Lexar has released a new super-fast memory card reader exclusively for CFexpress Type B cards. Its big selling point is its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface, which enables transfer speeds up to twice as fast as a USB 3.2 Gen 2 card reader. That might just sound like marketing hyperbole, but in the case of the best CFexpress cards (opens in new tab), you really do need that extra data bandwidth to exploit their maximum read/write speeds.
Thanks to its new super-fast USB connection, the Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader boasts read speeds of up to 1700MB/s - enough to genuinely max out a CFexpress type B card in a way almost no other reader can. Included with the reader is a 30cm 2-in-1 USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable, as well as a USB Type-C to Type-C cable.
But hold up! There's just one, rather large, problem here. While this card reader may be USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 capable, chances are your computer is not. Currently there are only a handful of desktop PC motherboards which support this USB variant, and your only other option is to purchase a specialist - and uncommon - PCI Express add-in board in order to add a pair of USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 ports to your existing PC tower.
You can of course connect this card reader to a much more commonplace USB 3.2 Gen 2 port, but then the reader will operate at Gen 2 speeds, so you loose any speed advantage.
The only other 'solution' is to connect to a USB 4 port, as featured on the latest Apple M1 Mac computers, or a few of the latest high-end PCs. This is because USB 4 is backward-compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (and all other versions of USB 3). But this begs the question: why didn't Lexar simply make a USB 4 card reader in the first place, instead of the soon-to-be-obsolete final revision of USB 3?
And in case you're now totally confused about the infuriatingly and needlessly complicated USB 3.x naming system, don't worry, so are we! So here's a handy table to help us all out:
|Current name||Previously called||Speed (theoretical max)|
|USB 4||N/A||40Gbps (5000MB/s)|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2x2||N/A||20Gbps (2500MB/s)|
|USB 3.2 Gen 2||USB 3.1 Gen 2, USB 3.1||10Gbps (1250MB/s)|
|USB 3.2 Gen 1||USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.0||5Gbps (625MB/s)|
The Lexar Professional CFexpress Type B USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Reader is available to buy now from B&H (opens in new tab) in the US, priced at $69.99.
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