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Can the slow SD card reader be replaced with a USB3.0 one?

I was very disappointed when I found out the SD card reader of my new MBA is limited to USB 2.0 speed even though it is capable of SDXC cards and connected to a USB 3.0 host.

I wanted to use it as a small and faster-than-USB2 memory expansion, and don't understand why Apple couldn't upgrade to a model capable of USB 3.0 speed.

Is there any way to replace the card reader to a faster model that can benefit from the USB 3.0 host?

Thanks in advance!

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NO - the component is part of the logic board, changing logic board components is not really a DIY task.

While benchmarks ReadyBoost do show that it improves performance somewhat in many, if not most, circumstances not near as much as just adding RAM to the system.

When compared to the high cost of flash RAM, adding internal memory is usually much more cost-effective and will overall result in higher performance gains. So a ReadyBoost-like feature in Mac OS X probably isn't in development.

The only apparently significant advantage of ReadyBoost-type technology is the ability to connect a flash drive to a system you don't own where you cannot add internal memory.

IMnsHO if this is a laptop you own the most logical plan would be to purchase a new laptop with enough internal RAM to accomplish whatever it is you wish to achieve.

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If he just needs a semi-permanent storage device, I saw some USB2.0 solutions with a Card Reader and an USB Hub, and I own one myself, that I use in office.

Maybe they'll make something like that for USB 3.0 devices too.


I'm neither looking for additional RAM, nor am I looking for some ReadyBoost-like stuff. All I want is some affordable, reasonably fast additional disk space. I do own an external hard disk, but travelling by train and having the HDD hop around isn't that great.. It would be just perfect to use SDXC cards - at the native speed they could provide...


The newer MacBook Retina has both a SDXC reader and USB 3.0 ports. Sorry to say your out of luck here as the USB port on your current system is only 2.0 and can't be upgraded to 3.0 (both the driver circuit & the physical port are different with USB 3.0). - Putting a USB 3.0 device on a USB 1.1/2.0 port won't change anything (you'll need to use a 1.1/2.0 cable to even connect the two as a 3.0 cable won't fit the 1.1/2.0 port)


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I have the same problem and your information about the speed difference between the USB3 port and the SD card slot was very good. I am now thinking of using as a solution, it has at least 130MB/s reading speed. I will also see if I can install Windows 8.1 with Boot Camp on such drive.

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