While looking to add USB 3.0 ports to two servers which had no motherboard ports we tested out two different cards:


Syba USB 3.0 PCIe x1 2.0 Card – 2-Port with internal 19 Pin USB 3.0 Header (Model SD-PEX20139)

Insignia USB 3.0 PCIe x1 2.0 Card – 2-Port (Model NS-PCCUP53)

Performance was both good and comparable for both cards. Both are excellent options for things like backups to external hard drives. We like to format these with ZFS as well so we know the data was written properly … a topic for another blog entry though!

All things considered I prefer the Syba card as it allowed us to activate the USB 3.0 ports on our server cases via the 19-pin USB 3.0 header, while still also providing rear USB 3.0 ports as well. The Insignia does not have the header to do this, but does have the advantage of being available at most BestBuy stores. So if you need something immediately the Insigna is also a good option.

Both come up under FreeBSD 10.1 using the built in xhci driver:

xhci0: <XHCI (generic) USB 3.0 controller> mem 0xdc500000-0xdc501fff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci1
xhci0: 64 byte context size.

With both cards we were able to max out two external USB 3.0 hard disks (WD Passport Ultra), one on each port, simultaneously getting about 110 MiB/sec on each disk which is the maximum to expect on an external HD.

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5 Responses to “FreeBSD Compatible USB 3.0 PCIe Cards”

    • Adam Strohl

      Hey Robert, I couldn’t say since OpenIndiana is a completely different OS from FreeBSD. However my impression is these devices all use the standard XHCI interface so I would figure if OpenIndiana supported XHCI it would support any USB 3.0 card that did, including this one.

  1. Xin Zhao

    Base on my recent test, I confirmed all of usb3.0 pci-e cards with VLI VL805 or NEC 720200 controller can work pretty well on FreeBSD 11.1. And the VLI card is a little bit faster than NEC. I test with a usb3.0 portable disk with a VLI controller as well. When I try to copy a 9GB file to it, the NEC card’s max speed is 150MB/s, the VLI card’s max speed is 200MB/s. the detection messages of 2 cards like below

    xhci0: mem 0xdf700000-0xdf701fff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci1
    xhci0: 32 bytes context size, 32-bit DMA
    xhci0: Unable to map MSI-X table
    usbus0 on xhci0
    usbus0: 5.0Gbps Super Speed USB v3.0

    xhci0: mem 0xdf700000-0xdf700fff irq 16 at device 0.0 on pci1
    xhci0: 32 bytes context size, 64-bit DMA
    usbus0 on xhci0
    usbus0: 5.0Gbps Super Speed USB v3.0

  2. Busthead

    What command in FreeBSD are you using to backup/sync your data to an external drive via one of these cards?

  3. Franz Schwartau

    A “CSL PCIe USB 3.0 CARD” has a VL805, too. It works with FreeBSD 11.2:

    xhci0: mem 0xfdbff000-0xfdbfffff irq 18 at device 0.0 on pci2
    xhci0: 32 bytes context size, 64-bit DMA
    usbus0 on xhci0
    usbus0: 5.0Gbps Super Speed USB v3.0

    xhci0@pci0:2:0:0: class=0x0c0330 card=0x34831106 chip=0x34831106 rev=0x01 hdr=0x00
    vendor = ‘VIA Technologies, Inc.’
    device = ‘VL805 USB 3.0 Host Controller’
    class = serial bus
    subclass = USB


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