USB 3.0 Expresscard...

Reapur

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 5, 2010
185
0
I have been doing my research and have confirmed from Apple support that the new 17" i7 MBP does indeed include a Expresscard 2.0 slot in it. This will support the throughput necessary for a USB 3.0 Expresscard however, the one thing I have not been able to confirm is if Mac OSX will actually recognize the card and will I be able to use it to take advantage of an external hard drive?

Has anyone tried yet that can either confirm if it works or not?
If not it looks like im going eSata :(
 

spitfire85

macrumors newbie
May 5, 2010
2
0
Hi!
I use an eSATA HDD conneted to my (Windows) Laptop via an ExpressCard.
I had considered a USB 3.0 HDD, but decided against it for the following reason:
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard) you will never get USB 3.0 speed via an ExpressCard because the PCI Express bus is limited to 2.5 Gbit/s.
I know this doesn't answer your question on USB 3.0 ExpressCard recognition, but it might change your mind about using USB 3.0 for the moment...
Who knows what the future MBPs will bring...
Hope I could help.
 
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andrew086

macrumors regular
Dec 31, 2009
242
0
Hi!
I use an eSATA HDD conneted to my (Windows) Laptop via an ExpressCard.
I had considered a USB 3.0 HDD, but decided against it for the following reason:
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard) you will never get USB 3.0 speed via an ExpressCard because the PCI Express bus is limited to 2.5 Gbit/s.
I know this doesn't answer your question on USB 3.0 ExpressCard recognition, but it might change your mind about using USB 3.0 for the moment...
Who knows what the future MBPs will bring...
Hope I could help.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard#ExpressCard_2.0
 
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Reapur

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 5, 2010
185
0
@Reapur: Does it support Expresscard 2.0 as in 5gbps and USB3? How does that work if MBPs don't even have USB3?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard#ExpressCard_2.0
Expresscard 2.0 has a theoretical throughput of 5gb/s so it will work with USB 3.0 no problem. The question is will mac os x even be compatible with the expresscard?

It seems strange that Apple would put the newest revision of Expresscard/34 but wont support the actual cards that can take advantage of the increased throughput. This is why im wondering if anyone has bought USB 3.0 Express card and tried it out. The only place I can find the cards are online and dont want to deal with returning it if it wont work. If it was from a normal store I would just go out and bite the bullet and try my self.
 
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m85476585

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2008
1,226
4
Expresscard 1.0 ports have a PCIE-1x lane, 2.5gbps, and a USB2 port. The expresscard 2.0 spec calls for PCI-e 2.0 (5gbps) and USB3 instead of USB2.
 
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Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,851
1
Expresscard 2.0 has a theoretical throughput of 5gb/s so it will work with USB 3.0 no problem. The question is will mac os x even be compatible with the expresscard?

It seems strange that Apple would put the newest revision of Expresscard/34 but wont support the actual cards that can take advantage of the increased throughput. This is why im wondering if anyone has bought USB 3.0 Express card and tried it out. The only place I can find the cards are online and dont want to deal with returning it if it wont work. If it was from a normal store I would just go out and bite the bullet and try my self.
I've seen the a generic usb 3.0 EC/34 host at Frys electronics, a few on newegg and seagates one for their black armour mobile drive.

NONE of them support OS X in anyway.
 
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Reapur

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 5, 2010
185
0
I've seen the a generic usb 3.0 EC/34 host at Frys electronics, a few on newegg and seagates one for their black armour mobile drive.

NONE of them support OS X in anyway.
Its still in early stages, however this is why im so curious if I just stick it in there will it work? or will I be really upset ? There is a great combo on Newegg that includes the expresscard along with the USB 3.0 enclosure for 60 bucks. I might just get it and wait for the the support (if it doesnt work) in OSX and use the drive as USB 2 for the time being...
 
