USB 3.1 is the newest generation and it brings quite a few improvements over the previous generation, such as the double bandwidth capabilities. The trouble with new generations of connectors is that you’ll also need to upgrade your system to use them, at least if you got an older one. Luckily you don’t need to upgrade your entire system, you can just use an expansion card. SilverStone just released the ECU03 which is such a card and it will give your system both a USB 3.1 Type A and a USB 3.1 Type C connector.
The SilverStone ECU03 offers 10 Gbps bandwidth for excellent throughput and transfer rates, especially when multiple external drives are attached simultaneously and otherwise would create bottlenecks. The ECU03 fully supports the eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) that makes it driverless for an easy installation. The expansion card also supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) that increases the overall throughput by handling multiple requests at the same time.
USB is by definition highly compatible and the card is naturally backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1 devices. Motherboard support is secured through the use of a PCI-Express Gen2 x2 interface that most stationary PCs will have available for use. Even small form factor (SFF) systems are supported as the card is designed to be low-profile. SilverStone also includes a low-profile expansion slot bracket with the card right out of the box.
Includes SuperSpeed USB 3.1 external USB Type-C connector
SuperSpeed USB 3.1 with Type A and Type C ports
PCI-E Gen2.0 x2, throughput up to 10Gbps
Compliant with eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) specification Revision 1.1
Compliant with USB Attached SCSI Protocol Revision 1.0 (UASP)
Includes optional low-profile slot cover for supporting low profile cases
There can be many reasons why you would want to add some external storage to your system and there are about as many different possibilities as there are reasons. One of the easiest ways to connect storage to your system is via a USB docking stations. Whether you have a notebook or stationary system, this allows you to connect any normal internal drive to your system externally.
Sharkoon just released a new docking station that can do this with ease and it is one that also sports the newest type of USB connection: USB 3.1 Type-C. The new docking station is literarily called what it is as it is called Sharkoon QuickPort USB 3.1 Type C. While the docking station itself features the tiny and reversible Type-C connector, it connect to any normal sized Type-A USB port on your system by the included cable.
Whether you want to use 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drives in this docking station, it’s covered and it will work just as well as you can connect the docking station or older USB ports such as normal 3.0 or 2.0. Both SATA and USB are backward compatible which allows you to connect this modern enclosure no matter what hardware you have – but you naturally won’t get the impressive 10Gbps speeds possible from the USB 3.1 or the 6Gbps from the SATA3 when you connect slower drives or use an older connection standard. But it is great to have the option.
Should you not have a system with USB 3.1 yet, then Sharkoon fittingly also introduced a new add-in card to give you just this. The new host controller features both a Type-A and a Type-C USB 3.1 connector on the rear and plugs into your normal PCI-Express x4 or bigger slots.
Both new Sharkoon items are built around ASMedia’s controllers and that is a company with a lot of experience in the field. The docking station is powered by an ASMedia ASM1351 bridge controller while the add-in card is powered by an ASMedia ASM1142 USB host controller.
Both new Sharkoon USB 3.1 devices are available now. The docking station has a suggested retail price of €39.99 while the host card is a little cheaper with a suggested retail price of €29.99.
The USB 3.1 standard has been among us for some time now, but there aren’t many drives on the market that support this new standard yet. Lately more and more drives are being released, but they mostly just feature the new connectors and no real performance improvement considering the bus is capable of 10Gbps. That is no different with this new drive from Adam Elements and called ROMA, but it’s still something a little special. The clothing one wears don’t define you, but it can’t hurt to look good and the same goes for the Adam Elements USB 3.1 ROMA flash drive.
The ROMA drives match the Mac Book series perfectly with their Gold and Space Grey colours, and that is no real surprise as Adam Elements was founded in 2013 by Alan Cheng who previously worked for Apple Taiwan as a Senior Manager. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the drives in any other system with the appropriate ports.
The ROMA features both a USB 3.1 Type C and a normal USB 3.1 Type-A connector for maximum compatibility to modern laptops, smartphones, and other USB 3.1 capable devices. You get 64GB storage when your purchase an ROMA and that’s not bad at all. It should be plenty for most people needs and enough to unload your smartphone data onto the drive.
ROMA’s USB-C plug works either way up, so users will never need that cursed 3-turn USB move again. Whenever data needs to be moved to another computer with a standard USB socket only, the connector can simply be swivelled around, and a full-sized USB 3.1 plug is ready to go. On both ends, ROMA boasts high-end transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s, but whether that’s just read or also goes for write is anyone’s guess. My guess is that it only goes for the read speeds and that you shouldn’t expect much in terms of write performance.
The drive’s casing is forged from premium zinc-aluminium alloy which makes it shock-resistant and dustproof. In order to make transport easier and add to the design, ROMA comes with a brown handmade genuine leather strap which fastens neatly onto bags and clothes.
ROMA can be ordered directly from the Taiwan-based Adam Store and will also become available at European retailers shortly. The MSRP is set to £39.99 which isn’t bad at all for a stylish drive like this with 64GB capacity.