ASMedia SATA controller on ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Gen3

Hi guys

I'm setting up a new system based on an ASRock Z68 Fatal1ty Gen3 mobo with an 2600K i7+ Corsair Hydro H100 and a Corsair AX1200 PSU among other things. I would like some advice before buying a new SSD. Initially I wanted to get the 120gig RevoDrive 3 (the cheaper model, not the X2 version - I don't think they do an X2 @120gig):

...but since my mobo supports SATA3, and seeing that the new generation of Sandforce drives seem to perform better than the Revo in benchmarks, I'm currently torn between the OCZ Vertex3 Max IOPS, or the Patriot Wildfire (I really like the 32nm Toshiba NAND). Or the Kingston HyperX (Intel 25nm NAND). No Corsair Force GT for me, if I'm gonna go for 25nm it'll have to be the Kingston.

I'm aware of the issues that plague the latest Sandforce drives, especially on Z68 mobos. I have some questions and I hope that more knowledgable users will help me understand the situation better:

1) Are the current BSOD/disappearing drive problems limited to SSDs connected to the Intel native SATA3 controller? I've heard that connecting it to a 3rd party controller negatively affects performance, but it gives you much greater stability than the Intel controller. Is this correct? And how big (on average) is the loss of performance?

2) So far I've heard of people connecting their SSDs on Marvell 3rd-party controllers to circumvent the Intel/Sandforce issues, and performance seems to suffer a lot. The Fatal1ty mobo features an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA3 controller, has anyone had any experience with this controller and latest generation Sandforce SSDs?

3) Is it better to go for a single 240 gig SSD or 2x120 @RAID0? And if I go RAID, is the SSD's internal garbage collection sufficient when trim is disabled? I do understand that there is the risk of losing all data if one of the drives fail but I have multiple up-to-date backups on different media, so possible drive failure doesn't bother me too much. I also plan to use RollBack Rx v9.1 Server Edition which allows saving disk snapshots on a different drive - and restores much faster than traditional imaging apps. I just want to know from users who've done it: Did you get any real world speed benefits from Raid-zeroing SSDs? And did you have problems with trim off?

3) A good performance on large incompressible file transfers is very important to me as I frequently use mkvmerge to change the container format of my HD camcorder clips from .mov and .mp4 to .mkv. I record bands playing live and a 2-hour set can result into huge x264 HD files which are already highly compressed. I have heard that synchronous NAND SSDs seem to be performing a lot better when compared to asynchronous NAND ones when it comes to large incompressible file transfers, is this correct? Which of the three brands mentioned (MAX IOPS/HyperX/Wildfire) would you choose if large file transfers of incompressible data were important to you? Since they all feature synchronous NAND I don't expect huge differences in speed, but it'd be good to hear your opinons on the matter.

4) If I want stability above all should I go Intel, Crucial or Samsung? (or other??). Which is the fastest non-Sandforce drive out there?

5) Would it better to get one of the latest Sandforce ones and connect it to an ASMedia port at least until firmware matures? Will this combo be slower than going for an Intel/Crucial/Toshiba drive connected to the Intel controller?

I really want to get one or more of the new Sandforce drives, especially then ones with 32nm Toshiba toggle NAND (OCZ or Patriot). It looks like that cheaper 24nm toggle will be the norm in the near future... Process shrink is not a good think performance-wise, so I think I'd better have the newest Sandforce SSDs with 32nm toggle now, while they're still around. Maybe connect them to ASMedia ports for a few months until firmware matures enough to warrant connection to the Intel controller. What do you think? Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any replies guys!
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  1. I have been using RevoDrives since they came out and with somwhat good success. I have been using them for my OS and what I found is that for some reason over time they tend to start to mess up , I can't put my finger on it but the bottom line is I think they are not so good for a main boot drive. Right now I have the second generation (X2) with my OS on it. What I am going to do is use a 180gb SSD for the OS , boot drive and the Revo for all my games and applications. I think that by having the Revo as strickly a storage drive it will work out better and I will be able to still take advantage of the Revo's speed by bypassing the sata connections. The SSD is a sata3 with read at 550 mb/s and write at 520mb/s. I am going to give this configuration a try to see if I can get better performance without using a raid setup where there is always the risk of loosing data if the array fails. By the way they have a Revo X2 @ 100gb
  2. Thanks for the input Inzone, your planned setup sounds like a good idea. I'm a little bit confused about all the different Revo versions out there. I saw in the OCZ website that one is under the enthusiast category (the 100 gig Revodrive X2 @100K IOPS - no 3 in the name) and the the other is under the workstation category (the 120gig Revodrive 3 @120K IOPS - no X2 in the name). There are also some larger capacity versions that are designated as both 3 and X2, wtf OCZ? All these different models, capacities and naming conventions are confusing to say the least.

    If anyone has any experience of latest generation Sandforce SSDs hooked on an ASMedia controller, please share.

    Thanks again :)
  3. Reference question on incompressable data:

    Screen shot of My M4 using AS SSD (on Intel controller)

    Love Raid0 for HDDs when working with Large Files, but for SSD I recommend using them seperatly even though CG has improved, TRIM makes it better. M4's CG is not the best - Not sure about CG with the SF2281 but I think it is better. Have two agility IIIs also, and I took a vow, never buy OCZ again - But that's me.

    I go for reliability first, then performance - cost does not bother me. In that vain Samsung is coming out with a 800 series Sata III drive. Their 470 SATA II drives seems equal the Intel G2s for low customer complains.

    Have not heard about performance using ASMedia ASM1061 compared to Intel. I know that Marvels does turn in lower performance. Intel has been putting out new RST drivers rater fast, currently upto 10.6. 10.6 supposedly improves relationship between SF and Intel. On that same token OCZ has been churning out new firmware at a high pace also (up to -13) trying to resolve the issues.
  4. Thank you Chief, I think I'll be going the Revodrive route and maybe getting a Sandforce SSD later when firmwares mature. Thanks to everyone for their contributions!
  5. I got 2 Crucial 128GB M4 in RAID0 on native Intel SATA 3.0 ports, here is the Crystal Disk Mark result

    CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 x64 (C) 2007-2010 hiyohiyo
    Crystal Dew World :
    * MB/s = 1,000,000 byte/s [SATA/300 = 300,000,000 byte/s]

    Sequential Read : 1005.025 MB/s
    Sequential Write : 344.643 MB/s
    Random Read 512KB : 554.452 MB/s
    Random Write 512KB : 338.644 MB/s
    Random Read 4KB (QD=1) : 23.671 MB/s [ 5779.0 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=1) : 68.715 MB/s [ 16776.1 IOPS]
    Random Read 4KB (QD=32) : 449.790 MB/s [109812.1 IOPS]
    Random Write 4KB (QD=32) : 324.869 MB/s [ 79313.6 IOPS]

    Test : 1000 MB [C: 26.2% (62.4/238.4 GB)] (x5)
    Date : 2011/10/07 15:57:41
    OS : Windows 7 Ultimate Edition SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
  6. After deliberating for the last three days about the Revo vs SSD issue, I think I'm gonna take the plunge and go for a single 120 gig OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS disk. Raid0 at this point will just complicate things, and updating the Revo firmware would be more laborious than updating the Vertex 3 (as the Revo would require installing Windows on another disk, then booting from it to update the Revo...) I'd rather take the Vertex out, plug it to my laptop via eSATA and update it that way.
  7. If you are referring to updating the firmware. Just do it inplace using the Iso CD download and boot to the CD. Fairly painless - used that method for the two agillity 3s to go from 2.06 -> 2.13
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