|Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Thursday, 25 February 2010|
Page 13 of 17
HD-Tune Pro Benchmarks
HD-Tune Pro is a benchmark designed for testing many different aspects of a storage device. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the Crucial RealSSD-C300 SATA 6Gb/s Solid State Drive and Crucial M225 CT128M225 SATA-3Gbps SSD on four different storage controllers. The Gigabyte EX58-UD4P utilizes the Intel ICH10R storage controller, and operates as our point of reference for the others. Gigabyte's X58A-UD7 includes the Marvell SE9128 SATA 6Gb/s controller, while ASUS adds the Marvell SE9123 SATA-6G controller chip to their product. Tested on the Gigabyte EX58-UD4P, the PCI-Express 2.0-based HighPoint Rocket 620LF SATA 6Gb/s controller card also utilizes the Marvell SE9128 controller.
Our test results were obtained after each SSD had been prepared using the DISKPART program with the "clean all" command. Because performance will degrade after write-to operations, even in the presence of Garbage Collection and TRIM support, Benchmark Reviews utilized read-from tests for our performance benchmarks. Intensive read and write benchmark testing is appropriate for our Storage Device Reviews, but for this article the purpose is to illustrate top-end performance.
Since the Marvell SE91xx series of third-generation SATA controllers is still rather new to market, firmware and driver updates occur almost weekly. Benchmark Reviews originally tested each of these storage controllers with their out-of-the-box firmware, and in every test the ASUS P6X58D-Premium produced results there were 25 MB/s faster than the other motherboards. After we received the Marvell Magni Firmware 126.96.36.1990, performance results were much more level across the board.
Beginning with the second-generation SATA Solid State Drive attached to the EX58-UD4P to produce a reference score, the Intel ICH10 controller and M225 delivered a 198 Mb/s average read speed with 218 MB/s peak performance. Using the same M225 SSD on the other motherboards, Gigabyte's X58A-UD7 uses the SE9128 to produce 206/226 while the ASUS P6X58D-Premium uses the Marvell SE9123 chip to deliver 202-226 Mb/s. The add-in HighPoint Rocket 620LF delivered 200/222 using an integrated Marvell SE9128 chip.
Switching to the third-generation SATA-6G compatible Crucial RealSSD C300 Solid State Drive, the 222/223 MB/s reference score produced with a SATA-3G Intel controller becomes obsolete. The Crucial C300 SSD performed at 305/313 on the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 motherboard, which was matched by the ASUS P6X58D-Premium and HighPoint Rocket 620LF add-in card. As firmware is updated, it becomes increasingly likely that performance will change as well.
Random Access tests are divided into 512b, 4KB, 64KB, 1MB and random size test files sizes. The Random Access test measures the performance of random read or write operations. The amount of data which will be read varies from 512 bytes to 1 MB. Performance is reported in operations per second (IOPS), average access time, and average speed. Benchmark Reviews has focused only on 4KB transfer size IOPS read performance for this article.
Read IOPS performance was very similar among all SATA controllers when testing the Crucial M225 SSD, with the Intel ICH10 producing an average score of 6942. The RAID-capable Marvell SE9128-equipped Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 delivered nearly 5% better performance than Intel's ICH10 controller and was nearly identical to the SE9128-equipped HighPoint add-in card, while the ASUS P6X58D-Premium also produced matching read-from IOPS performance.
Using the SATA-6G Crucial C300 SSD for testing, the Intel ICH10 controller reported an average of 7147 read-IOPS performance. Gigabyte's X58A-UD7 produced 7999 for a 12% boost in performance, which the HighPoint PCI-E card and ASUS P6X58D-Premium set pace with.
All Marvell SE9123/SE9128 SATA 6Gb/s controllers are limited to 5.0Gbps by the PCI-Express bandwidth, regardless of motherboard manufacturer. Ultimately these Marvell-based controllers all depend on driver and firmware improvements to deliver increased performance and improved stability, and the company to offer the most up-to-date software will be in the best position. Watch for software updates to be available directly from the Gigabyte product website to ensure optimal speeds.