December 2, 2019 | 00:00
Gigabyte has introduced what's considered to be the world's first PCIe expansion card for USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports.
Providing a total throughput of 20Gbps, the board adds a single Gen 2x2-capable USB-C port to your system. The card is based on the ASMedia ASM3242 host controller which allows for data transfer rates of up to 20Gbps, providing you use it with compatible devices.
The same controller is used on various AMD TRX40-based motherboards so it seems very likely that it'll soon be used on other cards and motherboards, and subsequently standardised. The PCIe card doesn't require an additional power plug, solely relying on its PCIe 3.0 x4 slot to draw power.
In case you've fallen behind slightly on USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, it's the rather unwieldy name for the new and latest USB specification. It has twice the bandwidth of the previous generation of USB 3.2 while still providing backward compatibility with USB 2.0/3.0/3.1. It works by using two high-speed USB Type-C Tx/Rx channels to achieve the maximum throughput speed. It replaces USB 3.2 as the fastest of the USB standards, despite USB 3.2 only coming about in 2017.
Essentially, this expansion card is aimed at those who want to future-proof and don't want to replace their current motherboard for the sake of an extra USB-C port. Although, obviously, you might not be keen on giving up a precious PCIe slot unless you have ambitious plans when it comes to USB-C connectivity.
It's early days for the technology but in theory, it should lead to a lower-cost option for those that require high-speed performance. Thunderbolt 3 is faster for now at 40Gbps but it's also much more expensive when it comes to the devices it requires, as well as the cables involved. USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 relies on standard Gen 2 USB-C cables which makes it much more accessible.
For now, it's a relatively cautious beginning for Gigabyte's plans with a launch comprising of a mere 100 units. Unsurprisingly, those have already sold out but Gigabyte promises the next batch will be released shortly. Due to such limited stock, no official pricing has yet to be confirmed.
April 3 2020 | 14:09