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2 x Vertex 3 SSD on Marvell 9128 controller (SATA III and RAID 0)

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November 11, 2011 11:45:09 AM

I have a Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard with a Marvell 9128 chip on it that supports SATA III and RAID 0. I have two Vertex 3 60GB SSD's arriving soon. I have read that the Marvell controller is not good when it comes to SATA III SSD's in RAID. I'd like some opinions on whether this is true or not. I would also like ideas of PCI controllers that would be worth using with my drives.

Will the Marvell controller hurt my performance? What can I do about this?
a c 257 G Storage
November 11, 2011 1:53:25 PM

1. What do you do with your pc that requires two solid state drives in a RAID array?

2. The consumer level PCI-e based cards are not very good. They typically use older controllers and do not make full use of the PCI-e datalink. There are high end, high tech controllers cards that work exceptionally well but they are enterprise class and are expensive. Prices start at about $1,600.00 for the really good ones.

4. It is not possible to say whether a Marvell controller on a motherboard will hurt performance without knowing what you will be doing with your pc. See item #1.
a c 504 G Storage
November 11, 2011 2:01:38 PM

The Marvell 9128 controller has a bandwidth of PCIe x1 at 5Gb/s (500MB/s); so your RAID-0 performance will be poor.

You will have better performance on the SATA II ports.

If you purchase a SATA III RAID card make sure it is at least PCIe x4 to maximize the speed of your drives.

EDIT: Here's an example of one: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Related resources
a c 504 G Storage
November 11, 2011 2:18:18 PM

Also make sure you update both drives to firmware version 2.15 before using them; and make sure your motherboard BIOS is updated to the latest version.
a c 257 G Storage
November 11, 2011 2:25:07 PM

Dereck47 - The LSI RAID controller card you linked to is PCI-e 2.0 x8. If Doug has a graphics card installed in the primary PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot, then the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard only has one available 1 x PCI Express x16 slot running at x4.
November 11, 2011 2:31:47 PM

I've had two Vertex 2 60GB drives for about a year now. Since they broke three times during that year, OCZ agreed to send me Vertex 3 drive back on this RMA. OCZ's reliability is not what I want to discuss in this particular thread.


I happen to already have a motherboard with the SATA III Marvell 9128 controller, so I was hoping I could make use of it. If that controller is really limited to 500mb/s total throughput, than obviously I won't be able to take full advantage of the drives. Are there really no quality up-to-date RAID cards that use SATA III for reasonable prices? How does OCZ intend people to use these drives?

I could put them in RAID using my SATA II intel chipset, but then I'll be limited to almost half of the speed. I'd really like to get as much out of these drives as I can. What would my best option be? Would using them on SATA II really be better than the Marvell controller?


Thanks for the reminder on updating the firmware.
a c 504 G Storage
November 11, 2011 2:41:17 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Dereck47 - The LSI RAID controller card you linked to is PCI-e 2.0 x8. If Doug has a graphics card installed in the primary PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot, then the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard only has one available 1 x PCI Express x16 slot running at x4.


Sorry about that! I'll update the post with another card.
November 11, 2011 2:56:39 PM

JohnnyLucky said:
Dereck47 - The LSI RAID controller card you linked to is PCI-e 2.0 x8. If Doug has a graphics card installed in the primary PCI-e 2.0 x16 slot, then the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD3 motherboard only has one available 1 x PCI Express x16 slot running at x4.


True. I have a 6970 graphics card in my primary slot, so the second slot is limited to 4x. But that should still provide up to 2GB/s transfer, correct?

By the way, the drives are only ~$120 a piece, so I'm not looking to spend $269 on a RAID card for them.
a c 504 G Storage
November 11, 2011 3:56:05 PM

Dougx1317 said:
By the way, the drives are only ~$120 a piece, so I'm not looking to spend $269 on a RAID card for them.


In that case just use your SATA II ports.

Advertised SATA II speeds for your drive are "up to" 280 MB/s Read and 260 MB/s Write. So 2 drives in RAID-0 should perform better than the Marvell controller.
November 11, 2011 7:47:12 PM

Alright. Thank you for your input. I'll probably do some benchmarking on both the SATA II and III separately, but it's good to know not to expect too much. I'll post benchmarking results in a couple of weeks. Please let me know if you think of any other suggestions or comments.
!