Ake Usb3.0 Expresscard Drivers For Mac

Active2 years, 2 months ago

Note that I want to try this manual approach first before using MultiBeast. Failed to do the driver install—failure message on screen—when I last tried last week or any other automated tool.

I want to install GenericUSBXHCI.kext on Mac OS X 10.10 so that I can use my StarTech Ecusb3s11 flush fitting USB 3.0 expresscard. There is a version of the kext for Yosemite here.

I have set permissions of the kext and used Drive utils to repair permissions to ensure correct permissions. I have also attempted to rebuild the kext cache as explained here:

This Sonnet USB 3.0 ExpressCard Driver software enables USB 3.0 transfer speeds with Sonnet's Allegro USB 3.0 PCIe (part number USB3M-E) and USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 (part number USB3-2PM-E34) in computers running Mac OS X. I know the limitations of Express card bandwidth, and that it cannot give full USB 3.0 speeds for PCI based express card but a USB 3.0 support means a definitely higher speed for my 1TB seagate GoFlex Freeagent HDD. ESATA does not work for my HDD sadly, but this hardware might work now that some drivers are available from Apple. This item AKE Express Card 54mm to USB 3.0 x2 Port Adapter Laptop GMYLE(TM 5Gbps BC618T 54mm 2 Port USB 3.0 Laptop Express Card for Windows 7, XP, Vista StarTech.com 2-Port Flush Mount ExpressCard 54mm SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Card Adapter (ECUSB3S254F).

And also tried rebooting.

But not lucky so far - plugging in USB 3.0 drive into USB 3.0 port doesn't show drive on Mac OS desktop, using othe, but USB 2.0 ports do work so drive is OK. Also all this worked with Mavericks (see more details below).

**Some background related information as to why I think I can get this working once I can persuade OS X 10.10 to use this GenericUSBXHCI.kext.

I also have a CalDigit USB 3.0 express card and CalDigit have provided drivers for OS X 10.10. This card does work on OS X 10.10 sometimes. On Mavericks the StarTech was more reliable and I also like it because it fits flush, so I can leave it in place when putting the Mac in a carrying case/bag. The StarTech and CalDigit cards both work on my Mac booted into Windows 7 (BootCamp), so I know the cards work and work with the Mac's hardware.

This StarTech Ecusb3s11 expresscard did work successfully with OS X Mavericks 10.9 when I used GenericUSBXHCI.kext with this (because StarTech only provided Windows drivers.) I had to also use IOPCIFamily.kext from a previous OS X 10.8.x as Apple broke support for ExpressCard on mid-2010 MacBookPros - there are threads of discussion on it on some forums. Using the IOPCIFamily.kext copied from a machine (luckily) running 10.8.x (before Mavericks) fixed the expresscard so that I could use GenericUSBXHCI.kext But fortunately in 10.10 IOPCIFamily.kext is fine because the CalDigit expresscard works in it, so only need to deal with getting GenericUSBXHCI.kext working on 10.10.

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3 Answers

I know the post is a bit old, but so is my 17' 2009 macBookPro. Following advice here and elsewhere I was searching for a native supported card (no kext amends) and went for this one on ebay.


Works under Mavericks (and above I believe). Build quality is a bit flimsy compared to my sonnet esata card but it is flush with the edge of the macbook.

I find that I have to boot up with the drive already connected to reliably get USB 3.0 speeds, otherwise they can step down to 2.0 speed if I hotswap drives or accidentally eject the card.

Tests show me that I'm getting about 4 times the speed compared with USB 2.0, but then my mac is limited to pci 1.0 and 2.5 GT/s. Haven't tested long file transfers yet but can now look at getting fast usb 3.0 external raid for video backup and be hopeful that I can access it fast now and also when I upgrade the macbook to something newer later.


Answering my own problem (told ya I would do it, see my comments)

(I've rewritten the question title as I have found a solution which works for me the same)

I bought another USB3 ExpressCard 34 (see below) and this card has the Fresco FL1100 chipset which is supported natively by MacOS X (see below).

Plugged it in, then plugged in the drives and they were all recognised, even those on a USB3 hub by Pluggable.

Quick benchmarks:

Ake usb3.0 expresscard drivers for mac

Copy a single 47Gb file from an external USB3 HD to the Mac's SSD.

Transcend USB3 7200rpm external 2Tb Drive (rugged model) copy to Mac's own SSD on USB2 (two): Estimated copy time: about 27 minutes.

Transcend USB3 7200rpm external 2Tb Drive (rugged model) copy to Mac's own SSD on USB3 (three) port on the ExpressCard 34 USB3 card: Estimated copy time: about 9 minutes.

Conclusion: copying is approx 3 times faster with USB3 than USB2 in this real life (but not scientific) test.

Other copy tests indicated at least 2 times faster (with many files to copy, so I'd expect the overhead of multiple files reduces the performance).

Where to buy a ExpressCard 34 with the FL1100 chipset:

  • and on ebay

References about MacOS X natively supporting 3rd-party chipsets such as the Fresco FL1100:

I'd still hold onto my Renesas card in case 3rd-party support becomes available later.


