Review ASMedia 1042, Cheap USB 3.0 Express card for your Macbook Pro, Hackintosh

Review of ASMedia 1042 controller, Cheap USB 3.0 Express card for your Macbook Pro, Hackintosh

I bought a cheap USB 3.0 Express card for my Macbook Pro which did not have a USB 3.0 by default like it’s latest iterations. So I needed an USB 3.0 express card as I wanted to leverage better Data Transfer Rate from my 1Terabyte Seagate Go Flex External HDD with STAE 104 USB 3.0 Adapter. My Go Flex HDD came with a USB 2.0 so I made a gamble by buying the express card first, testing it with USB 2.0 and then moving to USB 3.0. Everything went picture perfect and I’ll tell you how you can upgrade your old MBP or Hackbook to USB 3.0, Read on.

You need an Express card with ASMedia 1042 Chip to work on OSX. I bought USB 3.0 2 Port Express Card 54mm Notebook Adapter BC398 from Amazon for $10.37, though the previous versions of it had NEC USB 3.0 Controller mine had ASMedia 1042 Controller (even the cd had NEC drivers !), So confirm that your Express card has ASMedia 1042 before buying it.

Note : USB 3.0 Kexts should be installed, up & functioning in your OS X for  the steps below.


I have included the Amazon link of an express card with ASM 1042 controller above. The card I bought was semi flush-fit (i.e though it fit perfect, it needed some superglue to fix it in place). Make sure you buy the right size 54mm (or) 34mm supported by your MBP/hackintosh laptop. Also if you are planning to use your  Bus powered External HDD with USB 3.0 it would need external power supply to work, so your best bet is to get an express card which supports external power supply through USB like mine shown below (Also like the card shown above).
Here are the benchmarks of ASM 1042 USB 3.0 on OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.2 with Seagate Goflex 1Terabyte external HDD with USB 2.0/USB 3.0 adapter cable.
As you can see from the above benchmarks even USB 2.0 device performs better on this ASM USB3.0 express card and with USB 3.0 adapter cable my Goflex HDD gave me nearly twice the performance considering the bottle-neck of an PCI powered Express card slot which can provide only 5.0 Gb/sec at an maximum, the double increase in Read/Write speeds are consistent with realtime performance of  USB 3.0 devices on native USB 3.0 slots of modern laptops.
Any queries regarding this or suggestion can be posted in comments and you can also ask me though my twitter/facebook page.

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