SuperSpeed USB devices may have started to trickle onto the market, but it will still be a while before their use becomes widespread. That's simply because most people won't have the USB 3.0 ports required to take advantage of the speed boost the next generation offers. But StarTek.com come up with a low cost way to ensure your current laptop can enjoy the latest and greatest USB 3.0 devices - provided it has a spare ExpressCard 34 slot.
The company's two-port ExpressCard USB 3.0 adapter quickly and inexpensively upgrades your computer to support transfer rates up to 5Gbps, while maintaining backwards compatibility with older USB 2.0 (480Mbps) and 1.1 (12Mbps) devices. Like the previous generation USB standards, each port can daisy chain up to 127 different USB devices, but the new USB 3.0 standard provides 80 percent more power than USB 2.0, hence removing the need for additional external power adapters.
However, an optional AC adapter is required to supply a full 900mA to each port, meaning an extra cord trailing from the card. While that might not be the most elegant solution, ExpressCards are rarely the most elegant solution anyway. Sticking as they do from the side of the laptop they provide an easy target for mishaps and are easily snapped. But StarTech.com aren't going for elegance, they're providing a stop-gap measure to those who simply can't wait longer than 70 seconds to transfer 25GB of data (USB 2.0 takes around 14 minutes).
The StarTech.com ExpressCard 3.0 adapter is compliant with ExpressCard 1.0 specifications as well as USB 3.0 revision 1.0 specifications and Intel xHCI rev0.96 specifications, and fully supports Control/Bulk/Interrupt/Isochronous Transfer USB communication types. It is due for release just after Christmas, but can be pre-ordered now for US$49.99.