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ASUS P7P55D-E PRO VS ASUS P7P55D PRO + U3S6 addon card

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November 11, 2009 8:54:50 PM

Hi,

Recently, I just saw what's believe to be a new P7P55D-E motherboard that had just been released by ASUS and it was ASUS P7P55D-E PRO which is a good alternative to P7P55D PRO + U3S6 addon card and it also cost much cheaper than P7P55D-E Premium. :bounce: 

http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=T2FxW2fXGZQgSn2V&...

The question is if I need a USB 3.0 and SATA 3 capable motherboard, should I go with P7P55D-E Pro with an onboard USB 3.0-Sata 3 support (onboard U3S6 card) or should I better go with P7P55D Pro motherboard and then add a $30 addon PCIe U3S6 card??? :??: 

Is an onboard USB 3.0-SATA 3 support of P7P55D-E motherboards the same as an addon U3S6 card for P7P55D motherboards?

Which of these 2 solutions are the best?

I also heard that Gigabyte was having problem with its recent GA-P55A series motherboards such as the bottleneck of single PCIe x16 slot to x8 mode and the Crossfire/SLI is disabled especially when the user enabled the USB 3.0 and SATA 3 features. :ouch: 

So, would the ASUS P7P55D-E PRO would encounter the same problem as Gigabyte GA-P55A motherboards do??? :o 


Thanks.
November 13, 2009 4:23:15 PM

Wow! Still no reply... :ouch: 

Hmmmm... I thought that this is going to be an interesting thread...

Well, I was wondering if using U3S6 addon card is a better solution because wouldn't the Marvel Chip and NEC chip that support USB 3.0 and SATA 3 bottleneck the motherboard's PCIe x16 to x8 mode like it happened with Gigabyte's GA-P55A motherboards?

Because then why did ASUS bother to release the P7P55D series motherboard that had to rely on U3S6 addon card for the support of USB 3.0 and SATA 3??? Is there anything special about U3S6 addon card in respect to P7P55D-E's onboard NEC+Marvel chips?

Or is it because not everyone are interest about USB 3.0 and SATA 3 hard disk for the moment?
November 16, 2009 7:36:02 PM

OK, no replies, then I shall sleep...

Good night. God bless you all...

:sleep: 
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November 30, 2009 6:37:46 PM

I would be very interested in this answer! P7P55D Pro is very cheap, while the P7P55D-E Pro isn't even released yet in America as far as I can tell. In fact, I never even knew about the E-series because I was looking at the usa Asus site that doesn't even list them. Then I happened to look at the global site and there were 2x as many boards available!

I'm really stuck because I got a great deal on a P7P55D, but I think it is stupid to buy a board that is already obsolete. The U3S6 card might work, but onboard is always better. That being said, if the P7P55D-E Pro is $200 more then its probably not worth it.

What I really need is a link to a site that is actually selling the P7P55D-E...
November 30, 2009 8:28:41 PM

signaltonoise said:
I would be very interested in this answer! P7P55D Pro is very cheap, while the P7P55D-E Pro isn't even released yet in America as far as I can tell. In fact, I never even knew about the E-series because I was looking at the usa Asus site that doesn't even list them. Then I happened to look at the global site and there were 2x as many boards available!

I'm really stuck because I got a great deal on a P7P55D, but I think it is stupid to buy a board that is already obsolete. The U3S6 card might work, but onboard is always better. That being said, if the P7P55D-E Pro is $200 more then its probably not worth it.

What I really need is a link to a site that is actually selling the P7P55D-E...


Welcome to Tomshardware forum since this is your second post! :) 

Thanks for replying. I've been waiting too long for a reply for this thread.

Indeed, I was looking at the Global site of ASUS since it shows more products and I believe that some of these products would arrive in North America much later since geographically, America and Canada are much further away from Taiwan.

Me too, I think that it would make more sense to go with P7P55D-E PRO since it has onboard SATA 3 and USB 3.0 rather than having to buy an addon card and occupying a PCIe X1 slot. Anyway, I don't think that the onboard support and the addon card are very different from each other but I still believe that the onboard support is definitely better.

You are also right that I was being too excited to start this thread too early since I found the question to be very interesting and I am also stuck between the 2 choices.

