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Buffalo 2 Port USB 3.0 Express Interface Card review

Alan Lu
19 Jun 2010
Buffalo 2 Port USB 3.0 Express Interface Card
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
29
inc VAT

It’s the best USB3 ExpressCard adaptor we’ve seen, but it’s not as fast as the ports on PC motherboards.

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Most laptops still only come with USB2 ports, so if you want to take advantage of fast USB3 hard disks, then you'll need an ExpressCard adaptor such as this one from Buffalo. We tested it with Buffalo's own USB3 DriveStation external hard disk.

Our tests consistently showed that the DriveStation was around 20MB/s slower at copying files when used with this adaptor, rather than a motherboard with built-in USB3. Large files were written at 69.4MB/s and read at 106.2MB/s while small files were written at 42.3MB/s and read at 50.4MB/s. We suspect this is due to the limitations of the ExpressCard interface, though it’s still faster than any USB2 disk, as well as most eSATA disks.

Buffalo's adapter uses the same NEC USB3 chipset as Lindy's ExpressCard adapter (part code 51510) – even the drivers are interchangeable. Unsurprisingly, this adaptor’s performance was practically identical. However, Lindy's adaptor costs almost twice as much at £55.

The Buffalo adaptor protruded noticeably from the side of our laptop. Additionally, it's easy to accidentally eject it when attempting to unplug a USB cable, which could be very frustrating if you're using a second device at the time. Despite its problems, Buffalo's adaptor is currently the most cost-effective way to add USB3 ports to a laptop with an ExpressCard slot.

Details

Price£29
Rating****

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