I recently had the opportunity to receive an Anker AI440 USB 3.0 PCI-e card, one of six in their line. If you’re not familiar with Anker they’re a somewhat recent company, found by Googlers, that produces a wide array of tech products from cell phone batteries and chargers to USB accessories for PC and MAC. While they’ve been around a few years, what initially drew my attention was their 8200 DPI gaming mouse which for under $40 gives you a precise laser gaming mouse with 9 programmable buttons, weight tuning, and 8200 DPI.
High praise for this mouse, along with other products they’ve released, means that Anker should be around for the long haul. I contacted Anker recently for the opportunity to review a few of these products and they sent me the Anker Ai440 USB 3.0 PCI-e card, one of six in their product line.
So what exactly is a USB 3.0 PCI-e card and why do you need one?
If you’re unfamiliar with this particular product, then here are a few good reasons to own something similar:
USB 3.0 Vs. 2.0
1. You want to upgrade from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0.
Whether you’re upgrading an older or newer computer this is a budget way to get faster transfer rates out of your PC. Anker claims transfer rates of up to 5GBps – the standard USB 3.0 speed while USB 2.0 typically transfers at up to 480 mbps. If you’ve got a lot of files to move, then that means you’ll transfer them at up to ten times your previous speeds.
2. You simply need more ports.
As someone who does video and has a wide array of gaming devices I simply can never have enough USB ports. This allows me to keep more of my devices plugged in and prevents me from having to switch devices in and out as I need them.
3. The ethernet port may give you access to faster network speeds
If you have an older computer, then you might just benefit from having compatible 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet. (The ethernet option is only included on Anker’s AI440 model.) This is also a solid option for those who aren’t getting reliable speeds from the port they currently use.
Anker AI440 Review:
In researching this product I went to find something similar to what Anker has in the AI440. While there are several USB 3.0 PCI-e options out there, Anker has the only reliable USB 3.0 Ethernet PCI-e card I could find. This, along with a current price point of around $20, makes it attractive for those looking for a little more flexibility from their PC.
In the box you’ll find the PCI-e card, a 4 pin Molex to SATA power cable adapter, Driver CD, welcome guide, and customer support card. Anker claims hassle-free service and returns and a card with their phone number, e-mail, and other contact information is included to prove just that. Any sensitive device like this one will have the occasional return so it’s good to see that Anker seems to own it and gives you an 18-month warranty as well.
Installing the Anker AI440:
You’ll need a PCI x1 or x16 for the installation of this card. Also, in order to use the cable which Anker provides, you’ll need to use their 4 pin to Sata power connector. Make sure before installing this product that you have those options for your computer.
Before you begin be sure to shut off your computer. To install the AI440 USB 3.0 / Gigabit Ethernet card simply unscrew the plate from the back of your I/O in front of the PCIe slot you plan on using. After that gently put the card in that slot on the inside of the case and push down where it connects with your PCIe slot. After that, simply connect the 4 pin molex to the card and the SATA power connector.
Anker includes a driver disk with the AI440. That being said mine didn’t initially work and I had to go to their manual page to find a driver that worked for me.
Speeds and Results:
As you can see in the pictures I’ve included speeds for me ranged from about 80 to 85 MB/s. This is about 4 times faster than I was previously getting with my USB 2.o ports.
Final Thoughts on the Anker AI440:
Overall this was a solid upgrade for my computer that runs you about $20. While there are other products out there with 4 USB 3 hubs in around this price range, this seems to be the only one with ethernet. The installation of the card and drivers took me no longer than 10 minutes and now I have an additional USB 3 and ethernet options. It would have been nice if the driver would have worked from the CD; however, that is a minor issue considering that it can easily be found online.