I was just wondering about why ASUS need to make the addon card since they already have the onboard USB 3.0 and SATA 3 support versions like P7P55D-E. Even the rivals like Gigabyte only make the revisions of GA-P55 (new GA-P55A series) with the onboard support for USB 3.0 and SATA 3. ASUS also had a better solution than Gigabyte since GA-P55A series was having problem with 1 PCIe x16 slot being bottlenecked by SATA 3 and USB 3.0 down to x8 mode and the second PCIe x16 slot would be disabled too. I am not even sure if P7P55D is already obsolete because the P7P55D-E Premium was released at the same time with P7P55D series. Maybe because ASUS is predicting that there will be a group of customers who wanted USB 3.0 and SATA 3 now and a group of customers who wanted to add them later so that's why ASUS released P7P55D series and P7P55D-E series at the same time frame.

Well my friend, it looks like we have to wait until P7P55D-E PRO is release in North America so there will be more reviews for us to read. There might still be many things that we still need to know. However, I am going to wait until 2010 since that would be the time I will start building my PC rig. :) 
November 30, 2009 8:54:31 PM

You can pre-order P7P55D-E PRO from this UK website (but only for those living in UK):

http://www.awd-it.co.uk/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=...

ASUS P7P55D-E PRO will cost £131.95 excluding VAT at 15% (about $220) on awd-it.co.uk website.

ASUS P7P55D PRO will cost $170-$180 which would be about $40 cheaper than ASUS P7P55D-E PRO but the U3S6 addon card (for USB 3.0 and SATA 3 support) would cost around $30 for the P7P55D PRO.

The P7P55D-E PRO's price would be around $210-$220 which is definitely slightly more expensive than P7P55D PRO but with P7P55D-E PRO, you don't have to spend $30 for U3S6 addon card for USB 3.0 and SATA 3 which made the cost of the 2 choices kinda balance.
December 1, 2009 2:37:53 PM

Hi Techno-boy, thanks for the information! From that information it definitely makes more sense to wait for the E version. Also, I have my doubts as to how effective an add on card would be based on the following image I found at the asus site:



Asus claims that they use a custom chip to achieve "true" 6GB sata, and I don't see how the add on card can accomplish this.
December 1, 2009 8:19:16 PM

signaltonoise said:
Hi Techno-boy, thanks for the information! From that information it definitely makes more sense to wait for the E version. Also, I have my doubts as to how effective an add on card would be based on the following image I found at the asus site:

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b280/pray_for_mojo/sata6G_graphic.jpg

Asus claims that they use a custom chip to achieve "true" 6GB sata, and I don't see how the add on card can accomplish this.


With that image, ASUS is trying to tell us that instead of sharing PCIe x1 lane with Marvel SATA 3 Controller and P55 chipset on P7P55D-E, it would be better to use the PLX PEX8613 chip so that the speed won't be bottleneck by PCIe x1 lane's bandwidth which is 250mb/s. The PCIe x1 lane is used by PCIe x1 slot so the speed is definitely slow and it could be worse especially if you occupy PCIe x1 slot with other card, thus causing more traffic on PCIe x1 lane's bandwidth leading to exceeding the PCIe x1 lane's bandwidth capacity.

The ASUS custom chip or the extra expansion bridge chip is PLX PEX8613 chip which allow P55 chipset to work with SATA 3 and this chip will also be on U3S6 addon card (the same bridge chip that is on P7P55D-E series). But the problem is that U3S6 addon card would run in PCIe x4 slot which can still cause bottleneck unless if it is run in PCIe x8 mode.
December 1, 2009 8:33:22 PM

On maximumpc.com, they said that ASUS alleviated the bottleneck by allowing the U3S6 addon card to run in PCIe x4 slot.

But some people mentioned that PCIe x4 is still not enough for the U3S6 addon card to fully use one USB 3.0 (5GB/s) device when x2 SATA 3 (2 x 6GB/s) drivers were saturated or being in use because PCIe X4 provides only 4 * 500 MB/s which is 15 5/8 Gb/s. Therefore, this card needs a maximum bandwidth of 6 + 6 + 5 + 5 = 22 Gb/s in order to have all the USB 3.0 and SATA 3 features to work properly at the same time. If the card is design to run in PCIe x8 mode then perhaps everything would be fine.

Here is the article about the U3S6 addon/expansion card:

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/exclusive_first_u...

Pictures of U3S6 addon card:













December 31, 2009 10:01:22 PM

In actual fact the PCIe x4 slot is limited to 2.5GT/s per x1, (documented on all motherboards - look for the "2.5GT/s) this is a feature of P55 chipsets (it is not true PCIe gen 2.0 5GT/s - it has been limited to 1.x speeds)

2.5GT/s at 8b/10b encoding = 250MB/s

So all up 4*250MB/s

= 1GB/s

USB 3.0 at 4.8Gbit/s has theoretical max of 600MB/s (will likely only reach half) so 300MB/s (compared to USB 2.0 30MB/s)

SATA 3.0 at 6.0Gbit/s has theoretical max of 750MB/s (will only reach half) so 375MB/s

Another issue is that there is only 1GB/s one way between P55 chipset and CPU (2GB/s both ways)
http://benchmarkreviews.com/images/reviews/motherboards...

