With the next evolution of USB now here with the launch of USB 3.1, vendors are quickly ramping up production of storage solutions among others to utilize the increase in performance. With this comes the need for many end users to upgrade their existing PCs, that could leave some in a tough place especially if you have budget constraints. Luckily several vendors including Addonics have released their add-on solution in the form of a PCIe add-on card.
The Addonics AD2U31PX2 or USB 3.1 PCIe add-on card is a quick solution for those wanting to upgrade to the latest tech on a budget. This card features dual Type-A USB 3.1 ports which are compliant with Intel's xHCI specification and support SuperSpeed operation at both 10Gbps and 5Gbps. The PCIe connection on this card is a two lane setup, meaning users will need to utilize a version 2.0 slot to achieve full device throughput. Power for this card is supplied via the PCIe slot unless devices go over the specified 500mA of bus power where then a 15-pin SATA power connector has been set up on the card to take over from there supplying 1.5A to each port. The chipset used in the Addonics solution is the ASMedia 1142.
MSRP of the Addonics USB 3.1 PCIe card is listed at $29.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging for the Addonics USB 3.1 solution is their standard white box approach. In the center, you will find an image of the card, while features are listed around the edges.
Scope of delivery includes a universal driver disk, along with a low profile backplate and manual to get you started.
Looking at the port side of the adapter, we find this card using the standard blue port color. From what I have seen, it does appear that USB 3.1 will be using a lighter Columbia blue in the future for its port color.
In the previous image, we have a look at the overall footprint of the card and as you can tell it's quite small and packs just enough to power two Type A USB 3.1 ports. With this solution those that will be utilizing charging features or high power devices will want to plug in the SATA power connector to the back of the PCB.
The back of the Addonics solution does have one area of concern and that is the jumper wire running across the PCB.
To get an idea of the performance in comparison to our ASUS motherboard's on-board USB 3.1, we started off with a simple test using the ADATA SE730. As you can see, our on-board solution touched 545 MB/s read and 458 MB/s write.
Taking the same ADATA SE730 portable SSD over to the Addonics solution, we found the card to be capable of the same performance numbers in several areas. First, the sequential results were nearly identical at 546 MB/s versus the 545 MB/s of the on-board.
One area where the Addonics did seem to grab a little more performance was with random write at QD32 where results went from 106 MB/s to 118 MB/s with the Addonics.
Many solutions from Addonics have come through the lab over the last few years and one thing that has always remained no matter the device is the build quality. The same holds true here today, despite the odd jumper wire visible on the back of the PCB, the rest of the card looks to be using solid components and tight solder joints. The additional low profile bracket allows users to install this solution in nearly any chassis.
Performance of the card was right on par with the on-board solution on our ASUS Z97 motherboard, and while we have yet to receive a storage solution that can truly maximize the potential of USB 3.1, the ADATA SE730 used here today showed the Addonics PCIe add-on card is capable of over 500 MB/s of sequential performance.
As far as pricing is concerned, the Addonics solution is carrying a $29.99 MSRP straight from the factory and when comparing to similar solutions in the market, it's a full $10 cheaper.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||85%|
|Bundle and Packaging||87%|
|Value for Money||90%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||87%|
The Bottom Line: The Addonics USB 3.1 PCI Express Add-On solution is a perfect fit for those looking to upgrade their PCs to the very latest tech at a very reasonable price.
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