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Old 11-19-2009, 12:11 PM   #1
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Default Gigabyte's "333" Motherboards Bring S-ATA 3.0, USB 3.0 & 3x USB Power

From our front-page news:
Last week, Gigabyte held a press conference along with Marvell and Seagate to tout features with each of the respective company's new products. On the Seagate side, there was of course the Barracuda XT, the company's first drive to take advantage of the S-ATA 3.0 (6Gbp/s) spec. From Marvell was its SE9128 on-board chip, which is responsible for enabling S-ATA 3.0 on current Gigabyte motherboards that offer the support.

To coincide with the launch of both S-ATA 3.0 and USB 3.0, Gigabyte has relaunched a couple motherboards as revisions. To know if a board features these two technologies, you can simply look for the "A" addition in the model name. For example, the P55-UD6 becomes the P55A-UD6, and so on. Gigabyte calls the added technology on these boards the "333 Onboard Acceleration", where the "A" in "Acceleration" is the reason for the A in the model name.

The last of the three represents "USB Power 3x", which Gigabyte states is a unique feature at the current time. The 3x figure is literal, as in the slide below, you can see that the power output is indeed triple. The reason the company added this was because it will help negate the requirement of a power adapter for certain peripherals, such as external hard drives. It's really hard at this point to understand just how unique this particular feature is, but once such high-powered USB 3.0 devices hit the market, testing will need to be done. You can be sure that if this is indeed as useful as Gigabyte says it is, then other companies won't take long to follow.


Along with mentions of these technologies, Gigabyte included some light performance data as well, to help us gain a basic understanding of the improvements that can be seen. On the USB 3.0 front, and seen below, a massive 25GB HD movie would take only 70 seconds to transfer onto a perfect USB 3.0 storage device, down from 13.9 minutes on USB 2.0. Note that if this isn't theoretical, it's based on the best possible speeds out there, because 25GB in 70s equals 357MB/s, which current consumer SSDs can't even manage.

Of course, the presentation given wouldn't be complete without some S-ATA 3.0 benchmark results, and those are as we expected, "nice". The differences between S-ATA 2.0 and 3.0 aren't staggering on current-gen devices, but things should improve when even faster SSDs get out here, or HDDs with lower latencies. On a similar drive, a S-ATA 2.0 drive hit a burst speed of 223MB/s, while on S-ATA 3.0, the drive hit 298MB/s. We also see boosts of 9.5% on the average read and 9.7% on the average write. Again, not major, but certainly not worthy of complaint, either.

Motherboard vendor support for both S-ATA 3.0 and USB 3.0 has been great so far, so now it's just a matter of waiting for the respective devices to launch so we can take full advantage of what's given to us. It's kind of a weird situation to be in, because both of these technologies are so fast, that the products to take full advantage just don't seem to exist, at least not on the consumer side. Hopefully that means that USB 3.0 will enjoy a full life like USB 2.0 had.

Source: Gigabyte 333 Onboard Acceleration
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:31 PM   #2
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Just the P55 chipset, I wonder when X58 chipset boards will come out.

I think this also encourages test methods of "channel" performance. Distinguishing the channel as the means of connection to the peripheral as opposed to the peripheral device's performance.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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Gigabyte announced the X58A-UD7, which has this feature. That's a high-end board though... I'm not sure about the regular X58 offerings. I'll look into it...
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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ASUS said it has the "P6X58D Premium" coming out, which will be its first X58 to support both USB 3.0 and S-ATA 3.0. That's the good news... the bad news is that it's going to cost $309. I was also told that the company saw no reason to support those two technologies on lesser-expensive boards, because it might hurt sales of P55 boards.

Still, given there are $150 P55 offerings that give the latest support for these technologies, I was hoping for a $200 X58 option. Given that Gigabyte just released a high-end X58 board as well, I have a feeling its sentiments would match ASUS'.
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:33 PM   #5
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Good info about other offerings or soon so.

I have to admit that I wonder what to do 6 or 8 USB ports anyway. I once had a Sony digital video camera & the firewire connection was great for streaming video in to the HD. And, that was on a notebook. So now we have firewire, faster than fast USB, AND e-SATA 3.0 ... and next year I will have a hexa-core CPU. WOW. Who needs a life outside of this? Seriously I am a gadget freek & I can't wait for woot USB peripherals to start catching up to all of this. I also have a ham license. The possibilities are quite mind boggling ... I need to invent some things ... just *a* something would be great.
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:19 PM   #6
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I am probably expected by my customers to figure out and/or know this stuff ... but sometimes my brain is frazzled & just like to ask. Can PCIe or even PCI support expansion cards that (in the future since none exist at the moment) will be able to support USB 3 and/or SATA 3 ??? Is PCIe/PCI fast enough is the question?
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Old 11-22-2009, 01:56 PM   #7
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I am not sure about a PCI expansion card, since the overall bandwidth limitation is slower than what USB 3.0/S-ATA 3.0 top out at, but PCI-E expansion cards are just fine. Believe it or not, some of the "budget" implementations of S-ATA 3.0 (don't think it applies to USB 3.0) involve using the PCI-E bus rather than separate chips (which are more costly). If you use S-ATA 3.0 drive, it cuts down the primary PCI-E lane from 16x to 8x.

On an X58, because the chip supports 2x PCI-E 16x, there's no real performance degradation, but there is the remote possibility that GPU performance might be affected on P55 boards if you're using a very high-end card. I am not sure if single GPU cards have a chance of saturating it, but dual-GPU cards might see a decrease in performance. I have S-ATA 3.0 boards here, but sadly no capable hard drives to test it out.
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