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Archive 2011 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

Hi all,

I purchased a SB based laptop right before the recall and was immediately faced with two issues - the new laptop did not have an ExpressCard slot so I could no longer use my existing UDMA ExpressCard based card reader; and the eSATA port was a potential source of failure so I wanted to avoid using it until I RMA'd my SB board (looking like June now.) As no USB 3.0 Readers were shipping at the time I purchased an Addonics Pocket eSATA/USB 2.0 DigiDrive but was hesitant to stress the faulty eSATA channel. While I did not speed test it the Addonics eSATA reader seemed slower than my ExpressCard reader with my fastest cards. My initial workaround was to purchase eSATA to USB 3.0 adaptor(s) where a NewerTech adaptor seemed to perform better with the Addonics DigiDrive than an Addonics Adaptor - go figure. This has been my method of downloading images until about two weeks ago.

As USB 3.0 Card Readers are now shipping I have been exploring the USB 3.0 options. I have been able to put my hands on three USB 3.0 Card readers:
Pretec P240 USB 3.0 All--in-1
Brando/Mono USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Card Reader
Delkin USB 3.0 Universal Memory Card Reader

As I was observing noticeable differences in download speeds I thought I would do a quick quantification of the readers with a collection of my cards so last night I ran a quick speed test downloading 2 GB of images (1 GB of Canon raw file, 0.5 GB of JPG's and 1 0.5 GB HD video file) using Lightroom from 6 different cards: 4 CF cards: Gmonster 32GB 533x UDMA, Transcend 600x 16GB UDMA, Transcend 16GB 300x UDMA, SanDisk Exreme 30MB/s 16GB, and 2 SDHC: Transcend SDHC Type 10 32GB; Transcend SDHC Type 6 16GB - the cards are listed roughly in order of fastest achieved read speed to slowest.

Card readers by clocked speed (fastest to slowest):
Brando: 45 s; 53 s; 69 s; 89 s; 112 s; nt
Pretec: 64 s; 53 s; 72 s; 92 s; 115 s; nt
Delkin: 71 s; 64 s; 76 s; 96 s; 118 s; 135 s
Addonics + eSATA to USB 3.0: 60 s; 119 s; nt; nt; nt; nt

The most important result to me is getting images off of cards ASAP so my choice going forward will be the Brando. It is especially interesting to note the marked difference in speed for the GMonster cards - which are my primary cards with the Transcend 600x as next in line. The Brando card seating/guiding path for the CF cards is a little short, but hopefully it is long enough to keep me from bending the pins when I am in a hurry. The reader has a built in 6" cord that is just long enough for my uses, but might be a pain for others.

The Delkin feels better seating the cards, but is larger than all but the Addonics eSATA reader and was measurably slower. It has a longer cord which my be useful. The Pretec form factor is the smallest but requires me to unplug everything from the adjacent USB ports and it has been flaky as it did not read the GMonster cards at high speed initially which is why I ended up preordering two other USB 3.0 card readers and have this collection in hand to compare. I was surprised that when I tested it last night that it worked so I am not sure if there was a Windows Update or just dumb luck working for me. The Addonics eSATA reader is also very large (3x larger than Delkin) but I might leave it in the mix so that I have a eSATA option in case something really goofy happens with my USB 3.0 channels.

I hope this help others exploring their USB 3.0 Card Reader options,

Apr 30, 2011 at 03:11 PM
raw shooter
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

Great post. Thanks in advance as the USB 3.0 reader is my next purchase.

Apr 30, 2011 at 03:47 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

Are there any compact USB 3.0 CF card readers yet? The ones I have seen are bulky and have a nightmare of different slots and drive letters.


Apr 30, 2011 at 05:09 PM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

The Pretec Reader (that has had issues and blocks all neighboring USB ports) might be considered 'compact' but all are multi-card readers so sport lots of slots aside from CF. The cord on the Brando is not removable so it is not quite as portable as the form might allow. The Delkin cord detaches but uses a funky interface so likely would still need to go with you. The Addonics reader is just plain big.

Here's an image of all four: L to R Brando; Pretec; Delkin; Addonics


Apr 30, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Rodolfo Paiz
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

Hey, thanks. Appreciate the effort and the data.

May 01, 2011 at 05:32 AM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · USB 3.0 Card Readers - comments on 4 options

Thanks you your information on the USB 3.0 readers. I have the Pretec and a Addonics SATA to Cf readers, the Pretec, in my usage is a bit of a problem, sometime it downloads at speeds you would except and other times it is slower than USB 2.0. The other concern is CF card socket is not very deep and care must be taken inserting the CF card as not to bend the pins, whick I have managed to do..
The Addonics CF to Sata reader is not portable, as it is in my desktop,
however, it is very dependable and down load speed is almost a quick as the Pretec when it works. I think I'll order the Brando and give it a try.

May 01, 2011 at 02:46 PM

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