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SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E Card E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Accessories
Written by Marc Fructman   
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E Card
Closer Look: EC03 Exterior
Closer Look: Interior
Testing and Results
ATTO Disk Benchmark
CrystalDiskMark 3.0 Tests
Everest Disk Benchmark
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: EC03 Exterior

The EC03 arrived well protected and unharmed. The packaging itself is quite nice with full color on all sides.

SilverStone_SST-EC03_USB_3.0_PCI_E_Box_004.jpg

You will also notice clearly the advertised 5Gbit/s USB 3.0 Super Speed transfer rate right on the box.

SilverStone_SST-EC03_Parts_003.jpg

The mini CD includes a multi-language product manual. The manual is overly simple and could benefit from real pictures instead of simplified schematics. However, most people won't have any trouble with the installation. The mini-CD also includes a set of drivers. Newer drivers are already available and they can be downloaded from SilverStone.

A 24” (609.6mm) internal connector cable with dual USB 3.0 ports is included in the packaging.

The EC03 features an anodized black aluminum exterior. The surface is slightly resistant to the typical fingerprint. The aluminum is a bit thin and could bend very easily if mishandled.

SilverStone_SST_EC03_3.5inch_IO_bay_001.jpg

The I/O bay has an additional 2 ports should you ever locate another EC03.

SilverStone_SST_EC03_3.5inch_IO_bay_Front_002.jpg

The EC03 ports are mounted in the bay with 1 screw and a single plastic pin. This gives the ports a little too much wiggle room.



 

Comments 

 
# I'm glad I didn't waitWhyNotV2 2011-12-05 03:48
While the SilverStone USB 3.0 doesn't seem terrible, I'm glad I became a semi-early adopter and bought the SIIG 4-port USB 3.0 kit. It's worked very well for me this past year that I've had it and definitely isn't flimsy. The only issues I had with it was my original installation in that I forgot to plug the power in and it took me a few minutes to figure it out. The price I the SIIG was high (I got mine "on sale" for $54.95), but again, 4 ports (not that I've used more than 1 at a time), sturdier and 2 size bay compatibility.

I may pick up the Silverstone 3.0 for my wife's computer for the price...or wait :)
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# PCIe x1 slotkatnrica 2011-12-05 10:20
This article says:
"The EC03 card from SilverStone installs into a single lane PCI-E gen 2.0 slot..."

How many motherboards built before 2010 even have a "Gen2, 5.0Gbps" x1 PCIe slot? All (or nearly all) only have a Gen1 (2.5Gbps) x1 PCIe slot. Yes, the graphics x16 slot is Gen2 on a vast majority of motherboards, but not the x1 slots.
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# RE: PCIe x1 slotOlin Coles 2011-12-05 10:26
Before 2010? How about before 2007, which is when PCI-E 2.0 slots were all over the market and a standard for motherboards? I think you might be remembering the dates incorrectly. I remember Intel X38 motherboards having PCI-E 2.0 lanes back in early 2007.
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# RE: RE: PCIe x1 slotkatnrica 2011-12-05 10:46
Olin -- you are correct! I looked at the product briefs of the X38 and the P45 chipsets; yes both of those support multiple x1 lanes (6) at 500MB/s, which clearly means they are Gen2 capable. Sorry about that - I should have looked at these datasheets before I posted my question ;-)
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# RE: SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E CardMugsy 2011-12-05 14:03
I'm wondering if there isn't a "technical" reason why most boards and adapters are limited to just TWO usb 3.0 ports and not more? ("WhyNot" above is the first report I've heard of a 4-port adapter, and it's pricey.) Even this particular adapter, while providing room for two more ports, requires a SECOND card to add them. That suggests one needs beefier hardware to support more than two usb 3.0 ports at once.

This also raises serious questions about an inability to use "hubs", "daisy-chaining" or other ways of expanding the number of ports when you run out.

Or... to paraphrase what Bill Gates once said about the PC: "640K should be enough for anybody"... or in this case, "two usb 3.0 ports should be enough for anybody"?
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# RE: RE: SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E CardMack 2011-12-05 17:56
Intel has been lacking native support for USB 3.0. on their motherboards.
That seems to be a lot of the reason why these boards seem to only carry 2 onboard USB ports, as they are 3rd party solutions.
Intel's new 7X series chipsets do support USB 3.0.

A single PCI Express 2.0 ?lane? can provide 500MB/s in one direction (1000MB/s in both directions).
So, having a 4 port USB 3.0 solution that is plugged in to a single PCI-E slot, is not going to give you full bandwidth for each port. There's just not enough available bandwidth. That is why it might be better for engineers to spec a x4 PCI slot for 4 port USB 3.0
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# RE: RE: RE: SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E CardMack 2011-12-05 17:59
Sorry typo, x4 PCI-E slot... would cover the necessary bandwidth.
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# RE: RE: RE: SilverStone SST-EC03 USB 3.0 PCI-E CardDavid Ramsey 2011-12-05 18:01
Everybody lacks native USB 3.0; not a single Intel or AMD chipset supports it. Anything that has USB 3.0 now relies on NEC or Renesas controller chips.

Dunno what AMD's excuse is. Intel said Light Peak, aka Thunderbolt, would obviate the need for it, but their latest X79 chipset doesn't have that, either.
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# Nice clean lookMax Power - usb3pcicard.com 2012-02-27 08:03
I like these kits because the usb 3 ports are located at the front of the pc. The cables aren't too obstructive inside the case either.
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