Adding a USB 3 Card

tonyn1

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I want to add a USB 3 Card to my desktop as I want to be able to connect with some faster USB hard drives. I have a MSI X58 Pro-E motherboard, with some PCI Express 2.0 x 16 expansion slots and some PCI Express x 1 slots. From what I've seen of these cards they all seem to have the PCI Express x 1 connector on them, but from what I gather they will also work in a x 16 slot as well. Is that correct? If I go in the x 1 slot, is the PCI Express 2.0 standard not available somehow on them as the picture of my board that came with it doesn't have them labeled as such, just PCI Express? Anyhow, for being able to fit everything in, I'm better off using the x 16 slot. Is there no card made for the x16 slot or is it just not needed to go that big? Do all these cards come with a controller on them or a some of them just to give you extra ports? What is a good one to buy? Do I need different cables? Do they make a USB 3 hub so I can plug in stuff up front?
 
1. yes, an x1 card will work fine in an x16 slot
2. on a board of that recent vintage it'll have PCIe 2.0, as that was standard since before X58
3. yeah, not much aside from a video card needs a full x16 slot
4. a usb card uses its own controller
5. there are plenty to choose from depending on how many ports you want/need. Some offer internal ports or an internal USB3 header. It sounds like for you a basic card with a couple of external ports should be fine
6. a USB3 external drive should come with its own USB3 cable; a usb3 cable is indeed different from USB2. It's backwards compatible with USB2 but only runs at USB2 speed unless the whole chain (port, cable, drive) all support USB3. USB3 cables have a few extra wires USB2 lacks
 
Yes, the 19-pin connector is a USB3 header which can connect a pair of front-panel ports. What case do you have? IT may or may not support USB3 built-in. There are USB3 hubs available, though as with a USB2 hub it shares the speed of the input port among all the outputs so all the outputs may not run at full speed if used simultaneously.
 

tonyn1

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Not sure which case as I bought this computer already made. It is a mid size tower, and I think I found a front port that will just slip in one of the drive bays.
 

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