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Eddyisgreat

macrumors 601
Oct 24, 2007
4,851
1
Don't even waste your cash. There is no point. OS X itself doesn't support USB 3.0. No vendor offers support for it (obviously). When Apple either Intergrates it onto their mobos or stops dragging their feet and allow a vendor like Sonnet to make 3.0 hosts you'll probably be able to get much better chipsets in enclosures for alot cheaper.

See here for more info:
http://www.stationstops.com/2010/02...ut-of-usb-3-0-sata-3-0-6gbps-and-ssd-support/
 
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thunderbolt101

macrumors newbie
May 1, 2011
3
0
Lacie and /34 for Mac

Looking for the same answers. Read where one person tried the Lacie/34 and discovered it will only work with Lacie hard drives.
The PCI-e has to be a Generation2 to handle the throughput at 5gbs.
I have read reports of success with older, pre thunderbolt Mac working with 3.0, but read a review http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/734398-REG/CalDigit_791901_USB_3_0_SuperSpeed_ExpressCard.html
that said the newer Thunderbolt version is not working with the /34 and 3.0, at this time. I am holding off until I can do more research on the compatibility
 
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Looking for the same answers. Read where one person tried the Lacie/34 and discovered it will only work with Lacie hard drives.
The PCI-e has to be a Generation2 to handle the throughput at 5gbs.
I have read reports of success with older, pre thunderbolt Mac working with 3.0, but read a review http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/734398-REG/CalDigit_791901_USB_3_0_SuperSpeed_ExpressCard.html
that said the newer Thunderbolt version is not working with the /34 and 3.0, at this time. I am holding off until I can do more research on the compatibility
Firstly, true the lacie usb3 expresscard 34 is locked to work with lacie usb3 hdd only!

Secondly, there was anecdotal success stories of the lindsy flush single port expresscard working with the lacie drivers - altho lindsy do not advertise it as macosx compatible!

i called lindsy tech support re this, and theu said they tried and tried to make the f/w osx compatible but received no assistance or blessings from apple and given the no. apple expresscard users compared to the no. pc win7 expresscard users - they quite frankly gave - they did say how frustrating it was to work on 3rd party peripherals for mac computers when apple has been rather dismissive and aloof

This kind of supports the general stance apple has on usb3 - since they will be pushing TB till ivy bridge drops
 
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redcrayon

macrumors newbie
Jun 10, 2011
1
0
Problems with Lacie USB 3.0 ExpressCard 34

Looking for the same answers. Read where one person tried the Lacie/34 and discovered it will only work with Lacie hard drives.
The PCI-e has to be a Generation2 to handle the throughput at 5gbs.
I have read reports of success with older, pre thunderbolt Mac working with 3.0, but read a review http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/734398-REG/CalDigit_791901_USB_3_0_SuperSpeed_ExpressCard.html
that said the newer Thunderbolt version is not working with the /34 and 3.0, at this time. I am holding off until I can do more research on the compatibility
I own the newer version Thunderbolt 17" MacBook Pro - wanted to take advantage or faster external drives so bought the ExpressCard and Lacie's Rugged USB 3.0 1TB HD. Downloaded latest drivers from Lacie's website. The HD works fine via USB 2.0 connection.. but I'm not getting anything when using the ExpressCard.. I assume the light on the side should light up... haven't seen any response.. Working with Lacie support but haven't got anywhere yet.. It's back and forth and takes a day for them to respond each time. yay!. If anyone has any information to help speed this process along I would appreciate it. I could not locate the article you referred to that mentioned the newer Thunderbolt version wasn't working with the /34 and 3.0.. Lacie's site did not indicate anything like that.. And tech suppoet didn't say anything when I listed the (2011) MBP as the computer I'm using.
 
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ooans

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2011
263
72
I've been looking at this Sonnet USB 3.0 Expresscard for Mac for some time:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/usb3expresscard34.html

I know the speed wont be as fast as a native USB 3.0, but still it should be way faster than a USB 2.0 port.

The thing I'm curious about is the power. Of course an Expresscard wont give a USB-powered usb 3.0 the power itself. If you want the expresscard to give power you need to plug power into it. You can actually see the power hole on the side of the expresscard on the link above.

