ordered the card recommended by nigelbb, it makes no sense to bother with patched kexts if you can have a supported card for the same price.

Last edited by LordJohnWhorfin; Jan 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM.
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Old Jan 30, 2013, 11:19 PM   #10
teameurox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nigelbb View Post
The ORICO cards with Fresco chip work with the native OS X driver in Mountain Lion e.g. http://www.amazon.com/Ports-USB3-0-E...=orico+usb+3.0
http://www.amazon.com/Fresco-Logic-F...eywords=fresco
The FL1100 chip versions need power to be supplied via a Molex power connector.
Will the orico card work in a 1 1 under lion with drivers? The only reason I ask is I have ML working under chameleon but also want the usb3 card to work on the officially supported lion drive in my 1 1
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Last edited by teameurox; Jan 30, 2013 at 11:25 PM.
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 04:14 PM   #11
ActionableMango
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teameurox View Post
Will the orico card work in a 1 1 under lion with drivers? The only reason I ask is I have ML working under chameleon but also want the usb3 card to work on the officially supported lion drive in my 1 1
I've done a lot of research on this and every success story I can find is in 10.8.2. That being said, it may just be a coincidence that everyone who tried it was up to date. Who knows when the drivers were introduced to OS X?

I never saw anyone try with Lion. You would be the first as far as I know. I kind of hope you will try it out and let us know, but I also understand if you don't.
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 02:21 PM   #12
LordJohnWhorfin
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Works in 10.9

Installed the Orico 4 port card in my 2010 Mac Pro running OSX 10.9.
Initially the system would not go through the boot sequence (stuck on the Apple logo), so I removed the card, restarted, and removed leftover extension kexts for previous cards which I had never got to work successfully (CalDigit I think).

Restarted, and the card was recognized, System Information reported "driver installed: yes" for the card, but it would not recognize disks when plugged in.

I read the Amazon reviews for this card and one user named "Jack" mentioned using the open source driver GenericUSBHXCI. I installed it with Kext Utility 2.5.6 and after a reboot my card functioned perfectly.
Unlike earlier el-cheapo cards I had used, which did not support USB 3.0 hubs and caused regular kernel panics (I never managed much more than a day of uptime, which is why I removed them), this one has been performing absolutely flawlessly. I connected Seagate 3GB desktop drives, 1TB and 500MB portable drives, and a USB 3.0 memory card reader, directly on the card and via a USB 3.0 hub, and everything is rock solid. On the faster desktop drives, transfer speed is roughly three times what it was on USB 2.0.

Other people have been reporting success without installing any drivers; I suspect it may be because my startup drive is an upgraded antique; it would be worth it trying with a clean OSX 10.9 install. At any rate, this inexpensive little card is a keeper!
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 02:30 PM   #13
pastrychef
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJohnWhorfin View Post
Other people have been reporting success without installing any drivers; I suspect it may be because my startup drive is an upgraded antique; it would be worth it trying with a clean OSX 10.9 install. At any rate, this inexpensive little card is a keeper!
I have gone through all iterations of Mac OS X from 10.0 to 10.9 without having ever done a clean install. I simply upgraded all along the way.

I also never needed to install any additional drivers. I suspect that perhaps there is another reason for your card not being recognized initially.
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 02:40 PM   #14
LordJohnWhorfin
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pastrychef, did you install other USB 3.0 cards before the Orico?
In System Information, under Hardware/USB, if you select "USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Bus" what is the "Host Controller Driver" reported? Mine is the GenericUSBXHCI I installed. Yours is going to be the name of an Apple Kext which I may have removed (although I don't remember doing that) or more likely some installer removed without telling me. Thanks for your help!
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 02:57 PM   #15
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No, I never installed any other USB 3 card.

System Profiler reports that the host controller driver I'm using is "AppleUSBXHCI".
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Old Nov 24, 2013, 03:35 PM   #16
LordJohnWhorfin
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There is no AppleUSBXHCI.kext in my Extensions folder, so that explains why devices weren't being mounted. I guess it's time I do a clean install on a spare drive to see what happens. I'll report here :-)
Thanks for looking it up!
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Old Nov 25, 2013, 12:16 PM   #17
ActionableMango
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On tonymacx86 website, it's been reported by others that installing third party USB 3.0 drivers for NEC-based chipset cards prevents Fresco Logic cards from using the native OS X USB 3.0 drivers.
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Old Nov 25, 2013, 12:39 PM   #18
LordJohnWhorfin
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Thanks ActionableMango :-)
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