Buffalo USB 3.0 ExpressCard 34
SuperSpeed interfacing for your laptop
Review With USB 3 storage now gathering momentum, fitting a SuperSpeed interface to your computer seems like an option worth investing in now. Even laptop users aren’t left out of this buss ride, if there’s an ExpressCard 34 slot available. Such cards are still quite a rarity, with Buffalo’s IFC-EC2U3UC dual-port adapter being among the few on offer.
SuperSpeed slot loader: Buffalo Technology's IFC-EC2U3UC
As I noted previously in my review of Buffalo’s IFC-PCIE2U3 USB 3.0 PCI-Express card, the controller currently dominating the SuperSpeed USB market is NEC’s D720200F1. Buffalo’s ExpressCard 34 implementation is no exception from this apparent norm. Although it’s an NEC derived interface card, whether it keep pace with the PCIe card equivalents remains to be seen.
This Buffalo adapter is for Windows PC, although Mac compatible models are appearing despite no official support from Apple. For those not so familiar with the USB 3.0 standard, each port must now be able to deliver 900mA of current to be considered a fully power port – almost double the 500mA maximum of USB 2.0.
Given the power requirements you’ll find PCIe cards feature Molex adaptors and the first generation of single-port ExpressCards from Fresco Logic required a separate PSU. Thankfully, Buffalo has simply supplied a power adapter for its ExpressCard 34 which draws additional current from any available USB 2.0 port.
Even so, the additional USB 2.0 power feed wouldn’t allow me to run two portable USB 3.0 drives simultaneously. The Iomega eGo happily purred away under bus power, but my LaCie Rugged 3.0 needed to use its own USB 2.0 power feed, as well to satisfy its hunger. Given both drives are portable, perhaps this test was a little unfair, as individually, each drive was able to run without need for any additional power supply.