Latest Forum Posts

Latest News Posts
Coming Soon!
Social
Go Back   Techgage.com > Archives > Reviews and Articles

Reviews and Articles Discussion for Techgage content is located here. Only staff can create topics, but everyone is welcome to post.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-28-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default Battle of the SATA 3.0 Controllers

With newer SSDs now coming well within 10% of maxing out a SATA 3.0 port, it's important to make sure that your motherboard is properly equipped to handle such drives if planning to buy one. In our testing, while AMD's and Intel's solutions offered superb performance, Marvell's leaved a bit (or a lot) to be desired.

Read through our look at the performance of AMD's, Intel's and Marvell's SATA 3.0 controllers and then discuss it here!
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 12:06 PM   #2
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default

Whoops, I did say that I'd put PCMark 7 break-down scores here, didn't I?

AMD A75
HDD Suite: 5283
Windows Defender: 5.51 MB/s
Importing Pictures: 28.05 MB/s
Video Editing: 23.17 MB/s
Windows Media Center: 8.24 MB/s
Adding Music: 1.40 MB/s
Starting Applications: 54.92 MB/s
Gaming: 16.72 MB/s

Intel Z68
HDD Suite: 5390
Windows Defender: 5.63 MB/s
Importing Pictures: 30.32 MB/s
Video Editing: 23.50 MB/s
Windows Media Center: 8.28 MB/s
Adding Music: 1.41 MB/s
Starting Applications: 54.28 MB/s
Gaming: 17.17 MB/s

Marvell 9172
HDD Suite: 5125
Windows Defender: 5.60 MB/s
Importing Pictures: 25.12 MB/s
Video Editing: 22.94 MB/s
Windows Media Center: 8.12 MB/s
Adding Music: 1.41 MB/s
Starting Applications: 49.06 MB/s
Gaming: 16.92 MB/s
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 07:41 PM   #3
Psi*
Tech Monkey
 
Psi*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westport, CT
Posts: 785
Default

I hope that I am not going to come across as being "thick", but do X58 m/bs have an inferior Marvell PCIe interface? If so and sort of related, this would also indicate that any PCIe adapter card on a PCIe 2.0 m/b would also be similarily throtteled.
__________________
Win 7 64 bit, ASUS P6X58D Premium i7-990 @ 4.5 GHz
24 GB CORSAIR DOMINATOR
NVIDIA Tesla M2090 + NVS 290, Seasonic X750
Swiftech Apogee XT block, Indigo Extreme TIM
Swiftech MCR220-QP Radiator, Eheim 1040 pump, 1/2" ID Tubing
Psi* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 08:25 PM   #4
Kougar
Techgage Staff
 
Kougar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,653
Default

Sigh... every time I can get happy with my old rig, something like this comes along and gives me a tangible reason for why I should upgrade. Rob, it's all your fault!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psi* View Post
I hope that I am not going to come across as being "thick", but do X58 m/bs have an inferior Marvell PCIe interface? If so and sort of related, this would also indicate that any PCIe adapter card on a PCIe 2.0 m/b would also be similarily throtteled.
Not at all, you don't learn if ya don't ask!

Unfortunately for us both, almost every X58 board that offers SATA 6Gbps does indeed use these inferior Marvell controllers. Remember that PCIe is measured in lanes, so any adapter card that was 1x would be bottlenecked, but most SATA 6Gbps cards available should be 4x wide.
__________________
Core i7 4770k 4.2Ghz
Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H
Crucial Ballistix Sport LP 1600MHz 32GB
EVGA GTX 480 HydroCopper FTW
ASUS Xonar DX
Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB | Windows 7 64-bit
Apogee XT + MCP655 & Thermochill Triple 140mm Radiator
Corsair AX1200 PSU | Cooler Master HAF-X


Last edited by Kougar; 08-29-2011 at 08:30 PM.
Kougar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 09:39 PM   #5
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default

I can't believe I forgot to give Robert (Kougar) a shout-out in the article; apologies man! Robert endured a barrage of questions from me over the course of literally eight hours or so sometime last week in order to make sure we had things straight for this article, so kudos for that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar
Unfortunately for us both, almost every X58 board that offers SATA 6Gbps does indeed use these inferior Marvell controllers. Remember that PCIe is measured in lanes, so any adapter card that was 1x would be bottlenecked, but most SATA 6Gbps cards available should be 4x wide.
It's unfortunate, that's for sure. One motherboard vendor mentioned to me that some of their boards had begun using ASMedia chipsets, so once I get a board that has one of those, I might re-run all of the testing, while also adding SATA 2.0 results into the mix, and some real-world tests.
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 10:04 PM   #6
marfig
No ROM battery
 
marfig's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 784
Default

Thanks both (Rob and Kougar) for this review.

