SilverStone SST-EC03B USB 3.0 PCI Express Card Review

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A Closer Look at the SilverStone SST-EC03B

SilverStone SST-EC03B PCIe Card

The SST-EC03B is designed to allow enthusiasts an affordable way to enjoy the benefits of USB 3.0 on older PCs without having to upgrade any significant part of their system. As long as there is an available PCI-e 2.0 slot on the motherboard, the SST-EC03B will offer USB 3.0 performance at a fraction of the cost it would take to replace an entire system, such as the motherboard, processor and memory.

SilverStone SST-EC03B PCIe Card Top

Since this device is essentially an add-in card, a USB 3.0 cable must be routed through the PC from the header on the SST-EC03B to the external 3.5″ bracket. To the left of the header is a 4-pin Molex connector which provides additional power to the SST-EC03B. One concern with the design (and perhaps the accessory bundle) of the SST-EC03B is the fact that it does not contain a bracket for those enthusiasts with SFF systems.

NEC uPD720200

The brains behind the SST-EC03B is the NEC uPD720200. This chip is responsible for providing USB 3.0 connectivity via a single x1 PCI-e 2.0 slot. The controller chip is backwards compatible with all previous versions of the USB specification, including USB 1.1 and USB 2.0. While the SST-EC03B is ideally suited for x1 PCI-e slots, it will also work in all other PCI-e slots, including x4, x8 and x16. More information on the NEC uPD720200 can be read HERE.

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