X48 Motherboard Comparison

RAID Controller Performance, Continued

IOMeter's File Server benchmark pattern shows Asus and Gigabyte overlapping, with MSI's Marvel controller falling far behind, and the integrated ICH9R controller surging well ahead.

IOmeter's Web Server benchmark pattern groups the add-in controllers even closer together, but continues to show Intel's chipset-integrated controller with a huge performance lead.

MSI's Marvel controller once again falls significantly behind in IOmeter's Database benchmark pattern, and Intel continues its commanding lead.

More of the same results in IOmeter's Workstation pattern, but with Intel's integrated controller reaching an amazing 300 operations per second - amazing for "software" RAID, at least.

H2benchw proved that Intel's integrated controller had a significant bandwidth advantage over all of the added-in parts, while IOmeter showed how much better the Intel controller was at handling high traffic. Meanwhile, MSI's Marvel controller continued to struggle.

The key thing to remember about all these results is that MSI connects its External SATA ports to the Intel ICH9R controller. MSI's design is therefore a boon to users of external mass storage arrays, because it directs its slower ports internally. As bad as the Marvel controller appears relative to other controllers, it's still far and away faster than any optical drives, and so we'd use it for those.

Gigabyte doesn't even have eSATA onboard, but the company does include a SATA to eSATA breakout cable with every high-end motherboard model. Gigabyte's third-party RAID controller is better than MSI's, but it's up to the builder to decide if he or she wants to "waste" an expansion slot to support the breakout cable bracket.

Asus does all things well, but nothing perfectly. Its superior third-party controller performance is still not capable of matching that of the integrated ICH9R controller that every motherboard in this comparison has.

If having the best third-party RAID controller holds primary importance choose Asus, but if having the best eSATA RAID performance is more important, chose MSI for its ICH9R to eSATA path.

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7 comments
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  • Anonymous
    Help please.Can this board be configured with the first two (SATA) HDs mirrored and the other drives JBOD? Thank you in advance.
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  • oblivionspell
    Great review, very detailed and informative. But I must say that either you were lucky that your X38 P5E3 Deluxe came with a better-than-average chipset or that I wasn't so lucky and got a malfunctioning one.

    I have an Asus Maximus Formula which is, as you know, the Republic of Gamer's solution for the X38 and recently bought a Patriot Extreme Performance 1150mhz PC2-9600. Whenever I try anything above 1020mhz for the RAM my PC reboots; the higher it is the less time it takes to do it. At 1020mhz it'll only reboot if I run something more demanding like 3dMark06 or any new game, at 1100mhz it'll barely show the Windows loading screen then reboot, above 1120mhz it'll not even load windows and freeze. But in every case it boots up fine.

    The Asus forums are full of users who can't get stability in any way with >=1066mhz ram on X38 boards. A selected few have come to accomplish it however, which leads me to think those were the lucky ones who got the good shipment, like you. The Patriot forums are the same, X38 users can't get their system stable with RAMS over 1066 or not even that.

    Maybe that X48 "official" support is something to consider, it might be the fix to the X38 we users are looking for. Even if it's only to make sure it'll run RAMs at >=1066mhz, it's good enough already.
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  • Anonymous
    oblivionspell - Have you tried manually setting your RAM voltage to the correct value for the performance setting(s)?

    I had to do this on my Asus Crosshair, even though EPP is supposed to take care of it for you. Without manually setting the voltage, I had memory corruption and crashes, but could use the non-EPP mode. With the voltage bumped to the correct 2.1V,
    the EPP modes work perfectly.
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  • Crashman
    oblivionspellGreat review, very detailed and informative. But I must say that either you were lucky that your X38 P5E3 Deluxe came with a better-than-average chipset or that I wasn't so lucky and got a malfunctioning one.I have an Asus Maximus Formula which is, as you know, the Republic of Gamer's solution for the X38 and recently bought a Patriot Extreme Performance 1150mhz PC2-9600. Whenever I try anything above 1020mhz for the RAM my PC reboots; the higher it is the less time it takes to do it. At 1020mhz it'll only reboot if I run something more demanding like 3dMark06 or any new game, at 1100mhz it'll barely show the Windows loading screen then reboot, above 1120mhz it'll not even load windows and freeze. But in every case it boots up fine.The Asus forums are full of users who can't get stability in any way with >=1066mhz ram on X38 boards. A selected few have come to accomplish it however, which leads me to think those were the lucky ones who got the good shipment, like you. The Patriot forums are the same, X38 users can't get their system stable with RAMS over 1066 or not even that.Maybe that X48 "official" support is something to consider, it might be the fix to the X38 we users are looking for. Even if it's only to make sure it'll run RAMs at >=1066mhz, it's good enough already.


    It's just a matter of having the right RAM and using the correct timings and voltage. All X38 and X48 motherboards that support DDR2 memory can run DDR2-1066 speeds with stability, so long as the RAM is set up right in BIOS.
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  • Anonymous
    "Inside, users will find a GUI based on the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform."

    This is not accurate. SCIM is an "input method" -- a scheme for entering internationalized text. Not sure what the GUI is really based on. GTK2, maybe?
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  • Crashman
    Quote:
    "Inside, users will find a GUI based on the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform."

    This is not accurate. SCIM is an "input method" -- a scheme for entering internationalized text. Not sure what the GUI is really based on. GTK2, maybe?


    I see your point, but that's the same arguement as "Windows 98SE is a GUI based on DOS". Which is innacurate only in wording. It would be better to say "Windows 98SE is a GUI for DOS".

    So, you'd be happier to read "Users will find a GUI for the Smart Common Input Method (SCIM) platform" correct?
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  • chill70
    It's not only the wording. SCIM is not an operating system, so even your example is not analogous (won't even mention that DOS and Windows are separate operating systems with distinct kernels, etc).

    This statement is as correct as saying Vista has a GUI based on a 105-key keyboard.

    SCIM is an input method platform independent on the GUI. GTK GUI is an widget toolkit, independent on SCIM (although they *may* used each other). Neither is "based" on the other.

    If you want to emphasize that the Express Gate supports users of many different languages and nationalities you can mention that the GUI USES SCIM.
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