Add in PCIe Card for ProGrade CFexpress type B Dual Slot Reader

Mt Spokane Photography

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Mar 25, 2011
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I received my Prograde USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual Slot Card Reader today. It comes with a USB 3 Type A connector as well as a USB C.

From what I've read, this is a 10 Gbps standard. There is also USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 which is 20 Gbps. I tried importing about 30 raw files into lightroom using a old USB 3.0 port with my V60 SD XC II card but was not impressed with its speed. I know Lightroom is not speedy for imports, so I may be limited by it rather than my reader or card.

I have a spare PCIe X16 slot in my PC.

What are the pros and cons of buying a add-in card, either a USB 3.2 Gen 2 or a USB 3.Gen2X2 card? My PC is getting up there in age and likely will be replaced this winter or maybe last another year. I don't foresee any 20Gbps uses for it, and a extra USB 3 port sounds nice. I could just continue to use a USB 3.0 port on my PC rather than fool around with drivers, etc for a new add-in card.

Here are a couple of cards that seem to demonstrate what I'm thinking.

USB 3.2 Gen2X2 (20 Gbps)



USB 3.2 Gen 2 (was USB 3.1 Gen 2) - 10Gbps

As far as I know, there are no cards that support power delivery thru the USB C port.
 

koenkooi

EOS 5D Mark IV
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Feb 25, 2015
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For the best speeds you can also get a pcie cfexpress reader. I didn’t do that since the back of my computer isn’t easily reachable :)
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
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You may want to look at a new computer that has TB3/USB4. It might not just be the USB 3.0 interface but the storage you are writing too. Does your PC have a PCIe/NVMe SSD that can write at or close to the speed of the CFExpress reader?

My 'super fast' SSD circa 5 years ago is topping off at 400MB/s write and a CFExpress card has a 1700MB/s read so it'll never dump quick enough onto that, I need to copy onto my newer PCIe drives or my MacBook Pro 2018.

Try the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test if you haven't already to see what the max speed your disk can support. You can also run this on the CF Express card to see if it is being bottle necked.


Edit: Also be wary of what gen PCIe you have. My 2010 Mac Pro limits the read and write of my PCIe SSD's due to it being a gen 2.0 slot. So the drives can hit 6000MB/s in raid but are capped at about 2000MB/s. A PCIe USB 3.2 card might not have the grunt behind it if you don't have gen 3 PCIe slots.
 
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AaronT

EOS RP
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Jan 5, 2013
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I received my Prograde USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual Slot Card Reader today. It comes with a USB 3 Type A connector as well as a USB C.

From what I've read, this is a 10 Gbps standard. There is also USB 3.2 Gen 2X2 which is 20 Gbps. I tried importing about 30 raw files into lightroom using a old USB 3.0 port with my V60 SD XC II card but was not impressed with its speed. I know Lightroom is not speedy for imports, so I may be limited by it rather than my reader or card.

I have a spare PCIe X16 slot in my PC.

What are the pros and cons of buying a add-in card, either a USB 3.2 Gen 2 or a USB 3.Gen2X2 card? My PC is getting up there in age and likely will be replaced this winter or maybe last another year. I don't foresee any 20Gbps uses for it, and a extra USB 3 port sounds nice. I could just continue to use a USB 3.0 port on my PC rather than fool around with drivers, etc for a new add-in card.

Here are a couple of cards that seem to demonstrate what I'm thinking.

USB 3.2 Gen2X2 (20 Gbps)



USB 3.2 Gen 2 (was USB 3.1 Gen 2) - 10Gbps

As far as I know, there are no cards that support power delivery thru the USB C port.
I have an older PC also. I have a dual boot system (Win7/Win10) but I usually use Win 7, personal preference. I like the Ableconn because of the 2 different connectors, also because you can get drivers for Win 7, the Orico only does Win 10. I see no cons about adding an add-in card, I don't have any problems with mine. Win 10 doesn't need any additional drivers for either card.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
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Mar 25, 2011
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I tried some speed tests with my two V60 Cards, I don't have a CFexpress card as of yet. I had thought a V60 card was faster, but all I found was that it does its rated read and write speeds. I certainly don't need this reader for a V60 or V90 card that I can see.

Writing a lot of data to the card heats it up too, it was pretty warm to touch after I finished playing with it.

So, I was limited by the download speed of the card when importing to photoshop. I did find that my old Lexar USB 3 reader does not support UHS II, so it read slower, write speed seemed about the same.

