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Update: Plugable USB 3.0 PCI-e card upgraded to Renesas µPD720202 Host Controller

Our popular 2 port USB 3.PCI-e add-in card has been updated with the new Renesas µPD720202 Super Speed Host Controller chipset from Renesas. The µPD720202 is fully compliant with USB 3.0 and xHCI (eXtensible Host Controller Interface) 1.0 specifications and PCIe Gen2 system bus specifications.

Other improvements include:

  • Reduced power consumption in low-power mode to 4.5 mW, a reduction of 90 percent from our existing µPD720200 based product
  • Improvements to the data transfer processing circuit provide an increase in the effective data write speed of more than 40 percent over the µPD720200
  • The µPD720202 features reduced power consumption so supplemental power via a SATA to molex connector is not needed
  • Firmware download function eliminates the need for external serial flash ROM

Drivers for the new Plugable PCI Express to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 2-Port Expansion Card with the µPD720202 are different than for the µPD720200 based card. All Plugable PCI-e USB 3.0 cards purchase after 10/16/2012 have the new µPD720202 chipset and will require the new drivers. Both the previous and current versions are available at our Renesas driver page:
Plugable PCI-e USB 3.0 drivers

Any questions? We’d be happy to help. Post below, visit the support page for the product, or email support@plugable.com anytime.

Where to Buy

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Support

We’re as excited about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release as we expect many of our customers are. And we’re here to help if you install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on computers where you’re using or plan to use any Plugable devices.

We’ve already begun installing Microsoft’s latest operating system on PCs in our lab for the fun of hands-on exploration and–more importantly–for testing the compatibility of Plugable products on this platform.

Here’s what we know already.

Graphics Adapters
All Plugable graphics adapters rely on DisplayLink drivers that are explicitly called out during Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup as incompatible with the new operating system. DisplayLink has made Beta drivers available for Windows 8 on its public forum.

1) You will need to uninstall your current DisplayLink drivers when prompted to do so by Windows 8 Consumer Preview setup.

2) Once Windows 8 Consumer Preview is installed, you can download and install the DisplayLink drivers from http://plugable.com/drivers/displaylink. Please read the release notes to be aware of any that may affect you.

We have used DisplayLink drivers successfully on a computer running Windows 8 Consumer Preview with a Plugable UGA-2k-A graphics adapter. With an extended desktop, the Windows 8 “Metro” interface showed on the primary desktop, and the extended desktop functioned like a Windows 7 extended desktop.

The ability to control whether in duplicate or extend mode was located on an option called “Devices” that can be invoked from the lower right corner in the “Metro” UI.

Network Adapters
Windows 8 Consumer Preview should find the compatible ASIX or Realtek drivers for all Plugable network adapters via Windows Update. The computer will need a network connection separate from the one made available by the Plugable adapter.

USB 3.0 Devices
Windows 8 has native support for USB 3.0 and should properly manage the host controllers in any Plugable USB 3.0 cards and hubs. No third party drivers should be required.

Windows Easy Transfer Cable
The Plugable Windows Easy Transfer cable works in Windows 8. We’ll devote a future post to the topic of what the user interface looks like in Windows 8.

We’ll also cover using the optional Bravura software (license comes with the Plugable cable) in that future post.

If You Need Support
We hope all Plugable products function to your satisfaction on Windows 8 Consumer Preview. But if you experience problems or previously unseen quirks, we encourage you to post your questions at http://support.plugable.com or write to us at support@plugable.com. We’re here to help and eager to hear about your experiences with Windows 8.



