Silverstone is a company that is known for providing high quality merchandise to support your computing needs. From cases and power supplies to peripherals and NAS solutions, Silverstone makes products to increase performance and expand storage. Despite being less than a decade old, Silverstone has made a mark for itself, especially in the high end case and power markets.
Today, we look one of their peripheral offerings – a PCI Express expansion card that provides a internal 19 pin USB 3.0 header. The SST-EC03, or simply EC03, is a small PCI Express 1x lane device that adds USB 3.0 connectivity to an older PC, or expands the number of USB 3.0 ports for newer systems that have it already. It also includes a mounting panel that will fit in a 3.5” external front bay.
The EC03 uses the new Renesas D720200AF1 controller. Similar in most ways to the D720200F controller found on many motherboards with NEC USB 3.0, the new version of the chip provides improved idle mode power saving features, and consumes only 20% of the power required by the older chip.
Unlike many other PCI-E devices, the EC03 uses a 4 pin peripheral connector for power. This allows the elimination of power rectifiers, thus decreasing cost and increasing efficiency. However, it also means running one more wire across the interior of one’s case, something many enthusiasts may not be keen on doing.