Expansion cards have been around as long as PCs and allow us as the consumer to add functionality to our computers as needed. For those requiring an intense amount of USB 3.0 connectivity, the onboard solution from motherboard vendors may not always be enough.
Taking full advantage of its PCIe 2.0 x4 interface, the Allegro Pro offers four fully independent USB 3.0 controllers on a single expansion card, giving each of the four external ports the ability for full throughput of 450 MB/s per port. As an added benefit, the Allegro Pro has been optimized for use over Thunderbolt and adds the functionality of charging to all four ports.
Compatibility extends to Windows 7, 8 and 10 along with Server 2008 and 2012, and on the OS X side 10.8.5+ and any Mac Pro with an available PCIe slot.
The MSRP of the Sonnet Allegro Pro comes in at $129.99 with a five-year warranty.
The packaging is quite colorful and includes a bit of marketing on the front. To the right, we see an image of the card and its specifications below.
On the back, even more details about the card are available in several languages.
The scope of delivery is rather simple with just the card and manual.
Diving in, we find four Fresco Logic USB 3.0 controllers to the left while a central controller sits at the opposite end. There are some blank solder pads at the very end of the card for what looks like an optional Molex or SATA power connector.
Externally, we have four USB 3.0 port, blue in color.
To get a quick idea of the performance, I ran this card through CDM with my trusted Intel 730 SSD. I'm not sure if it was the enclosure I was using or the Allegro Pro, but I was only able to reach 235 MB/s reads and 235 MB/s write.
To take testing a bit further, I set up four USB 3.0 flash drives each with their own port and hit go. As you can see above, each of the drives was able to hit over 200 MB/s with the HyperX hitting 290 MB/s read.
The Allegro Pro is an expensive piece of kit when it comes to USB 3.0 expansion cards. As it sits right now, there are a plethora of cards that hover around the $30 to $50 mark and offer four ports. Where the Sonnet makes up for its MSRP is in quality, and that starts with its four ports of connectivity all having their own controller. This will be especially important for creative professionals or enthusiasts that need every bit of performance they can get. Adding to this with Sonnet optimizing the card's power consumption, we no longer need external power like many cards do, enabling this to be used with many external Thunderbolt chassis.
The performance was middle of the road for a single device, and I'm still puzzled with the result, even after testing it multiple times, but this device does excel with multiple drives with really no loss in performance.
Overall, I enjoy the company of the Allegro Pro and for those wanting to get into VR, you will most likely need more ports. And this card for me was a life saver since my motherboard houses only four on the rear I/O.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Z170 Premium - Buy from Amazon
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6500 - Buy from Amazon
- Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Memory: Klevv CRAS 16GB (4x4) DDR4 3000 - Read our review
- Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Secondary Storage: Intel 750 400GB U.2 SSD - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Case: Thermaltake P5 - Buy from Amazon / Read our review
- Power Supply: Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200 - Buy from Amazon
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 - Buy from Amazon
|Quality including Design and Build||90%|
|Bundle and Packaging||85%|
|Value for Money||80%|
The Bottom Line: Sonnet's Allegro Pro is a solid PCI Express expansion card for those serious about their connectivity. For the general consumer, this card is still great, but you may want to wait for online sales to purchase.
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