Adding USB3 ports to an older laptop

After the ancient replacement to my old Lenovo 3000 N100 died again, I got a Thinkpad T400 on eBay and transferred the hard drive to that one. At the time, I thought the T400 had two PC Card slots which limited my options for doing something useful with that expansion option.

However, it turns out one of those slots is an ExpressCard/54 slot. That led me to search Amazon to see if there was anything suitable and beneficial I could put in that slot.

Enter GMYLE(TM) 5Gbps BC618T 54mm 2 Port USB 3.0 Laptop Express Card for Windows 7, XP, Vista — a product with a long name if I’ve ever seen one. I took a chance on that despite some mixed reports in the reviews.

I am happy I did.

When it arrived, I booted into 64-bit Windows 10 Pro, and inserted the card in the slot (without installing any drivers from the accompanying CD). The T400 immediately recognized and enabled the card. I decided the first thing I had to do was to see if I got any performance boost from it at all: An ExpressCard/54 slot is not capable of providing full USB3 speeds.

So I ran CrystalMark using the same PNY 64GB USB3 drive once on the motherboard USB2 port and next on one of the ports on the GMYLE card, rebooting the laptop in between tests. Here are the results:

[ Sequential read speed is approx. 30MB/s with motherboard USB2 ]
[ Sequential read speed is approx. 74 MB/s ]

The results are clearly not earth shattering, but the improvement is not negligible either. Subjectively, it seems transferring images and large video files using my USB3 SD card reader seems much faster as well.

I am going to keep this one.