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[Newbie] GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R -- SSD SATA III vs SATA II

Hi there guys,

I was once really into computer upgrading, overclocking and the whole deal, but I have since then stopped being as interested. That being said, I am woefully behind on all the hardware lingo and probably couldn't even do simple bios stuff or RAID without a detailed guide anymore... So I would appreciate it if you kept the terminology as simplistic as possible.

This is the exact motherboard i bought three or so years ago: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128423 and the MOBO I currently own.

I am looking into buying a SSD and this SOUNDS like it supports SATA 3, but I read a few posts about this MOBO having issues with SSDs? The language was a bit too dense for me. I was hoping for a newbie answer to this question:

SATA II or SATA III SSD? What happens if I use SATA 2 in the 6GB SATA port?
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  1. Well the motherboard supports both SATA II and III (II is 3 Gb/S while III is 6 Gb/s). I would get a sata III SSD and then take advantage of the SATA III on your motherboard.
    Depending on price you want to spend the Mushkin Chronos are very good for the price.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100011693%2050001504&IsNodeId=1&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize=100
  2. X58 chipset based motherboards do not have native SATA 3 (6Gb/s) ports. They use a Marvell controller for their 6Gb/s ports.

    The Marvell controller on your motherboard has a maximum data bandwidth of PCIe x1 at 5Gb/s (500MB/s). The controller was designed for HDDs and 1st generation SSDs.

    You can connect a SATA 3 SSD to the Marvell ports and it will work, but you will not get advertised Read/Write speeds.

    SATA ports are backwards and forwards compatible. So you can connect a SSD in any SATA port and it will work.
  3. Ok, so I should probably just save money and get a SATA II one then? I read something about a SATA III one being able to saturate the connection better. Is it noticeable outside of the benchmark environment?
  4. Also, really dumb question.. You say a max of 5GB/s (500MB/s), are GBps different than normal GBs? Because 5GBs is closer to 5000 than 500.
  5. Honestly, the SATA III ports were likely added to that board in a newer revision. I, too, have an older X58 board and if yours is 3 years old as you stated, it will only have SATA II ports.

    Now, knowing that, when I decided to go to SSD's, it complicated my decision somewhat. You're only going to see roughly 300 MBps over SATA II and new SATA III drives often support bandwidths much higher than that. Knowing I had that limitation, I decided to get two smaller drives rather than one large one and use them in RAID 0. This way, I'm going across 2 SATA II ports instead of just one, bringing my read/writes on larger files up to 580 MBps. However, running in RAID the SSDs lose out on their TRIM command. Essentially, I decided to trade TRIM for speed.
  6. Meltdown19k said:
    Also, really dumb question.. You say a max of 5GB/s (500MB/s), are GBps different than normal GBs? Because 5GBs is closer to 5000 than 500.



    Gb/s (lower-cased b) means Gigabit per second.
    GB/s (upper-cased B) means Gigabyte per second.
    Mb/s (lower-cased b) means Megabit per second.
    MB/s (upper-cased B) means Megabyte per second.

    1 Gb equals 128 MB. But when referring to SATA speeds 1 Gb equals 100 MB.
    The difference is due to SATA protocol overhead.

    So 3Gb/s ports can have Read/Write speeds up to 300MB/s; 6Gb/s ports can have Read/Write speeds up to 600MB/s; and 5Gb/s ports (Marvell) can have Read/Write speeds up to 500MB/s.
  7. Meltdown19k said:
    Ok, so I should probably just save money and get a SATA II one then? I read something about a SATA III one being able to saturate the connection better. Is it noticeable outside of the benchmark environment?



    No, get a SATA III drive. Even though you won't get the advertised speeds with your current motherboard chipset the performance will still be better than a SATA II drive.