However on the Sonnet site there is no info on what kinda power needs to be plugged into it, no info on where to buy suitable power plugs etc. I guess I should mail them about it beforehand, since most of my USB 3.0 deviced are bus powered. Or does anyone have info on this?
 
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I've been looking at this Sonnet USB 3.0 Expresscard for Mac for some time:

http://www.sonnettech.com/product/usb3expresscard34.html

I know the speed wont be as fast as a native USB 3.0, but still it should be way faster than a USB 2.0 port.

The thing I'm curious about is the power. Of course an Expresscard wont give a USB-powered usb 3.0 the power itself. If you want the expresscard to give power you need to plug power into it. You can actually see the power hole on the side of the expresscard on the link above.

However on the Sonnet site there is no info on what kinda power needs to be plugged into it, no info on where to buy suitable power plugs etc. I guess I should mail them about it beforehand, since most of my USB 3.0 deviced are bus powered. Or does anyone have info on this?
i was also lookin into the sonnet USB3 expresscard

good point RE the power source to drive external periphls.. however, one can purchase usb2 and FW800 expresscards - are these not bus powered??

also on their site the transfer rate is listed as being capable of: 125mb/s = 1gbit/sec??? thats 1/5th native USB3 and only marginally faster than FW800 :confused::confused:
 
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ooans

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2011
263
72
good point RE the power source to drive external periphls.. however, one can purchase usb2 and FW800 expresscards - are these not bus powered??

also on their site the transfer rate is listed as being capable of: 125mb/s = 1gbit/sec??? thats 1/5th native USB3 and only marginally faster than FW800 :confused::confused:
As far as I know, and I could be wrong, Expresscards are never powered. At least not the ones I've used (firewire 800 and esata.)

I would be really happy with 125mb/s speed on a non-ssd hard drive. USB 2.0 give you like 30mb/s, and If I recall correctly my late 2008 macbook pro's Firewire 800 gets like 50-70 mb/s on my external hard drive.

If you really want to use the whole USB 3.0 5gbps bandwith, then I suggest you get an external SSD drive.


I actually did email Sonnet about my power question (in my previous post) and they replied instantly. They gave me this link: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/f2acpoweradater.html

That solves the powered USB problem. However, that particular power adapter is very expensive. But at least you can see the technical info: "110-220V AC, 50-60Hz; provides +12V at 1.25A" and buy a cheaper power adapter from somewhere that fits.

O
 
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grahamnp

macrumors 6502a
Jun 4, 2008
969
4
For a single drive, the speed limitation on older expresscards is irrelevant as HDDs are not fast enough to max out even the 1.0 interface.
 
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"110-220V AC, 50-60Hz; provides +12V at 1.25A"
would this work??

sorry, silly question alert! Do i have to use a mains power adapter that is 1.25amps - i can find plenty cheapo ones that are 300ma - 1000ma
and 1.5ma are also common, all featuring up to 12mv

i know amperes is electron flow per unit time, so if i use a different ampered adapter i risk under/over powering the device - however any electricians know a work around:

a 3.5mm connector for a 1.2a 12v mains adapter is not so easy to find.. only 1 i could see on e-bay was £18 :mad:

especially when the expresscard costs as little as £28, from one source i know
 
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metaxidis

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2011
12
0
Boston USA/ Cyprus
Sonnet USB 3 Expresscard used with 2011 Macbook pro 17inch

So, I took a leap of faith with sonnet and ordered three of their expresscard slots

