|Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing|
|Articles - Featured Guides|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Monday, 22 December 2008|
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Intel ICH10R SATA Controller
EDITOR'S NOTE: ATTO Disk Benchmark offers basic bandwidth speed results at a low queue depth, and more recent versions now offers broader test settings. ATTO Disk Benchmark uses buffered spot samples, therefore NAND wear conditions on segments tested may impact performance results.
The Intel I/O Controller Hub (ICH) Southbridge has been around for decades, literally. Early into 2003 the ICH5 chip added support for SATA drives, which became native on all 8xx series motherboards going forward. To this day, the Intel ICH is still the leading SATA drive controller among desktop computer systems.
In late 2007, when Solid State Drive (SSD) products were first reaching the retail market, it was discovered that Intel ICH9 chips exhibited a strange behavior when connected to SSD products. As a result, many large review websites, Benchmark Reviews included (but not so large, I add with a frown), used one of the other SATA controller chips for our testing. Because my test platform at the time was a Gigabyte X48 motherboard, Benchmark Reviews tested with the JMicron JMB363 chip.
Since the launch of Intel's Core i7 CPU & X58 Platform, which continues to use the ICH10 and ICH10R Southbridge introduced with the P45-Express chipset, Benchmark Reviews has adopted this platform for SSD testing. But the big question remains: can the Intel ICH perform well when a Solid State Drive is attached? The answer is yes, but the details still say no.
As a small example, illustrated below are two tests of the same SSD but on two different SATA controllers. The first example is the Mtron MOBI 3500 on the Intel ICH10R chipset, which comes on our Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME test platform. The Intel ICH10R offers a final transfer rate of 102.4 MBps write, and 103.6 read, for the MSD-SATA3535 SSD.
Connecting the same Mtron MOBI 3500 to the JMicron JMB322 controller yields a different result, however. While the transfer speed for write-to bandwidth ever-so-slightly improves from 102.4 to 103.1, the JMicron controller loses almost 4 MBps in the read performance. Not very big differences I'll admit, but evident none the less.
So is this a trend we'll see more of? You'll soon see, as Benchmark Reviews has taken several samples to compare. But by the end of this article, the decision still may not be so clear, and a 'winner' may be like choosing presidential candidates.
Before we reach a conclusion though, let's peek at how JMicron chips compare.