The USB 3.0 standard has been around for a while, first appearing on consumer devices in 2009. It’s likely therefore that any new PC purchased in the last few years will have USB 3.0 built in. If you have an older machine, or you need more ports, then you can add a PCIe card to add extra USB 3.0 capability.
Inateck’s KTU3FR 4-port card is an easy way to boost your USB 3.0 options. It’s easy to install though it does need more power than the PCIe slot can provide so it comes with SATA and Molex cables, one of which needs to be connected to your machine’s power supply. Drivers are supplied on a CD and should work with all versions of Windows from XP up to Windows 10.
It looks smart with a red PCB and a satin black backplate. Once installed it works like any other USB port and is of course backwards compatible with older devices. The only real problem is that the ports are on the back of your PC so it’s best used for things like printers or webcams which are plugged in all the time rather than devices you swap in and out a lot.
Data transfer speeds are fractionally slower than the PC’s native USB 3.0 ports but not enough for you to notice a performance difference in everyday use.
The card currently sells for $23.99 on Amazon (£20.99 in the UK). You can find technical details on the Inateck website.
If you already have USB 3.0 capability but need to attach more devices to a port then the HB4101 4-port hub is the answer. It is tiny, 6cm x 4cm x 8mm thick, ideal to slip into the pocket of a laptop or tablet bag without creating an unsightly bulge. If you have something like a Microsoft Surface which only comes with a single USB port then the HB4101 is a good way of hooking up more devices.
It’s solidly engineered with an aluminum case and a hard-wired cable. There are three ports on the long side of the case and one on the end. It has overvoltage/overcurrent/leakage and short-circuit protection to keep your devices safe too. It’s entirely plug and play with no additional drivers required and is powered solely from the USB port.
Currently the HB4101 sells for $12.99 on Amazon (£10.99 in the UK) which means you can buy cheaper hubs but few that are as well engineered as this one.
More details are available on the Inateck website.