USB 3.0 card recommendations?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by VirtualRain, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #1
    I just got a very nice deal on a 2TB LaCie USB External Drive for my off-site backups and I was planning to just use it with a good-old USB 2 port, but since it supports USB 3.0, I'm thinking this may be a good excuse to add a USB 3.0 card to my Mac Pro...

    From what I've read, LaCie's own USB 3.0 card's drivers are locked so it will only work with LaCie's own products. Is that still the case?

    I also understand there are unlocked LaCie drivers circulating that will work with any NEC based USB 3.0 PCIe card?

    What cards are you guys using or what would you recommend?
     
  2. VirtualRain, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #2
    Just a follow-up on this. I finally purchased a generic USB 3.0 card with NEC chipset today. It looks just like this...

    [​IMG]

    I installed the official LaCie USB 3.0 driver for OSX and it's running great.

    I'm getting write speeds of 100MB/s for large file backups to my 2TB external. This is significantly faster than the 25MB/s I was getting via the Mac Pro's USB 2 ports. :D

    One other benefit I notice with respect to using this USB card, is that the drive doesn't erroneously dismount occasionally like it did on the Mac Pro USB 2 ports. It seems there is a common problem with large capacity drives on Apple USB ports that causes this issue, and so far it's unresolved. Anyway, this appears to confirm it's unique to Apple's USB ports/drivers.

    Here's how it appears in System Profiler...
     

    Attached Files:

  3. bluesteel macrumors 6502

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    #3
    thats interesting that the generic card worked with LaCie's drivers....strange.

    from what i've read, there are only two cards marketed for mac osx.....CalDigit and LaCie. i guess the CalDigit 2 Port USB 3.0 SuperSpeed PCI Express Card for sale at OWC works with any drive enclosure.

    i'm thinking about adding a USB 3.0 PCIe card too.
     
  4. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 26, 2010
    #4
    Could you please provide a link to the card you bought?

    I have a 4 port USB 2.0 card and for a decent price would love to upgrade.
     
  5. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #5


    A link for the card please.

    Also what is your 2tb external a link to it please.

    Last does this boot?
     
  6. VirtualRain, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #6
    Hi guys,

    The card I purchased was branded by my drug store chain... London Drug's own Certified Data brand... which is meaningless to anyone outside of Canada.

    It looks identical to any of the cards for sale on Newegg with the light green PCB. I would get any one of these that's cheap and in-stock. In fact, if you look closely at the pic of the LaCie card on their site, it looks identical to the StarTech board on sale at Newegg.

    I suspect the driver (either Lacie or Caldigit) is just for the NEC chipset... which all the cards use, and looking at the card, it's the only thing on there of any significance. Of course, the Lacie driver is rumored to only work with Lacie peripherals, so keep that in mind. There is a hacked Lacie kext around that supposedly allows it to work with any brand of drive though.

    The drive I'm using is the LaCie Minimus 2TB (which I got locally on sale for $119)

    EDIT: BTW, I have no idea if it boots.
     
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603

    philipma1957

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    #7
    Thanks for the info.
     
  8. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #8
    Not true anymore. On another matter, some OSX version updates will require an update from caldigit ir lacie from time to time, and I know of no Lion driver compatibility yet..
     
  9. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #9
    Lacie drivers work in this case because the Lacie drivers will check if the product that is connected to the usb3 controller is a Lacie product. In case it is a Lacie product usb3 will be enabled, in case it is something else it will default to usb2. The same thing goes for Caldigit (both Lacie and Caldigit explicitly tell you this on their websites!). In other words, usb3 remains as useless as it is.
     
  10. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #10
    As mentioned above, there is a hacked Lacie driver out there that will allow you to use any brand of USB 3.0 peripheral at super speed.
     
  11. reiichiroh macrumors regular

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    Jan 13, 2009
    #11
    I thought I'd contribute by mentioning the chipset on the London Drugs house brand "Certified Data" PCI-E USB 3.0 card is NEC.

    No explicit Mac support but the README file does mention "NEC Electronics uPD720200."
     
  12. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    #12
    FWIW: Cards with NEC chipsets go for around $30 @ new egg
     
  13. CrossPlatforms macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Sorry if this is missing something here but straight from CalDigit's site for their card, "CalDigit is the only company to provide third party support for USB 3.0 devices on the Mac." Does that not mean they support non-CalDigit devices?

    Also, from a 2010 Bare Feats article, "They since updated the driver to "unlock it." In fact, all the USB 3.0 results posted above for non-Cadigit enclosures were done with the CalDigit PCIe USB 3.0 host adapter."

    That said, on the LaCie site the datasheet for the USB 3.0 device states specifically "Works with all USB 2.0 devices". That is a bit of a red flag to me. And I am never comfortable using "hacked" drivers.

    No, USB 3.0 is not as fast as Thunderbolt. No, USB 3.0 does not support displays. No, USB 3.0 is not synchronous speed. But in a world where not all of our computers are Macs, and not all of our Macs are iMacs, or basically where so many have NO Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 is a potentially significantly faster way to communicate with our non-Mac brethren, and with what is sure to be a host of devices versus very few.

