SilverStone announced a new SATA controller add-on card that uses an ASMedia 1062R controller that connects to the host system using a PCI-E 2.0 x2 connection and supports two SATA-III ports.
PCI-E 2.0 is capable of up to 4 Gbps of bandwidth, which is only two-thirds of the bandwidth required to run a SATA-III (6 Gbps) connection at full speed. This might cause a bottleneck issue for users if they connect two SSDs to the controller and access them simultaneously, transferring large amounts of data, but it shouldn’t cause a serious problem when accessing drives one at a time or with conventional HDD storage devices.
The RAID controller includes an embedded 8-bit microprocessor to help accelerate RAID and drive access functions. The controller is capable of RAID 0 and 1, and it supports SPAN as well as non-RAID functions.
There is no word on pricing or availability at this time.
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Am I missing the entire point of this card or which niche exactly are they looking to cover with a 2-port card that bottlenecks long before even the first SATA channel is saturated? First of all these controllers haven been available for well over a decade, so what's the point of launching yet another one? And secondly, why produce something that is clearly so underpowered that even the conventional HDDs of today (in RAID0) will be hampered by it?
Duuuuude, it's Silverstone! It must be glorious! I also bet it will be overpriced. Silverstone has balls to out some serious hardware, like slim DVD-RW drive (recently). I understand, that slot-in drives are rare, but they charge $150 for it.
While I agree it is mostly a pointless product right now, where are you getting your information about bottlenecks? PCIe 2.0 x2 gives 1000MB/s of data bandwidth while one SATA port uses up to 600MB/s of data bandwidth. You can fully saturate the first port and saturate the second port up to 67% with 1GB/s. Even SSDs almost never saturate SATA 6Gb/s except in synthetic benchmarks, so this is unlikely to be a bottleneck ever, especially if you're copying data between the two drives. With hard drives, there is no way you'd saturate one port's bandwidth, let alone two, let alone two lanes of PCIe when there are only two ports for one hard drive each.
Also, it should be noted that these controllers have NOT been available in PCIe 2.0 x2. Most of them are either cheap PCIe 2.0 x1 which is a bottleneck or PCIe 2.0 x4 which is more expensive. PCIe 3.0 is also only available on systems that have no need for a two port SATA adapter, so PCIe 2.0 makes sense all considered. The only use for this is upgrading somewhat older systems with something better than a craptastic single lane adapter and still cheaper than a PCIe x4 adapter to decently handle SATA 6Gb/s SSDs.
If I felt like buying (or already have) a good used LGA 1366 system since they have huge performance for the money nowadays, then this would definitely go in the computer for good SSD performance. You can get a machine that fights with a Skylake quad core i7 in multithreaded performance with still much better than AMD single threaded performance for the price of only the Skylake i7 using an overclocked hex-core LGA 1366 i7 or Xeon at around $300 to $400 if you look around for the right prices.
PCI-E 2.0 spec indicates a max of 500MB/s per lane (note the big B there for bytes). PCI-E 2.0 x2 would use two lanes and have 1000MB/s of bandwidth. Even with the overhead from the 8b/10b encoding scheme, it's still something like 4 gigabits per second per lane, giving 8 gigabits per second for this card.
SATA III spec indicates a max of 6Gbps (note the little b there for bits). This translates to 750 MB/s.
Given that, this card has more than enough theoretical bandwidth to saturate the bus for one drive, while leaving about 30% of the max SATA III spec throughput left for the other one. In real world, a HDD will almost never saturate this bus, so it will likely be more than enough for both drives.
SATA can only transmit 600MB/s because the other 150MB/s is overhead from 8/10 bit encoding. PCIe 2.0 x2 is enough for up to 167% of a SATA 6Gb/s port. That's also assuming that we're going one way because while SATA is simplex, PCIe is duplex, so we can read to one drive and write to the other both at full speed for SATA 6Gbs/s with plenty of PCIe bandwidth to spare on both paths.
Yeah, I may have omitted some details, but I knew PCI-E 2.0 x2 was plenty of bandwidth. The part that confused me was the article claiming PCI-E 2.0 maxes out at 4Gbps (well below a single SATA III connection).
Yeah, the article is wrong about that. PCIe 2.0 x2 has two 500MB/s lanes That's 5Gb/s each (including their 8/10 overhead) for 10Gb/s total. They might have made a typo in saying 5Gbp/s and were referring to it per port, in which case it is a slight bottleneck, but the PCIe bandwidth isn't arranged like that. Both ports are connected to the PCIe 2.0 x2 bus, so you can run them both around 5GB/s or one at around 6Gb/s and another at 4Gb/s, or anything like that so long as you don't exceed SATA 6Gb/s' capabilities per port and 10Gb/s total.
Of course, those are all theoretical numbers and real world numbers will be somewhat lower. You won''t get quite the full 6GB/s out of a SATA port and you won't get quite the full 5Gb/s out of a PCIe lane.