1. USB3
2. sata & esata 6G
3. Firewire 800

The USB3 one is performing WELL under what I expected! I used it with my sata 3 thermaltake BlacX to read off my vertex 3 max iops 120gb drive . I recorded writing speeds of 90 MB/s and reading speeds of 95 mb/s

furthermore, using the same dock, I used my velociraptor sata 2 10000rpm drive and it recorded approx 90 mb/s write and 105 mb/s read

this does not make sense to me since a SSD thats sata 3, on an actual sata 3 dock with usb3, should be flying

then again, i conclude that sonnets drivers for mac usb3 capabilities are pretty bad. I plan on calling them to see what they have to say

p.s. their esata card is completely useless...worked once out of 15 tries

p.p.s. their firewire 800 recorded at least 12 mb/s slower than the firewire port on the actual macbook pro, but i thought that was pretty solid speeds

bottom line is, either wait for apple usb3 drivers or updates, aple usb3 capable boards, or thunderbolt drives :) (come on little big disk, give us a release date:p)

cheers
 
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bottom line is, either wait for apple usb3 drivers or updates, aple usb3 capable boards, or thunderbolt drives :) (come on little big disk, give us a release date:p)

cheers
I was waiting for some peeps to test these expresscards out! Your experience confirms my fears!

From what i understand, Sonnet only finalised these mac drivers - v1; back in late may/ early June.

Which MBP do you have? I wonder if these expresscards have variable results depending on the type of expresscard 34 (i.e. v1/2)

I hope apple do release universal USB3 drivers - it pretty pathetic, as the mac market is isolated from an established category of peripherals - rather than await super over-priced solutions! Do not get me wrong, i personally love the concept of TB, however, for the interim period we mac users are limited to FW800, this is a little disappointing, apple should really address this deficit, IMHO. For e.g, apple could of used ~USB3 ports in the ATB displays, this would of been a massive incentive for me to cop one of these... and would have propelled apple to the forefront of current tech!

Finally, @ metaxidis; habe you tried the expresscard - usb3 under bootcamp to delineate that the drive is functioning correctly?
 
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metaxidis

macrumors newbie
Aug 19, 2011
12
0
Boston USA/ Cyprus
I will do that tonight and let you know. Installing windows right now. Hope it actually works well so that i can confirm that its a driver issue

will post results
 
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wegster

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2006
424
146
So, I took a leap of faith with sonnet and ordered three of their expresscard slots

1. USB3
2. sata & esata 6G
3. Firewire 800

The USB3 one is performing WELL under what I expected! I used it with my sata 3 thermaltake BlacX to read off my vertex 3 max iops 120gb drive . I recorded writing speeds of 90 MB/s and reading speeds of 95 mb/s

furthermore, using the same dock, I used my velociraptor sata 2 10000rpm drive and it recorded approx 90 mb/s write and 105 mb/s read

this does not make sense to me since a SSD thats sata 3, on an actual sata 3 dock with usb3, should be flying

then again, i conclude that sonnets drivers for mac usb3 capabilities are pretty bad. I plan on calling them to see what they have to say

p.s. their esata card is completely useless...worked once out of 15 tries

p.p.s. their firewire 800 recorded at least 12 mb/s slower than the firewire port on the actual macbook pro, but i thought that was pretty solid speeds

bottom line is, either wait for apple usb3 drivers or updates, aple usb3 capable boards, or thunderbolt drives :) (come on little big disk, give us a release date:p)

cheers
And exactly what reproducible valid benchmarking method did you use for the above numbers? If this is just random file transfer, you're not going to see max benchmark numbers. That raptor is ~150MB/sec (note differences between mb: not an actual measurement at all, Mb = MegaBITs. MB = MegaBYTEs.) at best, so numbers around 100MB/second with entirely random/non-disclosed way of measuring it = isn't surprising at all.

Your OCZ should be fast, but again, unless using an actual reproducible benchmark and comparing it to the same reproducible benchmark without the expresscard...isn't the most useful information.

Maybe you did a real benchmark, if so, it would be nice to know, especially what benchmark, what results, vs also with the ocz installed internally with the same benchmark, that will show what's really going on performance-wise.

And yes, it's amazingly pathetic there is no TB->USB3 adapter nor native USB3 driver support. :-/
 
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zkaudio

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2007
49
0
That's sad... i need a lightning speed TB or USB3.0 CF reader of some sort on this thing... FW800 isn't cutting it anymore with 80megapixel images!

Can't believe there isn't more whining about this among video/photophiles.
 
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