IcyBox PCI-E USB3 expansion card review

Beef up your system with USB3 without the need for an expensive new mobo

IcyBox PCI-E USB3 expansion card
We think this is one for the early adopters due to the lack of actual USB3 products on the market

TechRadar Verdict

If you want to upgrade to USB3 without having to buy a new motherboard then this is the best way


  • +

    Good speeds on offer

  • +

    Easy to install

  • +

    Same controller as the high-end motherboards


  • -

    One for early adopters

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The USB 3.0 interface has now become a prime selling point of today's higher-end motherboards. As such, unless you've bought a new mobo in the last few months, you're not going to have USB 3.0 on your existing rig.

If you want it, you're going to have to fork out for a new mainboard at the pricier end of the market. Unless, that is, you opt for the new PCI-E expansion cards, such as this one from Icy Box.

It's a simple upgrade for anyone wanting the new, speedy interface in their existing rig and at £45 it's not going to break the bank. Sure, it costs a little more than equivalent USB 2.0 adaptors, but shopping around it looks like it's only by around a tenner.

Just drop the expansion card into a spare single-lane PCI-E slot, connect it up to the power supply with a molex cable (remember them?) and you're up and running.

It's sporting the exact same NEC chip that the motherboard manufacturers are putting on their latest boards and there's no discernible drop-off in performance between them.

Both offer speeds way above what the venerable USB 2.0 interface can manage, but by doing it this way you don't have to replace any major components. Still, an expansion card such as this is only really necessary if you're desperate to get on the bandwagon early and start buying up any USB 3.0 products you can find.

Realistically, by the time it's got the sort of market penetration to make it a necessity, you'll be in the market for a new mobo. And by then USB 3.0 will be ubiquitous across the board.

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