    In the end, it looks like I'll be shelling out for a non-LaCie card of some kind, possibly even a generic PCIe card with an NEC chip and downloading CalDigit's drivers. For me, who works on both platforms, it is worth a shot.
     
  14. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #14
    This is a very old thread, it's more than a year old. Do keep that in mind. At the time there were no Macs with usb3 but that is different now. The new 2012 models all have usb3.

    What Caldigit wrote can be interpreted differently: they are saying that they are the only 3rd party supporting usb3 on Macs. That is not entirely true because there are others. I'm hoping that they actually do mean that they support any usb3 device on a Mac via their expansion cards and reflected this by updating their driver. If so than I think I'd buy one of their usb3 expansion cards for my Mac Pro. Would be very cool to use it with a dock for sata disks because I can passthrough usb to vm's unlike eSATA.

    And yes, you are definitely right that usb3 and thunderbolt are different technologies aimed at different things. They both are from Intel and they both have a future next to each other (I think they can complement each other even).
     
  15. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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  16. dyn macrumors 68030

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    #16
    MacWorld has a review about that one: HighPoint RocketU Quad USB 3.0 for Mac.

    Unfortunately:

    That seems to be a problem with usb3 in general; not every usb3 device is compatible.
     
  17. xgman macrumors 601

    xgman

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    #17
    I don't use the segate, but I have zero issues with my 2 port highpoint or my caldigit one. Drivers are much better now that they were last year.
     
  18. RT Wolf, Sep 15, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012

    RT Wolf macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Sorry for the gravedigging but I was wondering how people were getting power to their USB cards. There's no molex or 4 pin power available in my Mac Pro 4,1 unless I sacrifice a harddrive space with a sata-molex adapter.

    How about with the for-mac cards like the caldigit, do they offer a power solution or do they just don't need power?

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit: I've got two options for power, it looks like: hdd bays (where I lose a bay) or the 6 pin connectors for the video card using somin like this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/PCIe-PCI-e-P...Connectors&hash=item3f1ac6347b#ht_1266wt_1037

    Connected to this: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/Mac-Pro-6-Pin-4-pin-Molex-Video-Card-Power-Cable-/270742219871#ht_1266wt_1037

    Question: the card will draw 5V, but I ordered a nVidia GTX 280 4GB from MSI which needs 2 6-pins. Can or should I split power in that way or will it overdraw the system?

    Thanks!
     
  19. RT Wolf macrumors newbie

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    Sep 7, 2012
    #19
    In case anyone's curious, I ended up biting the bullet and using the harddrive bay closest to the back for power. The link I posted for 6-pin to molex wasn't the right one anyway and they don't seem to make the reverse of that anywehre I checked.
     
  20. fuzzypickle macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Are you able to pull the power from the second optical bay instead?
     
  21. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    #21
    Thought I'd pass this on..

    Fix for Highpoint Rocket U on Mountain lion:

    The USB 3.0 patch in multibeast 5.0.2 for enabling USB3 on hackintoshes works perfectly on the MacPro. I'm seeing 120MB/s writes 122MB/Sec reads on an external seagate free agent 3TB drive.

    Comparatively speaking, an internal HGST 4TB achieves 133 MB/s write 130 mb/s read.
     
  22. fuzzypickle, Oct 9, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

    fuzzypickle macrumors newbie

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    #22
    I've browsed through this thread but still left with a question. I need a way to easily interface multiple SSD drives with my Mac Pro 3,1, but never more than one at a time (going to be downloading raw video from them). I was planning on getting a USB 3.0 card, but I need one that will work reliably with an external dock for SSD's. Was planning on a CalDigit card w/ a Startech docking station. Any recommendations or foreseeable issues there?

    My biggest worry is power - I need all 4 internal drive bays, and wasn't aware that a USB 3.0 card would need an additional power source 'till reading it here (Haven't built a PC in about ten years and haven't needed to do much to my Mac Pro till recently, so I may have missed a thing or two along the way :rolleyes: ). What are my options?
     
  23. ibarnett macrumors regular

    ibarnett

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    #23
    I have the Caldigit & Stardom ST5610 series.
    Is JBOD, so each drive is connected separately.
    Works fine, although I have HDD's, not SSD's.
     
  24. handheldgames macrumors 6502a

    handheldgames

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    #24
    1) for USB 3.0 - you do not need an external power source. That is only for unpowered USB devices. The docks you are looking at are powered.

    2) An ESATA III (6gbs) card will also do the same thing and cost about the same. You will probably get better performance.



     
  25. fuzzypickle, Oct 10, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

    fuzzypickle macrumors newbie

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    #25
    I'm not at all opposed to eSATA III, but unfortunately I've been having trouble finding a decent (preferably hot-swapping) ssd dock that supports eSATA III that's reviewed well. It seems like USB 3.0 can be a bit buggy in OSX (go figure), so I'd just as soon not have to deal with it, but I'm more concerned with getting a crappy dock that burns itself (or worse, a drive) out.

    Any recommendations?
     

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