USB 3.0 with Caldigit express card test

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chatfan, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. chatfan, Jan 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

    macrumors regular


    Nov 2, 2006
    in mah cribb yo
    After getting a lovely shiny 17" end of 2011 to avoid paying the taxman I recently got a Caldigit USB 3.0 Express port card. Here are my findings so far:

    On the website the card looks nice and simple, in reality it is an express card but it has a extra hole for power, a weird USB extender with a power cord coming out of it's side (blocking the USB port next to it, or when used on the last USB port, blocking the thunderbolt). the power cord plugs into the side of the connector block that sticks out.

    How can I describe this? Typical windows looking solution? The power cable is almost 3ft so it makes for a lot of clutter.


    I got this setup because I basically want to use SSD drives so I can VJ 8 streams of HD content in live performances.

    Bought a Crucial 256GB M4 SSD and a conceptronics USB3.0 2.5HD external box, dropped the SSD into the box and connected.

    The Conceptronics box comes with it's own USB3.0 mini connector and splits into TWO USB plugs, one for data, the other for power. Much more elegant solution then the weird Caldigit one.

    Using Blackmagics Diskspeed, here are the things I found:

    Just to see the difference between the build in USB and if the Caldigit actually delivered, I connected the SSD to the build in USB ports, this was the result:

    26.6 write, 34.4 read speed. not bad but the build in drive already got me up to 60mbs.

    Here is the first result of the USB 3.0 connection:


    100.3 write and 125.5 read. Pretty good but I figured perhaps with a reboot maybe the drive would initialise better when the card is already inside the machine?.

    So did a reboot with the Caldigit inside the press slot and got this:


    140.8 write and 222.4 read.

    I also found one serious problem and one predictable issue.

    1: the press card has a terrible lock, it doesn't really "lock" so if you are not careful and unplug an USB from one of the two USB 3.0 ports, chances are you will pull the card out of the mac. Even if you put it on the couch and move it around the weight of the cables can just pull the card out. Giving you a big crash and black screen + forced reboot.

    Sucks, I found the Caldigit card has a smooth back, compared to press memory cards I use (SxS cards from Sony or a Wintec.. but this is another story) those cards have a straight piece of plastic at the end of the card and I expect this is where the card get's locked into place.

    The other issue:

    A reboot might help improve the speed but also connecting the extra power USB plug makes a huge difference. Without extra power the SSD sticks around 120MBS read, while with the extra power it shoots up to around 225/240MBS read.

    Attached Files:

  2. RSL
    macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2012
    Good news! I've been looking around for a USB 3.0 solution, so thanks for the post.
  3. macrumors newbie

    Sep 4, 2012
    Middle MS
    I, too, am having trouble with the Caldigit USB 3.0 ExpressCard staying in place in my MacBook Pro (apparently, the same age as the writer's machine).

    Also, sometimes the external drive mounts, sometimes it doesn't.

    Overall, I'm not at all happy with the purchase of this card. I am looking elsewhere, but I understand that anything USB 3.0-related products for Mac is next to nonexistent. I'm gonna keep trying to work with the unit, but as I keep my iTunes collection on the external hard drive and I have to have it running without fear of coming out of the Expresscard slot, or the drive un-mounting on its own, my hopes aren't high.

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