    A SATA III drive will also have newer firmware so they will last longer and be more compatible with different systems than SATA II drives.
  8. just look at your sata ports on the motherboard. right under them it should say SATA 6Gb/s (the white connectors) and SATA 3Gb/s. (the blue connectors.) come on, all i did was look at your motherboards picture on newegg zoomed and found it out, every plug on your motherboard has text under it, how could you not already know this? anyway. you could have a older model like dereck47 said, but if you have 6Gb/s connectors, then they are 6Gb/s, not 5. 6Gb/s connectors are 6Gb/s connectors. but again like derek said, get a sata3. its more compatible etc etc overall better performance because of the firmware etc etc and if you mobo craps out you have a shiny new SATA3 drive and you will be even more excited to experience its full speed. even on SATA2 connection though, they still beat any HDD in a race 5 and a half times before it even started.
  9. Thanks for the GB vs Gb lesson, Dereck47.

    As for your comment, mashal11... I did read them and I did see the numbers. However, as I said up in my main post that I read somewhere that having a 6Gbs port doesn't necessarily mean it supports SATA III. I was right to look, since it seems that the Marvell controllers are sub-par.

    It certainly wasn't a case of not being thorough, quite the opposite, actually.
  10. Best answer
    1) Go with a SATA III SSD and stick it on the INTEL SATA II port.

    .. The Old marvel sata 6 controller is not very good - AS you already found out by your reseach.

    .. As stated by others, the newer sata III SSDs are improved, even if you do not get advertized performance (More on this). When you do upgrade, it's better to carry a SATA III SSD over to new system.
    .. THE decrease in performance with a SATA III SSD on SATA to is not near what some think, and in fact MAY be ZERO. Case in point:
    The agility III performance nearly identical when on a SATA II port as compared to being on a SATA III port. Verified in a review, and on my system - have two 128 gig Agillity IIIs. Putting them on SATA III is a waste of a good SATA III port.
    This is probably true of the Mushkins enhanced as it is nearly idendical to the agillity III (Both use async NAND chips and both use the SF22xx controller.

    NOW as to performance.
    DO NOT GO BY "advertized" Manuf spec for Sequencial performance.
    ... Sequencial performance is the LEAST important parameter for a OS + Program SSD, it's the random 4 K that is IMPORTANT.
    ... Manufs use ATTO (A HDD Benchmark). ATTO uses data that is highly compressable - agin NOT real life.

    You can go with the Agility IIIs or the Muchkins enhance (Delux is a better version) and stick it on the SATA II port with NO performance lose. But I would recommend the Curcial M4s or the Samsung 830s. These two will see a performance decrease, BUT would perform better than the agillity III on the Sata II port. More Important is that if you do upgrade to sata II MB you can move it over and get the FULL performance.

    Additional comments
    1) make sure you disconnect all other HDDs when installing windows on the SSD
    2) Verify/set Bios HDD control to AHCI prior to installing windows on SSD.
    .. NOTE: if you find your bios was set to ide, I would first correct that so that the HDD would work with AHCI. If you just change IDE->ahci, your HDD will not boot to windows, requires a registry edit FIRST (Google "ide to ahci windows 7").

    Windows will install a driver (msahci), but if you download and install Intel's latest RST driver, this will change msahci -> iaSTor which will give slightly better performance with SSDs.
  11. Best answer selected by Meltdown19k.
  12. Very thorough, and thanks for the IDE thing. I was in my BIOs the other day and remember seeing an IDE, going to make sure it's not the HDD.

    I was thinking about getting a 128 agility, myself. Glad to see someone likes it as well.

    Will 128GB be enough room for my OS, Photoshop, and a few other graphics software? I see a lot of people saying they have 60GB SSDs for their OS, which makes me think that you need free space to really use it well?
  13. 128 Gif should be fine. Have 4 systems with SSDs as OS + Program drives. Windows 7 plus all my apps takes around 35->40 gigs. So add to that your photo editing software.
    Yes You must leave at least 10% (I recommend 15%) free so that wear leveling, Garbage Collector and Trim can work there magic.

    May have misunderstood me. "Glad to see someone likes it as well"
    The agility III will work well for you, Although I have 2, it is NOT my recommended choice, Much prefer Curcial M4 and Samsung 830 - BUT to get a GOOD price you have to chatch on sale, and ACT fast as they sell OUT fast!!!
  14. Oh, awesome. Yeah, I'm in no rush so I'm going to sit on my wallet for a good deal.
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