Introduction

A quality, easy to use, and fast flash memory card reader is an essential tool for both the professional and hobbyist photographer.  The variety in choices is huge, but knowing which one to purchase can be difficult.  I reviewed a fast Internal SATA CD Card Reader previously.  There are a lot of specifications to read, and not all card readers work as advertised.  A “USB 3.0 Superspeed” label does not guarantee fast speeds or even flawless compatibility.  Some think buying a name brand or the most expensive model gives them the best chance of getting a solid product.  In reality, there is no substitute for a thorough review when it comes to card readers.

 

If you carefully read the fine print with USB 3.0 card readers you’ll see there is a variety of ways for them to connect to the USB port of your motherboard (assuming it’s an internal card reader which we’ll be reviewing here), from USB 3.0 leaders to be routed out the back of your case, to a 20 pin double header  connector that plugs into certain motherboards.  You’ll also find that the auxiliary USB 3.0 port so common on such card readers is the only actual USB 3.0 speed port.  The card reader portion is often listed in fine print as USB 2.0.

 

If you carefully read the fine print with USB 3.0 card readers you’ll see there is a variety of ways for them to connect to the USB port of your motherboard (assuming it’s an internal card reader which we’ll be reviewing here), from USB 3.0 leaders to be routed out the back of your case, to a 20 pin double header connector that plugs into certain motherboards.  You’ll also find that the auxiliary USB 3.0 port so common on such card readers is the only actual USB 3.0 speed port.  The card reader portion is often listed in fine print as USB 2.0.

With all this considered I set out to find a high quality internal USB 3.0 card reader natively supported in Windows 7 so no additional drivers would be needed and I wanted it to have true USB 3.0 speeds both in the USB 3.0 port and the card reader itself.  When I say “high quality” in reference to a card reader I mean the card reader must be well made and the card slots precisely sized so you won’t accidently bend a pin.

 

With all this considered I set out to find a high quality internal USB 3.0 card reader natively supported in Windows 7 so no additional drivers would be needed and I wanted it to have true USB 3.0 speeds both in the USB 3.0 port and the card reader itself.  When I say “high quality” in reference to a card reader I mean the card reader must be well made and the card slots precisely sized so you won’t accidently bend a pin.

 

Koutech RCM630 USB 3.0 Internal Card Reader

I’d never heard of the Koutech brand before, but when I researched their website I found they’ve been in business for decades and make a variety of products including several USB 3.0 internal card readers.   I decided on the RCM630 model because I liked the idea of running the two cables from the card reader out the back of the case to the only two USB 3.0 ports on my older Gigabyte motherboard, thereby bringing a USB 3.0 port to the front of my case along with the card reader itself.  I also chose this card reader for our recent Day Trader PC Build  and was very pleased with it’s performance.  But now that I have another mounted in my own case I was able to run and test it for a longer period.

 

I’d never heard of the Koutech brand before, but when I researched their website I found they’ve been in business for decades and make a variety of products including several USB 3.0 internal card readers.   I decided on the RCM630 model because I liked the idea of running the two cables from the card reader out the back of the case to the only two USB 3.0 ports on my older Gigabyte motherboard, thereby bringing a USB 3.0 port to the front of my case along with the card reader itself.  I also chose this card reader for our recent Day Trader PC Build and was very pleased with it’s performance.  But now that I have another mounted in my own case I was able to run and test it for a longer period.

 

The box contained the card reader, a disk with drivers and utilities, mounting screws, and instructions.  There was also a back plane insert to bring the cables out the rear of the case to your back panel connectors.  This card reader supports CF, SD, XD, SDXC, MMC, MicroSD, MD’s, and other popular memory cards.  Most photographers are only concerned with the first three, CF, SD, and XD for some popular compacts.