Unfortunately, Marvell's is precisely the SATA 3.0 controller on my board. What's more disheartening, they don't offer software updates. My driver 1.0.0.10.42 is listed as current on Asus downloads and yet the date is from July 2010.

The performance differences are utterly dismaying. Not to imply it wouldn't still be great to have SATA 3 devices on my computer. But those numbers are like earlier version of Intel SATA 3 controllers.
__________________
NOX COOLBAY Side Window Black; NOX Apex 600w Modular; ASUS P7P55D-E Socket 1156, Sata 6Gb/s & USB 3.0;
Intel Quad Core i5 760 2.80 Ghz @ 3.60 Ghz, 8 Mb de cache; Gskill Ripjaws 4 Gb DDR3 1600 Mhz CL8 Dual Channel;
ASUS GEFORCE GTX 560 TI DC II 1024MB GDDR5; Samsung 1 Tb 32 Mb SpinPoint F3; NEC 24x Sata black
Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2;
2x Samsung SyncMaster S43NW 8000:1 (1440x900)
Logitech K120 Keyboard and Logitech Performance Mouse MX
marfig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 10:08 PM   #7
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig
Unfortunately, Marvell's is precisely the SATA 3.0 controller on my board. What's more disheartening, they don't offer software updates. My driver 1.0.0.10.42 is listed as current on Asus downloads and yet the date is from July 2010.
No kidding! I Googled for these different chipsets and have surmised that Marvell itself doesn't even list them on its website. To update a driver you have to take a chance with newer versions that float around the Web - but there's no telling if it's going to work ideally for you or not, since it wasn't built for YOUR motherboard (where vendor-specific tweaks might have made it into the driver).
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2011, 10:33 PM   #8
Psi*
Tech Monkey
 
Psi*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westport, CT
Posts: 785
Default

[QUOTE=Kougar;49587.
.
.
... but most SATA 6Gbps cards available should be 4x wide.[/QUOTE]Does such a card exist?
__________________
Win 7 64 bit, ASUS P6X58D Premium i7-990 @ 4.5 GHz
24 GB CORSAIR DOMINATOR
NVIDIA Tesla M2090 + NVS 290, Seasonic X750
Swiftech Apogee XT block, Indigo Extreme TIM
Swiftech MCR220-QP Radiator, Eheim 1040 pump, 1/2" ID Tubing
Psi* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2011, 02:42 AM   #9
Kougar
Techgage Staff
 
Kougar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,653
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psi* View Post
Does such a card exist?
Look for any PCI Express 4x cards. They will usually be found on 4+ SATA port cards...

Newegg seems to have a literal MOUNTAIN of 1x slot cards, incredible. They split them into Add On cards and RAID controllers, which makes it even worse...

Most of the suitable cards on Newegg are RAID cards. You can use them as just a controller card though, but they cost more. Such as this one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816115077

Or for the extreme situations, try Intel http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816117214
__________________
Core i7 4770k 4.2Ghz
Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H
Crucial Ballistix Sport LP 1600MHz 32GB
EVGA GTX 480 HydroCopper FTW
ASUS Xonar DX
Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB | Windows 7 64-bit
Apogee XT + MCP655 & Thermochill Triple 140mm Radiator
Corsair AX1200 PSU | Cooler Master HAF-X

Kougar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2011, 11:15 AM   #10
Psi*
Tech Monkey
 
Psi*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westport, CT
Posts: 785
Thumbs up

thanks Kougar. I had plowed thru Newegg before posting that question & it made no sense what so ever.
Psi* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2011, 01:12 PM   #11
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Or for the extreme situations, try Intel http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816117214
Is there nothing cheaper than that, like a poor-man's 2 port card or something? I searched around but couldn't find much. Newegg's search feature fails at times, and this is one of those times.

I mentioned to someone the other day that it's too bad Intel doesn't make its own controller cards, but lo and behold, it does. Still, no one will want to pay even $100 for a card that fixes a SATA 6Gb/s problem.
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-30-2011, 03:26 PM   #12
Psi*
Tech Monkey
 
Psi*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westport, CT
Posts: 785
Default

The right adapter card looks like it will be a serious investment.

Visiting HighPoint Technologies shows they are using the Marvell 88SE9128 ... is that what should be avoided??? It also appears that some of their controllers require a server board or one that can make room for the controller board's bios ... ASUS desktop boards might not be compatible in other words.
Psi* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011, 12:58 AM   #13
Kougar
Techgage Staff
 
Kougar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 2,653
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psi* View Post
The right adapter card looks like it will be a serious investment.

