Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Tale of Two USB 3.0 (3.1?) PCIe Cards in a Mac Pro 2009 (flashed to 2010) Inateck KT4004 vs. Newertech MAXPower 4-Port USB 3.1 Gen 1 PCIe Controller Card


I wrote a previous post about system hangs, my Drobo 3 ejecting (not during sleep, just using the Mac Pro normally) and so I replaced my KT4004 with a Newertech MAXPower.

The Inateck I bought because I'd had an older Mac Pro (2008) with one of their powered cards (via SATA power) and it worked well but I left it in the 2008 when I sold it as it's a bit of a pain to remove/install.

I also replaced the cable just to help troubleshoot...of course I could have gotten a bad card/cable...but I still have the old ones, so, moving on.


Both are FL1100 chipsets and have 4 ports each. 

Why I like the Newertech better

Let's be honest. Foremost is it's a name brand. That's the warm and fuzzy factor.

For the objective reasoners, it's a 4x PCIe card vs. a 1x PCIe card. I don't know if that's what sped up my Drobo 3 by a factor of 4 in throughput (it's supposed to be a 5Gbps card just like the Inateck) but it did. Someone explain in the comments, because I think it might be a flaky card. The Mac Pro 2009/2010 is PCIe 2.0 so a 1x card like the Inateck should be plenty for a Drobo 3.

That said, the Newertech is a 4x card, so at the least, if you have multiple USB 3 devices, especially storage, that would be the obvious choice for overall much better throughput.

Update: It's a PHYSICAL x4 card but only RUNS at x1 speed....which begs the question as to why you would make the card physically an x4 since now it won't work on a PC I have in an x1 slot...power draw maybe? But I don't know if you get extra power capability with extra lanes...

System report confirms x1 speeds. So I still wonder why my Drobo speed just seems to vary widely. I am going to try my old USB 3 cable next and cross my fingers as I fling chicken blood at it and standing on one leg.

Thoughts? Is my math right? I get about 100 megabyte/s r/w on it now which is only around 20% of the bus speed of 5Gbps and half of the 2Gbps for an x4 card.

It SEEMS like my speed had dropped from previous benchmarks on the Inateck, but perhaps 25 megabyte per second was all a 1x card could manage? 

Again, check my math in the comments.

Here's the punchline. On Amazon, the Newertech is only $5 more. Spend it.

I won't even link to the KT4004 at these prices. But if you use this link -=> you'll help support me as my main job ends Sep 30, 2020 due to Covid.

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