I guess I don't need to worry until I get a CFexpress card and then I'll check the speeds. I did not plan to get one until I actually get a R5.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
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UHS-II SD cards are still exceptionally slow. Once you get a CF Express you can compare again, but mind your computers storage and interface has to all be up to task for the highest transfer speed. USB 3.2 will likely bottleneck a CF Express card, but it'll still be some 3x faster than the SD card or more conservatively.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Mar 25, 2011
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You may want to look at a new computer that has TB3/USB4. It might not just be the USB 3.0 interface but the storage you are writing too. Does your PC have a PCIe/NVMe SSD that can write at or close to the speed of the CFExpress reader?

Which computers have USB4? Its my understanding that it won't be available in general use for quite a while. I can't find any motherboards using it.

I don't expect to jump to something that will realistically not have any mainstream usage for years. With shortages of components and all the transportation issues, It is likely to be pushed out further.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
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Mar 25, 2011
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UHS-II SD cards are still exceptionally slow. Once you get a CF Express you can compare again, but mind your computers storage and interface has to all be up to task for the highest transfer speed. USB 3.2 will likely bottleneck a CF Express card, but it'll still be some 3x faster than the SD card or more conservatively.
USB 3.2 comes in 5Gbps, 10Gbps and 20Gbps. So it depends. my reader only handles 10Gbps, so its limited to 1250 MBps. Even with the fastest USB 3.2 version, I'd be limited by my reader. I haven't seen a 20Gbps reader. Thats why its a minefield right now, the pieces are not all in place, and USB4 may be available in the next year.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
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Which computers have USB4? Its my understanding that it won't be available in general use for quite a while. I can't find any motherboards using it.

I don't expect to jump to something that will realistically not have any mainstream usage for years. With shortages of components and all the transportation issues, It is likely to be pushed out further.

TB3 should be compatible with USB4, ideally you are looking for TB3 in a computer now for CF Express readers at full speed or as another poster suggested, getting a PCIe reader, but that sounds like a fuss to gain access. However, while USB 3 and perhaps even 4 won't keep up with the card speed like TB3 will, it is still going to be markably faster than your SD cards.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
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Mar 25, 2011
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TB3 should be compatible with USB4, ideally you are looking for TB3 in a computer now for CF Express readers at full speed or as another poster suggested, getting a PCIe reader, but that sounds like a fuss to gain access. However, while USB 3 and perhaps even 4 won't keep up with the card speed like TB3 will, it is still going to be markably faster than your SD cards.
TB4 is coming out this fall. You can't ever keep up. I've decided last night to just wait on a R5. I'll keep the reader and possibly update my PC this winter to newer tech.
 

Codebunny

Elil
Sep 5, 2018
793
803
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TB4 is coming out this fall. You can't ever keep up. I've decided last night to just wait on a R5. I'll keep the reader and possibly update my PC this winter to newer tech.

TB4 is just a tighter TB3. But regardless my advice remains to upgrade if you need to and run speed tests on the disks, including on your computers hard drive/ssd. You might be disappointed by CF Express transfers again later only to find it isn't even USB 3.0 limiting you but your computers storage. Thankfully with computers just now, they are all plenty fast for photography.
 

Bdbtoys

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I have the same reader...but slightly faster SD card. I also use a USB C 3.1 Gen 2 connector (which by definition is actually now called 3.2 Gen 2).

Take the 10 Gb/s, that equates to 1.25 GB/s.. which is 1280 MB/s

CFexpress Type B and SD UHS-II Dual-Slot Memory Card Reader by ProGrade Digital | USB 3.2 Gen 2
ProGrade Digital SD UHS-II 256GB Card V90 –Up to 250MB/s Write Speed and 300 MB/s Read Speed
ProGrade Digital 325GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt) –Up to 1700MB/s Write Speed and 1500 MB/s Read Speed

These are 'supposed' to be some of the fastest available.

I ran a quick 16MB DiskMark32 test on both and got..
SD max 121 MB/s Read, 164 MB/s Write
CFX max 960 MB/s Read, 907 MB/s Write

Both seem a little low, but being how this is my only reader, I can't really test w/ another. You may want to grab DiskMark to see where your numbers are. But as others said, your card is probably the limiting factor, not your USB.

I tried this test last night on a different port (still same specs) and it was aweful... so may try more testing tonight.

One thing to note: It is amazing how hot these cards get in a very little time... especially the CFX.
 
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