 

The box contained the card reader, a disk with drivers and utilities, mounting screws, and instructions.  There was also a back plane insert to bring the cables out the rear of the case to your back panel connectors.  This card reader supports CF, SD, XD, SDXC, MMC, MicroSD, MD’s, and other popular memory cards.  Most photographers are only concerned with the first three, CF, SD, and XD for some popular compacts.

 

Installation

Installation is straight forward.  You’ll need to mount it in a 3.5” bay, or use a 5.25 to 3.5 inch adapter bay and mount it in a 5.25 inch bay in your case.  Once you have the card reader screwed into the adapter you then screw it into the case and route the cables out the back using existing grommets  in the case itself, or using the provided back plane adapter.

 

Installation is straight forward.  You’ll need to mount it in a 3.5” bay, or use a 5.25 to 3.5 inch adapter bay and mount it in a 5.25 inch bay in your case.  Once you have the card reader screwed into the adapter you then screw it into the case and route the cables out the back using existing grommets  in the case itself, or using the provided back plane adapter.

 

Once the cables exit the rear of the case you only need to plug them into the back USB 3.0 ports.  If your motherboard has an internal USB 3.0 20 pin double header then you can use Lian-li’s UC-01 Converter A Type Adapter and connect the cables inside the case.

 

Once the cables exit the rear of the case you only need to plug them into the back USB 3.0 ports.  If your motherboard has an internal USB 3.0 20 pin double header then you can use Lian-li’s UC-01 Converter A Type Adapter and connect the cables inside the case.

 

Next, boot your machine normally and Windows 7 will automatically install a suitable driver and then ask you to reboot once more.  The disk that comes with the Koutech RCM630 has a CD with drivers, but you won’t need it.

 

Performance

Performance is great.  I’ve used it extensively over the last few weeks and it always, 100% of the time, recognized my flash memory cards, and it would download my images at the full rated speed of the card.  Some of my cards download at 90mbps, others at only 15mbps. 

 

Performance is great.  I’ve used it extensively over the last few weeks and it always, 100% of the time, recognized my flash memory cards, and it would download my images at the full rated speed of the card.  Some of my cards download at 90mbps, others at only 15mbps.

 

The USB 3.0 port itself works exactly like the USB 3.0 port it connects to on the back panel.  Electronically it’s exactly the same port.  I’ve ran several USB 3.0 external drivers with this port and they all work as they should.  It’s very convenient to have the USB 3.0 port on the front panel.

 

The USB 3.0 port itself works exactly like the USB 3.0 port it connects to on the back panel.  Electronically it’s exactly the same port.  I’ve ran several USB 3.0 external drivers with this port and they all work as they should.  It’s very convenient to have the USB 3.0 port on the front panel.

 

 

Summary

Six to eight months ago there were zero internal USB 3.0 flash memory readers available which is why I was excited to finally find the Lian-li CR-CF01 SATA CF Card Reader.  Still, these were specialist items and not well trusted because of the nature of hot baying SATA ports.  We were all waiting for an USB 3.0 card reader and now we have a fairly wide selection to choose from.  Having held more than half of these in my hands and personally test driving half of those, I feel very comfortable in recommending the Koutech RCM630 USB 3.0 Internal Card Reader.   The price is downright inexpensive at $32, installation is standard and very easy, no extra drivers are needed, performance maxes out all of my flash memory cards, and it’s absolutely reliable over and over again.  What more could you want?

 

Six to eight months ago there were zero internal USB 3.0 flash memory readers available which is why I was excited to finally find the Lian-li CR-CF01 SATA CF Card Reader.  Still, these were specialist items and not well trusted because of the nature of hot baying SATA ports.  We were all waiting for an USB 3.0 card reader and now we have a fairly wide selection to choose from.  Having held more than half of these in my hands and personally test driving half of those, I feel very comfortable in recommending the Koutech RCM630 USB 3.0 Internal Card Reader.   The price is downright inexpensive at $32, installation is standard and very easy, no extra drivers are needed, performance maxes out all of my flash memory cards, and it’s absolutely reliable over and over again.  What more could you want?