USB 3.0 Expresscard...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Reapur, May 5, 2010.

  1. Reapur macrumors regular

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    May 5, 2010
    #1
    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 :(
     
  2. spitfire85 macrumors newbie

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    May 5, 2010
    #2
    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.
     
  3. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    #3
  4. andrew086 macrumors regular

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    #4
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressCard#ExpressCard_2.0
     
  5. Reapur thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    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.
     
  6. m85476585 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    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.
     
  7. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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    #7
    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.
     
  8. Reapur thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    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...
     
  9. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

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    Oct 24, 2007
    #9
    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/
     
  10. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

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    #10
  11. kgelner macrumors newbie

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    #11
  12. thunderbolt101 macrumors newbie

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    May 1, 2011
    #12
    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
     
  13. johnnyturbouk, May 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

    johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #13
    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
     
  14. redcrayon macrumors newbie

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    Jun 10, 2011
    #14
    Problems with Lacie USB 3.0 ExpressCard 34

    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.
     
  15. ooans macrumors 6502

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    Jun 4, 2011
    #15
    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?
     
  16. johnnyturbouk, Jun 12, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011

    johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #16
    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:
     
  17. ooans macrumors 6502

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    #17
    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
     
  18. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    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.
     
  19. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #19
    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
     
  20. metaxidis macrumors newbie

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    Aug 19, 2011
    Location:
    Boston USA/ Cyprus
    #20
    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
     
  21. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #21
    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?
     
  22. metaxidis macrumors newbie

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    Boston USA/ Cyprus
    #22
    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
     
  23. wegster macrumors 6502

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    Nov 1, 2006
    #23
    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. :-/
     
  24. johnnyturbouk macrumors 68000

    johnnyturbouk

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    #24
    hows it go

    i have given up hope tbh!

    spent the $$$ on a used iPad instead from flea bay...fw800 till TB--->USB3 adapters crop up
    :(
     
  25. zkaudio macrumors member

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    Jul 4, 2007
    #25
    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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