Mac Pro adding USB 3.0 without PCiE

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by steve997, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. steve997 macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2015
    Hi guys,
    I have a 5,1 Mac Pro.
    All my PCiE slots are full (GPU, miniSAS/RAID card, Blackmagic Video, 10GigE). I also want to have USB3.0.

    Short of buying a CUBIX expander can anyone offer any way to put a USB3 input on the box (possibly by using one of the SATA slots for disk drives via adaptor to USB3)?

  2. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    USB 3 would only be via a PCIe card. I'm not sure what the SATA to USB3 idea is about, even if something like that did exist, you'd be limited to SATA-II speeds, which are slower than USB2!
  3. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    If you are using wired Ethernet (not wi-fi), then you could pull your Wi-Fi card out and you'd have a mini-PCIe slot free.

    There are USB 3.0 cards in mini-PCIe format. You'd then need a cord to run from the internal usb header on the card to an external USB port outside of the case.

    Actually the first challenge would be finding a mini-PCIe card with a chipset that has OS X drivers. The three most common USB 3.0 chipsets I see out there with OS X drivers are Fresco Logic, NEC, and ASMedia. If you are only running Windows, then that wouldn't be a problem.

    I seem to remember someone doing this before, but I am unable to find the thread, so maybe not.

    That sounds way off to me. In my experience, hard drives connected directly to the SATA ports are significantly faster than if I pull them out and connect that very same drive via USB 2.0. Looking up the specs, SATA-II is much, much faster than USB2.
  4. Draeconis macrumors 6502a

    May 6, 2008
    Ignore me, I'm getting Mb and MB mixed up.

    Even so, SATA and USB are totally different connections, you can't just slap a USB header on a SATA connector, that doesn't make any sense.
  5. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    SATA2 is 300 megabytes a second
    USB2 is 480 megabits a second

    SATA2 is 2400 megabits a second
    USB2 is 480 megabits a second

    "Second-generation SATA interfaces run with a native transfer rate of 3.0 Gbit/s that, when accounted for the 8b/10b encoding scheme, equals to the maximum uncoded transfer rate of 2.4 Gbit/s (300 MB/s)."
  6. merlinmage macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2014
  7. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    I found the post I was mentioning earlier. This guy got USB 3.0 working over the mini-PCIe slot.

    I don't know why he used a miniPCIe->ExpressCard->USB3 setup instead of just a USB3 card directly in the miniPCIe slot.
  8. haralds macrumors 6502a


    Jan 3, 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Wouldn't it be simplest to replace one of the eSATA cards with one that does both eSATA and USB 3? I have two of these:
  9. 666sheep, Nov 19, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2015

    666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Most likely because all mPCIe USB cards are on a Nec chipset which isn't reliable and usually requires 3rd party drivers.

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