Can this be used with an older Macbook Pro early 2011) which only has USB 2.0 ports to begin with?

Have an early 2011 Macbook Pro, which came with Thunderbolt, Firewire 800 and USB 2.0 ports. I have a USB 3.0 external HDD, and would like to not lose the extra speed of the drive when using it with the laptop.

Since this comes with a USB 3.,0 port on the adapter, and it's connected to Thunderbolt, will I be able to enjoy the higher USB 3 speeds? (Yes, I realize I won't be able to use the Thunderbolt's uber high speed since the device wasn't made for that).

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    Yes, I was using it on the same machine. I was able to boot from the external drive as well.

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