I recently got my hands on the Inateck 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI Express Card for Mac Pro to test out on my 2010 Mac Pro, which gave me a 10X increase in speed. Here’s a rundown of the device.
• “plug and play” native drivers supplied by Apple in Mountain Lion 10.8.2 and newer.
• Unlike some USB 3 solutions which are “storage-only”, this card works with a wide variety of USB devices, including hubs.
• It supports UASP, which is theoretically much faster than normal USB 3.0 when used with the right equipment.
• Known to be incompatible with “Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader”
• It does not have a dedicated USB controller for each port, so simultaneous transfers over multiple ports will have to share bandwidth.
• OS X “ejects” the external drives when the computer goes to sleep, and pops up a warning when you return. Other than this annoying popup message, nobody has reported any actual problems.
• Mountain Lion 10.8.2 or later is required to use native OS X drivers. Lion 10.7.5 and newer is supported through the open source GenericUSBXHCI driver.
Note: There are older revs of this model, and also model numbers that look very similar with just 1 number or letter difference. Even Inateck’s own website shows the wrong model. So be careful when ordering. If you go here to Amazon and then click “4 Ports for Mac Pro”, that is the right card. After clicking “4 Ports for Mac Pro”, the picture should change to show a card with no power connectors and no cables. After adding to your cart, verify it says something like “New release 4 ports model modified for Mac Pro”.
I was already using the other 3 PCI Express slots on the Mac Pro and I happened to have one slot available for the Inateck 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI Express Card. The other slot was using a AMD Radeon HD 7950 graphics card while the other two slots were using PCI express SSD cards to run 4 SSD hard drives. I was also running 6 Hard Drives from the 4 available SATA ports as well as 2 in the optical drive bay. I took one SATA hard drive out of the bay to have room to work while I fit the Inateck 4-Port USB 3.0 PCI Express Card in the top slot.
After I opened the package I was ready to install the card.
Installation was super-easy. I just plugged the card into the top slot and buttoned everything back up again. Here’s a pic of me securing the card into the PCI Express slot.
After I got the card in I took a look at the Inateck 2.5″ SATA HDD External Enclosure. The enclosure was nice and small in size. I liked that it had a traditional USB port on it and it even came with a cable. There’s an on/off switch on the enclosure and it’s bus powered so there’s no additional power cord or anything.
I liked this setup because it still works on USB 2.0 connections too. So you can carry around the enclosure and still hook it up to machines that might not have USB 3.0 connection, but they have a USB 2.0 connection. For those that do have the USB 3.0 connection I found it to be about 10x faster than USB 2.0 connection in my speed tests. I’ve been using a measly USB 2.0 portable hard drive enclosure this whole time. I wish I would of been using this Hard Drive enclosure for a while now. I know I’ll be using it from now on.
Check out some of the speed test results below.
Here’s a speed test on the USB 2.0 connection on the front of the Mac Pro. I used an OCZ Vector SSD Hard Drive in the Inateck 2.5″ SATA HDD External Enclosure.
Now here’s the speed test on the USB 3.0 PCI Express connection. Check out the increase in speed!
Jasper Thayer is the developer of FinalCutProX.net
He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5.
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