This solution also works perfectly fine with OS X El Capitan, and Windows 10 64bit Pro via Bootcamp.

Update 2

Ake Usb 3.0 Expresscard

This solution also works perfectly fine with the latest version of OS X Sierra - because I have this running on my mid 2010 Mac Book Pro 17', with the ExpressCard inserted into it.

I think the ongoing support is because some Macs with built in USB3 used the FL1100 chipset and therefore those Macs that are on the supported list for Sierra that have this chipset will work. Therefore Macs which can have after-market/3rd-party FL1100-based USB3 cards added to them via ExpressCard (notebooks) and PCI (Express) card (desktop - Mac Pro) will also be supported by the OS.

However, keep monitoring the situation for future versions of Mac OS X, in case the list of supported Macs changes if they drop those Macs with FL1100 support and therefore leave out the driver for it in future versions of the OS to focus maintenance costs on hardware that they choose to support.

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One option while it is not ideal but necessary is to disable kext signing, follow these stepsafter you have installed your kext:

Step 1: Open the Terminal from the menu bar

Step 2: Run this command:

Does it say kext-dev-mode=1? if so, you can skip to Step 4. If it says 'error getting variable', continue with these steps:

Step 3: Run this command:

Step 4: Reboot back in to Recovery Mode again

Step 5: Run these commands, replacing Your Disk Name with the name of your Mac disk (partition). You can type ls /Volumes to get a list of volumes. Note the quotes around the disk path and that there should be no / before System.

Step 6: Wait until it finishes (can take as long as 5-10 minutes, don’t abort it) and reboot.You should now be back in OS X with USB 3.0 working.

hope this helps

to install the kext use an app like kext drop

Jason Aller
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Ake Usb 3.0 Expresscard Drivers For Mac

Active6 years, 8 months ago

There is a proliferation of portable and cheap portable USB 3 drives nowadays and nothing of the sort for Thunderbolt.
I was wondering if it is worth my while getting an ExpressCard/34 USB 3 card for my 17' Macbook Pro, to tide me over until some reasonably priced Thunderbolt drives come out.

I did a quick search and found a few drawbacks of the ExpressCard/34 USB 3 solution.

  • It appears you need an external power supply according to this article http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=5985&review=aluratek+usb+3+expresscard+adapterCan anyone confirm this? That would be a pain, since I want to use portable drives, avoiding separate power supplies.
  • Performance is not as good using USB 3 through ExpressCard (although it is much better than USB 2, so this is not so much of a problem).
  • The need for drivers. Lacie provides one. http://www.lacie.com/au/more/index.htm?id=10112
  • Ugly (I'll forgive this one, since this is a temporary solution until Thunderbolt drives arrive).

Ake Usb 3.0 Expresscard Driver

Does anyone have any experience with a USB 3 ExpressCard?
Can you recommend one?
My biggest blocking point is the need for an external power supply. Is there any card that doesn't require external power for USB 3.0 speeds? (Lacie don't mention this on their website as far as I can see).

Please don't answer with suggestions about Firewire. I currently have several Firewire 800 drives. This question is specifically about ExpressCard/34 USB 3.

Jason S
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closed as off topic by bmikeDec 30 '12 at 19:39

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3 Answers

  1. You'll need a power supply.
  2. The express card slot has a gross transfer speed of 2.5Gbit/s.
  3. 3rd party hardware kernel extensions (drivers) are horrible (expect kernel panics and maybe even data loss).
  4. The LaCie adapter will only work with LaCie drives. Use of any other drive will cause a crash.

It's simply not worth it.

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A) Consider eSATA instead of USB 3.0 if you just want storage.

B) Most expresscard eSATA solutions reuse USB->eSATA bridges, creating a new bottleneck. This is the major reason people complain about expresscard solutions in the first place. Look for a true expresscard eSATA adapter. The first indicator will be the price. < USD40 is usually junk, > USD75 tend to be good. I like the Sonnet cards: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/computercards/index.html#sataec34

Art TaylorArt Taylor

Since OSX Mountain Lion brings in native USB3.0 support, did any one try the seagate USB 3.0 upgrade cable package with express card adapter?

According to seagate KB (http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/217951en#13) ,The Express card Adapter would provide USB 2.0 speeds in OSX as there was no USB 3.0 support, but since now we have USB 3.0 support does the adapter work and give better speeds than before .

I know the limitations of Express card bandwidth, and that it cannot give full USB 3.0 speeds for PCI based express card but a USB 3.0 support means a definitely higher speed for my 1TB seagate GoFlex Freeagent HDD. eSATA does not work for my HDD sadly, but this hardware might work now that some drivers are available from Apple.

Update :@Jason SGuys I finally got a working USB 3.0 Express card based on ASM 1042 Controller for OSX and it works great with 1TB Seagate Goflex USB 3.0.Read my review of the same here - http://blog.indiandragon.in/2012/12/review-asmedia-1042-cheap-usb-30.html


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