The storage company has announced the availability of a free USB 3.0 driver for Mac OS, which, when installed and used in conjunction with a USB 3.0 expansion card, gives users full USB 3.0 compatibility.
USB 3.0 has a theoretical peak speed of 5 gigabits per second (Gbps), but in real world tests LaCie says it registered speeds of up to 130 megabytes per second (MBps) for single hard drives and 220 MBps for dual hard drives. By comparison, USB 2.0 has a theoretical maximum of 480 megabits per second (mbps) and FireWire 800 tops out at 800 mbps. As always, real-world speeds can vary depending on the task and hardware.
To enjoy the benefits of USB 3.0, you’ll need a USB 3.0 PCI Express Card ($50) or a USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 ($60) and a compatible Mac Pro or MacBook Pro running OS X 10.5 or later. And, of course, you’ll need a USB 3.0-compatible hard drive, which LaCie also sells.