Plugable PCI Express to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Two-Port Expansion Card

  • “This card showed me how much faster USB 3.0 is compared to E-SATA, and I was impressed. 300GB transferred in less than one hour from a Maxtor 500GB 7200rpm drive in a Vantec external USB 3.0 enclosure. ” – Nathan D. Wilder
  • “…it worked like a champ…I would highly recommend the product and would buy again.” – Vincent P. Bedus, New York, NY
  • “This is my favorite kind of hardware — I installed it and it worked.” – Steve Smith, Santa Rosa, CA


  • Update — All Plugable PCIe-USB3 Two-Port Expansion Cards purchased after October 16, 2012 have the new Renesas µPD720202 chipset
  • The µPD720202 is fully compliant with USB 3.0 and xHCI (eXtensible Host Controller Interface) 1.0
  • Up to 90 percent reduced power consumption in low power states
  • Increased effective data write speed of more than 40 percent
  • PCI Express Card (PCIe Gen2 x 1 Lane) expands your desktop to support two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Ports
  • CD includes 32/64-bit drivers for Windows XP SP3, Vista SP2, and Windows 7
  • Supports USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.x devices at spec transfer speeds of 5000/480/12/1.5 Mbps
  • Includes Standard and Low profile brackets

Upgrade any Windows-based desktop to Super Speed USB 3.0 REQUIRES: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or later, one free standard or low profile PCIe x1 slot. SPEED: Theoretical maximum speed of USB 3.0 is 5Gbs and PCI-e 1x is 4Gbs. Included in package: PCIe card and driver disk.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to I install the Plugable USB 3.0 Expansion Card?

Confirm your desktop PC has an available PCIe slot (can be 1x size). Open case, insert card. Your PC now has two extra USB ports, capable of connecting USB 3.0, 2.0, or 1.1 devices.

I have a low profile PC. Will this standard profile card fit?

The bracket included with the card is sized for standard profile PCs. However, it’s possible to unscrew the bracket from the card and fit in any low-profile PC by swapping in a low profile bracket (included). A screwdriver is necessary. There are holes in the low-profile bracket for the card’s LEDs. Take care to properly align the LEDs with the holes for proper installation of the low-profile bracket.

How does Windows see a USB 3.0 host controller?

With the NEC drivers installed, this product appears as any other USB host controller. It runs the NEC drivers at the HCI level to provide full USB 3.0 functionality. And yet it is compatible with all higher level drivers in Windows or from 3rd parties (e.g the USB mass storage class driver provided by Windows), so all older/existing drivers will work transparently, and in fact can benefit from the increased throughput of any native USB 3.0 devices that are attached.

What is the state of support on Linux?

The NEC/Renesas µPD720200 is the most widely used and tested USB 3.0 chipset. For Linux, kernel driver code was first provided in kernel 2.6.31. Driver code is in drivers/usb/host/xhci*. USB 3.0 has been receiving active work and improvements in later kernels. The µPD720202 is supported in kernel 3.4.10 and later.

What do the LEDs mean?

There are two blue leds on the PCI Express to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Two-Port Expansion Card that are illuminated when the card is powered from the PCI-e bus. They do not blink with activity or turn on or off to indicate a device is present.

Drivers available for:

  • Windows XP,  Vista, and Windows 7 (all versions)
  • Linux support in kernel 3.4.10 and newer
See our Renesas USB 3.0 Drivers page for details and links


Where to Buy



Plugable Open Source Hardware Samples Program

From time to time Plugable has extra test hardware around our labs. Rather than have it gather dust, we’d like to send it out to the open source community to help foster driver development.

We know how much work open source driver development is — getting hardware should be the easiest part of it. So today we’re announcing a new program to better get test devices out to developers who can use them.

If you’re a developer with a history submitting patches for Linux or other platforms, please submit your request for Plugable sample hardware here. Because we’ll have only a trickle of each type over device over time, an important part of this is having some idea of what prior driver development contributions you’ve made. We’ll try to focus on matching hardware to the developers most likely to be able to contribute improvements in that area.

Plugable’s products cover a fairly wide range of USB and other devices. See http://plugable.com/shop/ for our products that will be available from time to time under this program.

We’ve long been doing this kind of thing with the commercial vendors. Having worked on Windows and at Microsoft, we try to drop off samples to get them using, testing, and developing against our hardware. We’d do the same for Apple or others. This is our attempt to get these same benefits going with the wider open source community.

We hope this will seed some good things over time. And we welcome any feedback or suggestions on this program anytime.