Speed demon, but cheap and cheerful

My 2009 Mac Pro is getting long in the tooth. IGGY still works just fine of course I feel the need for speed. I don’t want to replace him with a garbage can. No matter how many cores and Thunderbolt ports they have, they only have one storage unit. The base model has 256 GB of PCI-E-based SSD, and I need at least two units of 1TB each. (One for normal use, one for CarbonCopyClones).

I’ve not upgraded the internal SATA workings – that takes surgery and cash I don’t have. But IGGY’s USB ports are USB2, while USB3 promises up to 10 times the speed.

I read online of a few USB3 cards that would work in IGGY, but these needed power from one of the SATA bays. IGGY’s bays are full – I have lots of data. Also, power-cables would need surgery – both thanks.

But then I read about the Inateck KT4004 card which doesn’t need external power or surgery. It also cost under £30 while other offerings were over £100! How could I resist?

I’ve installed and tested the card, using the 128GB SSD that was originally in my 2010 MacBook Air and is now in an USB3 enclosure. (The 128GB SSD been replaced with a 1TB SSD.) My test was copying the 5·34GB Mavericks installer from one partition to another on the 128GB SSD, from the 128GB SSD to IGGY’s boot SSD, and from IGGY’s boot SSD to the 128GB SSD, via firstly the USB3 card and then via one of IGGY’s built-in USB2 ports. Here’s the results.

time taken to copy 5·34 GB file
USB variant   USB3 USB2 ratio
external 128GB to external 128GB 61s 306s 5·0
external 128GB to internal 1TB 24s 144s 6·0
internal 1TB to external 128GB 33s 162s 4·9

Clearly the original Apple SSD in the external inclosure is much slower than the Crucial SSD in IGGY’s drive bay, but the former SSD is 5 years older than the latter. But in all cases, USB3 is 5 times faster than USB2. I like!


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