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Recommended USB 3.0 host controller cards


We've tested the following USB 3.0 chipsets:

  • Intel 7, 8, and 9 series
  • VIA
  • Renesas (formerly NEC, same chip)
  • Texas Instruments
  • Fresco Logic
  • ASMedia USB 3.0
  • ASMedia USB 3.1

All PCI express add-on cards require PCI express version 2.0 or later!

Across all operating systems, besides Intel, Renesas proved to be the most reliable. It was the only non-intel host that worked immediately on every platforms, without driver updates.

This was the Renesas card that we tested with most recently, and strongly recommend:

A note on buying host controllers from Amazon. Because USB 3.0 host controllers all implement a common specification (XHCI), no-name USB 3.0 vendors can easily switch out which host chip they are using, based on availability or cost. Usually people in the reviews will notice this.

The card we links specifically advertises on using the Renesas controller, which is why we chose to test it. However, there is at least one review claiming that their card came with a VIA chipset. Please check it once you receive it! On Windows, the VIA chipset requires driver updates to work properly.

We have not yet performed a full evaluation on "ExpressCard" Laptop add on cards. Once we have done so, we can post a recommendation for that too. In the mean time, we recommend looking for a Rensas based express card.

Instructions to identify currently installed host controllers: How can I find out what USB 3.0 host controller(s) are installed in my machine, and their driver version(s)?

Latest driver information: Latest USB 3.0 Host Controller Drivers

trello ID: 55f9d0a6be3aa238faaaa10a
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