1. Home
  2. Buying Guides

4 Best USB-C Expansion Cards for Linux (Reviews) in 2021

If you’re in the market for a USB-C expansion card for your Linux PC but can’t figure out what to buy, you’re not alone. There are so many USB-C expansion cards for sale these days it is hard to tell what is good and what isn’t.

We’ll go over the 4 best USB-C expansion cards to use on your Linux PC in this list. Hopefully, this list will help you make an informed decision on your purchase.

Best Linux USB-C Expansion Cards

USB-C expansion cards on Linux

USB-C expansion cards are relatively new compared to older USB 3 and 2 expansion cards. As a result, some USB-C expansion cards might not be compatible with specific versions of Linux, especially those on older Linux kernels.

We’ve done our best to sort out the best USB-C expansion cards out there in this list. Ones that should work on a majority of Linux OSes with no issue.

Best USB-C expansion cards for Linux

Here are our picks for the best USB-C expansion cards for Linux!

1. Sonnet Allegro USB-C 4-Port PCIe (USB3C-4PM-E)

The Sonnet Allegro USB-C expansion card is the one to get, bar none. It’s one of the few USB-C expansion cards with more than 2 ports out there right now, and that’ can’t be understated. It’s tough to find a card with more than just two ports, for some reason. However, the ports aren’t the only draw. It also has some impressive specs like 10 Gbps data transfer speed, SSD raid support, and much more.

If you’re in the market for a good USB-C expansion card to use on Linux and you can afford to spend a little bit, take a look at the Sonnet Allegro USB-C expansion card. You won’t regret it!

Pros

  • Compatibility with Linux out of the box, no need to install any drivers or anything of the sort.
  • The Sonnet Allegro USB-C is one of few USB-C PCIe hubs on the market that offers users 4 ports instead of 2. Having 4 ports is very handy and will allow users to use more devices simultaneously over USB-C.
  • All USB-C ports are powered, and no need to plug in an external power source.
  • The device is optimized for Thunderbolt devices and even supports things like SSDs and SSD raids over USB-C.
  • Blistering fast data transfer rates at up to 4x faster than USB 3.1.

Cons

  • A tad on the expensive side, and no low-profile bracket.

2. PCI-E Card YEELIYA USB 3.1Gen 2 (10Gbps)

Out of all of the 2 port PCI USB-C expansion cards, the YEELIYA card comes out on top. The reason? The manufacturer doesn’t waffle on Linux support. It flat out works, and that’s that. No special circumstances need to be met. It also has pretty good specs, such as USB 3.1 and 2.0 device support, fast data transfer speeds, support for hot-swapping, and more for a reasonable price.

Those in the market for a USB-C expansion card should give the YEELIYA expansion card a look over, especially if you’re on a budget.

Pros

  • It supports all USB 3.1 and 2.0 devices (provided the user has the appropriate adapter) and comes with a low-profile bracket.
  • Works on Linux out of the box without any need for a third-party driver.
  • Has support for device hot-swapping, which will make it easier to insert and remove devices on the fly.
  • Impressive data transfer speed coming in at about 10 Gbps, much faster than USB 3.1 or 2.0.

Cons

  • The expansion card only has 2 ports to work with.

3. LTERIVER PCI Express USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C 

Coming in at number 3 on our list of the best USB-C expansion cards is the LTERIVER PCI Express. It is an affordable, high-speed USB-C expansion card that will work on Linux (though the manufacturer will not offer official tech support). It has impressive features such as a data transfer speed that can hit 16 Gpbs, supports USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices, and much more.

The LTERIVER PCI Express USB-C expansion card is very affordable and does work pretty well on most Linux operating systems. If you can get past the fact that the manufacturer won’t offer official tech support, it is worth checking out.

Pros

  • Speedy data transfer at 10 Gbps (standard for USB-C) but can do a total of 16 Gbps max.
  • The device is entirely powered by the motherboard when plugged in over PCIe, and there is no need to plug in an external power source.
  • It comes with Linux support via the manufacturer and should work out of the box thanks to the Linux kernel’s stellar driver updates.
  • The device is compatible with USB 3.1 and 2.0 devices as long as the user has the correct adapter and comes with a low-profile bracket.

Cons

  • The manufacturer will not commit to supporting Linux users and claims that the user is “on their own” due to how often the Linux kernel is updated.
  • Only two ports.

4. FebSmart 2X 10Gbps USB-C Ports PCIE USB 3.1 Gen 2

The FebSmart 2X is another excellent 2-port USB-C expansion card that works pretty well with Linux (for the most part.) Like many other expansion cards out there, the FebSmart 2X delivers very fast data transfer speeds at 10 Gpbs. However, it can go as high as 16 Gbps. It also has other excellent features, such as support for USB 3.1 and 2.0 devices, and much more.

If you’re in the market for an excellent USB-C expansion card and don’t mind the partial Linux support, the FebSmart 2X is a great device and is worth picking up.

Pros

  • It is backward compatible with a wide variety of USB 3.1 and USB 2.0 devices as long as the user has a USB to USB-C adapter present.
  • The device can transfer data at speeds of 10 Gbps and going as fast as 16 Gbps.
  • Works out of the box on Linux, and the manufacturer claims it should work on the most “mainstream kernel.”
  • It comes with a low-profile PCIe bracket to save space inside of your PC.

Cons

  • It only comes with two ports on the back. 
  • The manufacturer supports Linux, but only “mainstream versions,” which could exclude users on Linux operating systems that don’t update quickly.

Conclusion

In this list, we went over the 4 best USB-C expansion cards for Linux.  However, new USB-C expansion cards are coming out all the time.

So tell us, what USB-C expansion card do you use on your Linux PC? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.