So, I've just learned that there's a piece of equipment that's being used in common, everyday laptops that I just can't figure out how to procure and use in my desktop: an "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller".
The use case is copying pictures off of an SD card from my camera. I've started using Transcend UHS-1 SD cards:http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-Speed-Class-Memory-TS32GSDHC10U1E/dp/B008CVHLT2/
While my camera may or may not be capable of using the UHS-1 speed of this card, I'd like the "copy the pictures off" step to be as full speed as possible.
While on a trip, I'd use my laptop's built in SD card reader to copy pictures. I was very pleased with the speed: it was clearly faster than older cards. When I returned home, I used this, attached to an ASRock Z87 Haswell mobo (so, Intel USB controller):http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-Super-Multi-Card-Reader-TS-RDF8K/dp/B0056TYRMW
I also tried this using an ANKER Y-3201 reader, also from Amazon, but it actually had worse performance characteristics than the Transcend reader.
The copying process using this card reader wasn't as "smooth" as it was with the laptop. Windows didn't get the estimated time right, the rate seemed to go up/down, the whole process took longer, etc. I even tried plugging the reader into the USB ports on the back of the case, on the mobo, rather than using the ASRock supplied front case ports, but it didn't make any difference.
So, I broke out the ATTO Disk Benchmark. I know it probably isn't perfect, but it shows what is happening here.
Here is the result on the laptop:
And here is the result on the USB 3.0 Transcend reader:
While both end _up_ at the similar speeds, the laptop is much
faster with the smaller smaller size reads/writes. And while you'd think
that, since I'm copying large .jpg and .cr2 and movie files, I'd just be copying large files, and the high speeds would be prevalent, the slow speeds with the smaller data sizes really seem to be affecting the whole process.
So, I did a bit of digging. I had assumed that the SD card reader would just have been a USB device in the laptop, but it wasn't. It is identified as an "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller". I can't find much information about such devices. There appear to be a couple of them made, one by Ricoh, and one by O2Micro. I haven't found any
available for sale.
Does anyone know of any way to get a "SDA Standard Compliant SD Host Controller" device that can be installed in the front panel of a tower case?
The only other thought I had was an ExpressCard, with a front-panel ExpressCard slot, but those seem to be getting scarce as well.
Anyways, I was just curious because these SD Host Controllers were something I really didn't know existed, and don't know how to buy, and I'd really like this file copy process to be as fast/reliable as possible.