So everything connected can only total 1GB/s anyway

---------------------------

This is fine for me, in the future I want maybe:

One SATA3 SSD at 375MB/s if they come down in price - to run Windows off etc

One SATA3 mechanical hard drive for storage - unlikely to reach more than 200MB/s because mechanical

One USB 3.0 port at 300MB/s for transferring multiple 8GB 1080p Divx movies etc
This is likely only to be 200MB/s if using with a SATA3 mechanical HDD in an external enclosure

Total 775MB/s MAX

(which still leaves some bandwidth for Optical drives, PCI sounds cards, LAN etc)
January 25, 2010 6:38:11 AM

I've even more interesting question.
I intend to install this Expansion Card on Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard.
Interesting how it will work and which drivers to install.

Adam
January 26, 2010 8:20:58 AM

adam3544 said:
I've even more interesting question.
I intend to install this Expansion Card on Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard.
Interesting how it will work and which drivers to install.

Adam


Based on the spec requirements, U3S6 card will not work on other motherboards but except for P7P55D series motherboards since it was designed to be compatible with P7P55D series motherboards so I don't know if it is going to work with your P6T Deluxe motherboard. You can give it a try but I would not recommend spending $30 for U3S6 and risk to keep it in the dust and not being able to use it. (P6T Deluxe was released before P7P55D series motherboards or before ASUS comes up with the idea of using U3S6 card with USB 3.0 and SATA 3 supported so it is slightly older than P7P55D series motherboards, despite it uses high-end Intel's X58 chipset) :o 
April 18, 2010 3:22:00 AM

Im pretty sure that the P7P55D-E PRO MOBO has the bridge chip that creates an extra PCIe lane specially for the USB 3 and SATA 6 gb/s. Look up the P7P55D-E and you will see what you are talking about. It has a switch to change from full USB 3 and SATA 6 gb/s bandwidth to PCIe x16 full bandwidth and vice versa where as the P7P55D-E PRO has the bridge chip that creates a whole new lane for the USB 3 and SATA 6 gb/s

Hope this helped
June 19, 2010 6:24:50 PM

actually based on my research the onboard solution will work exactly the same as using a card in a x4 slot. The limitation someone posted earlier with the 500MB/sec also applies to the onboard chip because that utilises only 4 lanes as well.

Ask yourself where the pci-e x4 slot went to on the p7p55d-e pro/evo/premium boards, the 4 lanes it used are now directed to the onboard plx. So I see no reason why a u3s6 addon card which has the plx chip in a pci-e 4x slot will be any slower.

so to save even more money get a basic p7p55d and add the u3s6 card. I have a sneaky feeling asus will withdraw the u3s6 now and especially if enough people realise its much cheaper to buy the card then the higher boards.

the 2 lower end p7p55d-e boards are similiar to what gigabyte did and they use the primary pci-e 2.0 x16 bandwidth or a single pci-e x1 lane, optional of which to use. some argue thats a better implementation since (a) it gives choice (b) you keep the pci-e x4 slot (c) in the fast mode it should be faster than plx as it is fed on the direct pci-e 2.0 off the cpu.

hope this helps.
July 26, 2010 2:43:29 PM

The Asus U3S6 works flawlessly in the PCIx4 slot with no issues (the very first slot on the motherboard, closest to the CPU). No need to take up a x16 / x8 slot.

I am running a couple of Vertex 2 drives and performance was as expected. I also tested the USB 3.0 with an external drive and again performed as expected. I used the standard Win 7 ACHI drivers as I wanted Trim support.

Again... Asus U3S6 + Asus P6T Deluxe V2 = 100% match and functionality.
September 20, 2010 2:02:04 PM

Kastle said:
The Asus U3S6 works flawlessly in the PCIx4 slot with no issues (the very first slot on the motherboard, closest to the CPU). No need to take up a x16 / x8 slot.

I am running a couple of Vertex 2 drives and performance was as expected. I also tested the USB 3.0 with an external drive and again performed as expected. I used the standard Win 7 ACHI drivers as I wanted Trim support.

Again... Asus U3S6 + Asus P6T Deluxe V2 = 100% match and functionality.



I have the same motherboard.

I want to get the C300 128 gb and the U3S6.

You got TRIM to work by setting bios to ACHI and using the ACHI drivers from the Winows 7 CD?
I thought the Add-on card uses Marvel drivers and no TRIM?

Can you give more details please?
!