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Extra PCIe card for SATA3, good or bad?

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April 9, 2011 7:46:45 PM


I might be buying a OCZ Vertex 3 SSD SATA3 disk, 240 GB, but have some doubts about the capabilities of my motherboard (Asus P7P55D-E LX). It has native support for 6 SATA2 ports, and a "Marvell Controller" for 2 x SATA3 ports.

There is two possible problems with this: if using the SATA3 the PCIe-16x slot will be lowered to 8x which might somewhat harm the performance of my graphic card. This will most likely not be a problem for me.

But I have also read some negative things about the Marvell SATA3 controller which I am not sure if it is true?

So, as an alternative I wonder if it is possible to buy a PCIe card with SATA3 ports on? And if so:

1. Is there any disadvantages of that in terms of performance or other? If I attach the SSD disk on the extra card, will it be "visible" in the same way for the operating system?

2. This disk will be used as a data disk, but I might later buy another smaller SSD for the operating system. Does anyone know if it would be possible to boot from a disk located on a extra PCI and not on the main motherboard?

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a b G Storage
April 9, 2011 8:03:11 PM

unless you're willing to spend the money on a more expensive raidcard(even though using single drive), I would just stick with the onboard Marvell 6G. They are certainly not terrible and the cheaper cards you'll find use that(or worse) anyways.

I've had my 240GB V3 on the Marvell and the Intel sata2 and regardless of the Marvell reading sequentially at more than 100+MB/s faster?.. it's tough to tell the difference. I use my system pretty hard too, so I wouldn't josh ya.
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April 9, 2011 8:54:43 PM

groberts101 said:
unless you're willing to spend the money on a more expensive raidcard(even though using single drive), I would just stick with the onboard Marvell 6G. They are certainly not terrible and the cheaper cards you'll find use that(or worse) anyways.

I've had my 240GB V3 on the Marvell and the Intel sata2 and regardless of the Marvell reading sequentially at more than 100+MB/s faster?.. it's tough to tell the difference. I use my system pretty hard too, so I wouldn't josh ya.


Thanks a lot for your reply. You have been using the Vertex 3 on a Marvell controller and it did fine?

I read somewhere on these forums that the Marvell controller was quite bad in some ways, but can not remember which or how..

If a add-on PCIe card is not expensive then it could be an alternative, but of course only if it is necessary.
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a b G Storage
April 9, 2011 9:11:30 PM

Sure wasn't what I'd call "bad". Intel 3G vs Marvell 6G.

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April 9, 2011 9:51:25 PM

groberts101 said:
Sure wasn't what I'd call "bad". Intel 3G vs Marvell 6G.

]http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/4306/inteltomarvellcompariso.th.jpg


It sure does look good. This was the thread were the Marvell controller was questioned:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/268090-32-ready

"The 6Gbit marvell controller does indeed deliver better sequencial, but it "sucks" at 4K Random Read/Writes compared to the Intel sata 3Gbit controller, so eitherway you should not use the 6Gbit controller. "

However on your benchmark the difference was not large between the Intel SATA2 and the Marvell SATA3?
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a b G Storage
April 9, 2011 10:26:02 PM

yeah.. salt is needed at evry turn. Funny thing is just 2 years ago we would have nearly killed for the Marvels performance level, eh? LOL

I only use benchmarks to get an idea/clue to the expected operation with similar data types/sizes and always rely on the OS and the split second timing that my brain still see's. From that perspective?.. is tough to tell the difference and is still fast either way you split that hair. Good Luck
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April 10, 2011 12:27:31 AM

ricno said:
Thanks a lot for your reply. You have been using the Vertex 3 on a Marvell controller and it did fine?

I read somewhere on these forums that the Marvell controller was quite bad in some ways, but can not remember which or how..

If a add-on PCIe card is not expensive then it could be an alternative, but of course only if it is necessary.
For most users, the only "Problem" with the controller is that it's limited to 5Gb/s for both drives. So, if you had the RAID version and put RAID 0 on it, two drives that normally top out at around 350 MB/s would top out at 250 MB/s per drive.

That's the theory anyway. In practice I'd be happy to see it go over 4.80 Gb/s, or 240MB/s per drive.
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a b G Storage
April 10, 2011 3:07:04 AM

that's about right. Just because the chip pushes one drive/port to 440MB/s in Atto doesn't mean squat when 2 are hooked up in raid. The biggest issue with the Marvell 9128 is the PCI-E x1 speed bottleneck. The newest consumer Marvell chip on the Maximus Extreme 4(Marvell 9182) is now using 2 x1 lanes now and is noticably higher(500+MB/s in Atto) than the 9128 due to that fact alone. I still doubt that the newer 9182 would scale very much more than that though with 2 fast drives. Time will tell though.

Here's the screens from a fellow beta-tester using that board(post #61).
http://www.ocztechnologyforum.com/forum/showthread.php?...
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April 10, 2011 3:05:12 PM

Best answer selected by ricno.
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a b G Storage
January 25, 2012 3:50:53 PM

I think it also depends on which Marvell controller you have. Some Marvell Sata 3 controllers don't perform as well as the Intel Sata 2 controller.
-Bruce
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January 25, 2012 7:44:14 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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