Visiting HighPoint Technologies shows they are using the Marvell 88SE9128 ... is that what should be avoided??? It also appears that some of their controllers require a server board or one that can make room for the controller board's bios ... ASUS desktop boards might not be compatible in other words.
Psi... it did not even occur to me to make sure they didn't use Marvell controllers, but you are indeed correct. Nice find That Highpoint RocketRAID card uses a Marvell controller that is circa-2009, meaning it actually predates the variants of the Marvell controller utilized on X58 and P67 motherboards... So I guess my first link is a dud after all! I suggest avoiding it like the plague.

I am no longer sure there IS an affordable solution for full SATA 6Gbps performance on an add-in card. Quality cards that meet all the requirements only seem to go as low as ~$300... Anything cheaper either isn't SATA 6Gbps compliant, or is PCIe 1x. Here's Intel's list of SATA/SAS/RAID controller cards.

Okay, I shall correct myself again. LSI appears to utilize a non-Marvell controller and does offer this controller card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816118114 As long as it allows users to select AHCI mode in the card's BIOS, then it should be a solid card. Without having personally used one I'm not 100% certain if it will allow this. How it handles pass-through commmands is important, because in RAID mode features like TRIM will be lost, so it is important to use AHCI with such a card if not using RAID.
__________________
Core i7 4770k 4.2Ghz
Gigabyte Z87X-UD5H
Crucial Ballistix Sport LP 1600MHz 32GB
EVGA GTX 480 HydroCopper FTW
ASUS Xonar DX
Corsair Neutron GTX 240GB | Windows 7 64-bit
Apogee XT + MCP655 & Thermochill Triple 140mm Radiator
Corsair AX1200 PSU | Cooler Master HAF-X


Last edited by Kougar; 08-31-2011 at 01:00 AM.
Kougar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011, 01:20 PM   #14
Rob Williams
Editor-in-Chief
 
Rob Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Atlantic Canada
Posts: 13,349
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kougar View Post
Okay, I shall correct myself again. LSI appears to utilize a non-Marvell controller and does offer this controller card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16816118114 As long as it allows users to select AHCI mode in the card's BIOS, then it should be a solid card. Without having personally used one I'm not 100% certain if it will allow this. How it handles pass-through commmands is important, because in RAID mode features like TRIM will be lost, so it is important to use AHCI with such a card if not using RAID.
$150 for a ONE port card? That is ridiculous! At that point one might as well just suck up the loss of performance on their Marvell chip and just prepare for their next full PC upgrade.
__________________
Intel Core i7-3960X, GIGABYTE G1.Assassin 2, Kingston 16GB DDR3-2133, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB
Kingston HyperX 3K 240GB SSD (OS, Apps), WD VR 1TB (Games), Corsair 1000HX, Corsair H70 Cooler
Corsair 800D, Dell 2408WFP 24", ASUS Xonar Essence STX, Gentoo (KDE 4.11. 3.12 Kernel)

"Take care to get what you like, or you will be forced to like what you get!" - H.P. Baxxter
<Toad772> I don't always drink alcohol, but when I do, I take it too far.


Rob Williams is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2011, 05:58 PM   #15
Psi*
Tech Monkey
 
Psi*'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westport, CT
Posts: 785
Default

One would really have to have a need for speed to make this jump. But if one did, I noticed this at Adaptec. A hybrid SSD + HDD RAID controller, 8 lane PCIe Gen2, 6Gb/s per port ... Newegg. And, coming with cables is apparently a bonus == $.

So if one were going to make the jump, this one gets my vote. My issue is that I would need 3 ... sooo I don't think so ... business is that good, so far.

Last edited by Psi*; 08-31-2011 at 06:02 PM.
Psi* is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
None

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
SandForce to Soon Launch SF-2000 Family of SSD Controllers Rob Williams Storage Devices and Memory 0 10-11-2010 01:00 PM
NZXT Has Numerous Chassis' En Route, New Fan Controllers Rob Williams General Hardware 5 06-04-2009 10:20 AM
Raid Controllers : Onboard VS PCI? Naish Storage Devices and Memory 5 07-04-2008 05:22 PM
Why do fancy fan controllers only control 4 fans?! NicePants42 Overclocking and Cooling 11 11-11-2007 06:51 PM
SATA Hard drive and SATA CD/DVD Burner Merlin General Hardware 23 05-25-2007 09:51 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:29 PM.