USB 3.0 On A Stick: Super Talent's RAIDDrive 64 GB

USB 3.0 Controller And Test Setup

USB 3.0 Controller: Gigabyte GA-USB3.0

There aren’t many USB 3.0 controllers on the market. NEC’s 720200 is effectively the dominant product, and it’s often used as an onboard component for enthusiast class motherboards or add-on cards, such as Gigabyte’s GA-USB3.0. This is a x1 PCI Express 2.0 solution, so it offers plenty of bandwidth when connected to systems that support PCI Express 2.0. Keep in mind that all Intel platforms are still limited to PCI Express 1.1 for all non-graphics PCIe ports. This limits bandwidth to 250 MB/s each way.

The NEC chip is considered expensive at roughly six dollars. Asmedia, VIA, and Texas Instruments are close to finalizing their own products. This will have a positive impact on pricing and help make USB 3.0 a mainstream commodity item. Although the $29 for the GA-USB3.0 card isn’t bad for end users, $6 is a major cost item for on-board motherboard components.

Test Setup

System Hardware
Intel Core i7-920 (45 nm, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache)
Motherboard (Socket 1366)Supermicro X8SAX
Revision: 1.0, Chipset Intel X58 + ICH10R, BIOS: 1.0B
3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 Corsair CM3X1024-1333C9DHX
Seagate NL35 400GB, ST3400832NS, 7,200 RPM, SATA/150, 8MB Cache
Storage ControllerseSATA: on-board eSATA (ICH10R)
USB 2.0: on-board USB 2.0 (ICH10R)
USB 3.0: NEC 720200F1 (Gigabyte GA-USB3.0)
Power SupplyOCZ EliteXstream 800W, OCZ800EXS-EU
Performance Measurementsh2benchw 3.13
I/O PerformanceIOMeter 2008.08.18
Streaming Reads and Writes
System Software & Drivers
Operating SystemWindows 7 Ultimate