Installing a USB 3.0 card could be an important upgrade for your PC. Why would you want a USB 3.0 card? The data transfer speed of USB 3.0 is ten times that of its predecessor USB 2.0. While USB is considered a standard component on any PC, unless you have a brand new computer or motherboard, you will need to upgrade your computer with a card to get the benefits of this new technology. And with the prices being so reasonable, this upgrade won’t destroy your budget.
So how fast is USB 3.0? The theoretical speed for this spec is roughly 5 gigabits per second. USB 2.0 is about 480 megabits per second by comparison. You could use the analogy of having a dial-up connection opposed to a cable modem.
USB 3.0 is the future of this specification. The question you need to ask yourself is if you need to upgrade your computer now, or just wait to get USB 3.0 when you buy your next motherboard or computer. But before you rush out to buy this card, you should make sure you meet the following criteria:
- Your computer is no more than a few years old. Having this card will give you the capability of achieving those transfer rates, but if you have a slower computer, your PC will become the bottleneck in the whole process.
- You transfer massive amounts of data, such as video and a lot of high-res images or files. You will not be able to appreciate the speed of these devices unless you are moving a lot of data at once.
- You have an unused PCI slot on your motherboard. Since you will be adding a new card, you’ll need to have an open slot or be ready to remove an existing card from your computer in order to perform the upgrade.
Installing the USB 3.0 card is pretty straight-forward. Lay the computer down on a flat surface. Unplug it. Remove the side panel. Locate a free PCI slot on the motherboard and carefully insert the card straight down. You will need to secure it with a screw into the case. Windows should find and install drivers for the card immediately upon reboot. If your card came with a driver disk. Install that software prior to installing the card. You will also notice the cable is different for USB 3.0. This is because there are more wires in the cable. While the connector on the PC side is the same, the end that connects to the device is different.
The great news is the new card you install is completely backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices. So if you need to remove an old USB card in order to install the 3.0 card, you can do so without losing the ability to operate your older USB devices.