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Testing Participants

Buffalo HD-H1.OTU3



The Buffalo drive doesn’t look exceptional. It is a neat plastic brick with a 3.5-inch Samsung HD103SJ hard disk drive inside. The brick is supposed to stand upright (although it does not look steady considering the lack of any feet). On its side panel you can spot a power connector (alas, 0.9 amperes is still not enough for full-size HDDs), a small fan, and a type B USB 3.0 connector which differs noticeably from the connector of the old standard.

Vantec NextStar 3


Next goes an enclosure from the well-known Vantec. It stands upright on its longer side and uses a small stand. It still doesn’t look very steady, though.

The Buffalo enclosure could not be taken apart whereas the Vantec one revealed an ASMedia ASM1051 chip inside. USB 3.0 is implemented using a NEC µPD720200 root controller, which is virtually the only such chip available today.


It must be noted that the USB 3.0 controller from ASUS uses four PCI Express lanes and thus is not limited by the PCI Express bandwidth. At the current moment, the add-on card is the best option because we see the same NEC controller integrated into mainboards but the bandwidth of its PCI Express connection is unclear (one PCI Express 1.1 lane won’t be enough as its bandwidth is lower than the USB 3.0 bandwidth). And there are no chipsets with integrated USB 3.0 controllers as yet.

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