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Asus P8Z68 Marvell SATA 3 Controller in RAID?

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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 1:14:03 AM

Ok, I gotta wait, as it seems the Asus P8Z68-V Pro is in high demand, even Newegg (was) Out of Stock.

Anyway, reading further infomation from the Asus website, I downloaded the manual, and read it.

However, one (ha!) question still remains:

Does the Marvell SATA 3 controller support RAID? Or something like that (albeit software). I have a Asus P6T, and you can set up the JMicron controller onboard via the BIOS or software.

BTW: I hate the JMicron controller! Thank God I'm only running an optical drive on it. PATA worked, and now SATA. If you have 2 drives plugged into the ports, you HAVE to pair them together as "Speed Drive" or "Back Up Drive," kinda like RAID 0 or RAID 1. And when I "update" the drivers for these ports, it messes up my drive names.

I read that the Marvell SATA 3 controller ONLY supports HDD. You can (only?) set these ports to ACHI or IDE mode. When my controller is set to ACHI, it supports my SATA optical drive. Will this board?

Or should I plug the optical drive into the JMicron eSATA port? Does an eSATA port work that way. just like SATA? NOPE: eSATA in on the back plate!

This will really hamper my hard drive utilization if I can't "RAID" the Marvell ports, nor use either of them for an optical drive.

The other motherboard, Asus P8Z68-V doesn't have as many SATA ports, and I currently need 7, want 8!

BTW: I RAID my back up drives, only for size, not so much speed. I have used up 1.7+GB of 4TB available. Maybe I should manage my backup better. Windows does it's backups, Norton does it's back up, and I back up my data/media (i.e. My Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos) with SyncToy2.1 from Microsoft.
a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 107 V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 1:28:26 AM

The Marvell controller only supports standard hard drives and SSDs. It appears that the particular controller version used cannot do RAID functions -- it's only a basic SATA3 controller. There are other versions that support RAID, but for whatever reason ASUS didn't use one of those.
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 2:34:17 AM

Yeah, that's what I've read. But what about using an optical drive on it?

It does appear to do what I want, I'm going to have to go with a different motherboard manufacter. :( 

I found that the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD4-B3 (to name one) uses the Marvell 88SE9172 controller, which IS RAID supported, using <Ctrl>+<M> during BIOS post. Sounds like this is what I need. Other Gigabyte mobo use another Marvell controller, that is not RAID supported. Yet others may not have a total of 8 usable SATA ports.

BUT, these Gigabyte mobo don't support integrated video virtualization? Don't know if I ever use it, but that's what the Z68 was suppose to be all about! That and SSD caching, which I will plan to do. That's why I waited for Z68, instead of getting P67.

I could go with Gigabyte, as long as I get 8 SATA ports total, and 2-way Crossfire support (don't need to Xfire any more than 2 cards).

BTW: Does anyone still use standard PCI slots? Or PCI-e x1? Sound and LAN are (mostly) integrated on todays mobos, so (I) only need (2) video cards slots, at x16. And I know some camcorders use Firewire (I don't), but i do use 4 back panel USB ports, and 1 USB front port.
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a b Ĉ ASUS
a c 107 V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 4:48:53 PM

Marvell controllers don't support optical drives at all.

You could always wait for ASUS to come out with the Deluxe board, or whatever they call it. I can't imagine that they would leave the Z68 chipset with only a couple of choices -- after all, they had many choices for the P67.

And yes, Gigabyte has chosen a puzzling path that includes Z68 boards with no support for the integrated graphics. They are mainly the overclocking boards anyway, and I guess they figured that overclockers wouldn't use the Quick Sync features enough to want them on the overclocking boards.

The UD3H board would have been perfect for you, except that they decided to go with an eSATA port instead of the fourth SATA2 port. Darn it...
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a b V Motherboard
May 25, 2011 6:30:19 PM

I am now looking closer into the Gigabyte GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 board:

1). Supports Vitru.

2). Uses the Marvell 88SE9172 controller, supporting RAID. Like you said, one of the Intel SATA 2 ports is redirected to eSATA. So a total of 7 SATA ports: 2 SATA III and 3 SATA II via the Intel Z68 chipset, and 2 SATA 3 via the Marvell controller.

The only "BAD" thing is that it only uses a 7 phase power controller, limiting overclocking. But I never push my OC to the limit. My i7 920 is "only" OC'd to 3.8GHz.

Refer to other one of my threads for further/other information: Do the Z68 mobo support iGPU Video Virtu?
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a b V Motherboard
May 26, 2011 1:36:28 AM

Although I should wait for more boards to be released by Asus, as of right now, I think I'm going to stick with the Asus P8Z68-V Pro board.

The main reason, when comparing to the GA-Z68X-UD3H-B3 board, is the number of fan headers: Asus has 6 (2-CPU, 2-PWR, 2-Case (1x4-pin, 1x3-pin)), Gigabyte only has 4 (1-CPU, 1 PWR, 2 Sys (1x4-pin, 1x3-pin). With other parts I have or am getting, I want fan headers (i.e. Antec Kuhler 620 requires 1-CPU and 1-PWR, RAM fan=1 PWR or Case/Sys, and 5 case fans, plugged in whenever I can).

Also, with either, I will have to get a PCI-e RAID card, to support my 2 SSD & 4 HDD is RAID, with an optical drive. When you add in a SSD for Intel Smart Response Technology, that equals 8 SATA ports needed, all but optical need RAID.

That's if I stay with my current set up. I could drop the RAID for my Data/Media drives, and up the size to 1x2TB drive, instead of 2x1TB drives in RAID. Either way, iSMT requires RAID also. And my 2x2TB back up drives will still need RAID. I use RAID for these drives for size, not speed.

And I back up via network to the other PC, also. I think I'll look deeper into if I really need 4TB of backups. Windows, and Norton do their backup every week, and I do my Data/Media through SyncToy 2.1 from Microsoft. So I think I have my Data/Media backed up thrice. Like I said, I'll look deeper into each programs settings, and maybe I don't need a PCI-e RAID card, nor the Marvell SATA ports.

Anyways, I think I stick with the Asus P8Z68-V Pro motherboard. Damn the Marvell SATA 3 controller, not supporting RAID or optical drives. Hello Asus, anyone listening?
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a b V Motherboard
May 26, 2011 1:42:54 AM

Best answer selected by foscooter.
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