An Affordable USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader
Most new computers have SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports on them, but are you taking advantage of them? Most people have not updated all their devices to USB 3.0 compatible versions and as a result are missing out on some very nice performance improvements that could save time and reduce frustration levels. One of the most seldom updated USB devices is your memory card reader. Pretty much every household has a USB card reader, but when was the last time you updated it? Most all high-end memory cards support speeds above what USB 2.0 card readers can handle, so today we will show you what you might be missing out on!
The Transcend RDF8 memory card reader is available in black (TS-RDF8K) or white (TS-RDF8W) and supports SDHC UHS-I, SDXC UHS-I, UDMA6/UDMA7 CF and MSXC memory card formats. We'll be looking at the black version today that retails for $15.99 w/ free shipping. The white version is also $15.99 w/ free shipping, so there is no price difference between color choices.
Transcend RDF8 Memory Card Features:
- Super-Speed USB 3.0 interface (also compatible with USB 2.0)
- Supports SDHC UHS-I, SDXC UHS-I, UDMA6/UDMA7 CF and MSXC cards
- Transfer high-resolution images and video recordings to your computer faster and more efficiently
- Utilize the full speed potential of your memory cards
- USB powered (no external power or battery needed)
- Blue LED indicator light for card insertion & data transfer activity
- Supports SD & CF built-in security functions
- Free download of RecoveRx data recovery software
- Two-year Limited Warranty
The Transcend RDF8 memory card reader comes with three foot long USB 3.0 cable and the memory reader itself. The memory reader is fairly small at 67.6mm x 45mm x 15.2mm and a weight of just 32 grams. It's very light and small enough to easily fit in your pocket or laptop bag if you need it on the go.
The body of the Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 card reader is made from plastic and the top of the device has a glossy finish. This does show finger prints, but the easily wipe off with a cloth. The front of the reader features the CompactFlash, microSD and SD memory card slots. Being able to read a microSD card without an adapter is nice! The reader supports UHS-I SD cards and UDMA 7 CF cards.
The backside of the Transcend RD8F features the MS PRO/XC/MS DUO slot along with the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 data and power header.
The bottom of the Transcend RDF8K shows the model number, serial number, date of manufacture and the usual conformity markings that are required for various regions.
To get the Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 memory card reader installed on your PC you just need to hook up the USB 3.0 cable between your PC and the reader and you should be good to go. The reader is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 ports, but you'll want to utilize a USB 3.0 port to get the most performance possible!
Speaking about performance, let's move on to the next page and see how this USB 3.0 memory card reader performs on an ASUS UX31A Zenbook Ultrabook!
Speed Testing & Conclusion
Before we started testing Transcend's USB 3.0 multi-card reader we checked to see if there was any firmware updates for it and sure enough we found that the drive that we were just shipped days ago was running old firmware. We were able to find the firmware update on the Transcend website, but there were no instructions on how to use it or a change log of what it fixes or does. It's highly unlikely the average consumer would look for a firmware update for their memory card reader, so if you are reading this you are ahead of the curve You first need to download the firmware on your computer that has the reader plugged in it. Then you need to extract the folder and run the file called FWUpgradeTool.exe. From there you should see the program popup and it will tell you what the current firmware version is and if you need to update. As you can see our card reader was running firmware TS15 and needed to be updated to TS21.
After you click start the firmware upgrade takes under a minute and if all goes well you should see the message above. From what we gather the firmware update improves the stability and speed of the reader, so be sure to update yours as the last thing anyone needs is a corrupted memory card due to running old firmware!
To test out the performance of the Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3.0 card reader we used an the fastest SD memory card that we have, which is the ADATA Premier Pro 32GB SDHC UHS-1 Memory Card. This USH-I memory card is rated at 95MB/s read and 45MB/s write, so we can't wait to see how it performs on our ASUS UX31A Ultrabook and the integrated factory USB 2.0 card reader. This is one of the latest and greatest Intel Ultrabooks that money can buy, but sadly it features an SD card slot that uses the USB 2.0 interface. As you can see we were getting 30MB/s read and 26MB/s write on the sequential speed test.
By plugging in the Transcend USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader into one of the available USB 3.0 ports on the ASUS UX31A we found performance increased nicely. The sequential read and write speeds jumped up to 81MB/s and 45MB/s, respectively. The Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3.0 card reader costs just $15.99 w/ free shipping and improved the read performance by 2.5x! Speed aside it also supports other memory card formats that we previously couldn't do, so you get more than just a speed boost!
Final Thoughts and Conclusions:
At the end of the day we found the Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader to be extremely fast and very affordable at just $15.99 w/ free shipping. If you transfer a ton of images or videos between your memory card and PC, then a memory card reader like this one is ideal. The performance difference between a USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 reader are night and day as you could see from our testing.
We did run into an odd quirk with the Transcend RDF8 memory card reader that are worth mentioning when we tested out the reader in our labs. When we used CF, SD and microSD cards at the same time we noticed that you can't use both the SD and microSD card slots at the same time. If you are wanting to use both SD and microSD simultaneously, it simply doesn't work. We also noticed that the Transcend RDF8 easily slides around since there are no rubber feet on the bottom, but that is something you can easily fix with a quick run to the hardware store if it bothers you as well.
Even after running into a couple quirks we still really like the Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 multi-card reader due to the great performance and low price point. Most external USB 3.0 memory multi-card readers are $19.99 and have issues as well. The Transcend RDF8 has been out since 2011, had numerous firmware updates and is now a solid and mature product. It also comes backed by a 2-year warranty should anything go wrong.
Legit Bottom Line: The Transcend RDF8 USB 3.0 Multi-Card Reader quickly transfers data from your memory cards to your PC without breaking the bank!