USB 3.0 Performance: Two Solutions From Asus And Gigabyte

Test Settings And Hardware

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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-870 (2.93 GHz, 8.0MB Cache)
CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4.0GB) DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
GraphicsXFX GeForce GTX 285 XXX Edition 670 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2500
OS Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB 10,000 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB cache
Test DriveSeagate 7200.12 ST3500418AS, 500GB 7,200 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB cache
USB 3.0 AdapterASMedia ASM1051 USB 3.0 to SATA 3 Gb/s
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850W Modular ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsNvidia GeForce 190.62 WHQL
ChipsetIntel INF
h2benchw 3.13Sequential and Sustained Reads, Writes (KB/s) Interface Bandwidth (MB/s), Access Times (ms)
IOMeter 2006.07.27Streaming Reads/Writes patterns (MB/s) Database, File Server, Web Server, Workstation Patterns (IOPS)

Asus supplied the test drive for today’s benchmarks. A modified Vantec enclosure holds Seagate’s 7200.12 500GB drive and ASMedia’s new ASM1051 SATA-to-USB 3.0 adapter.

We have reservations concerning the use of such a mainstream drive to test an interface that is supposed to support 5.0 Gb/s transfers, yet even the USB 3.0 interface adapter is bandwidth-limited by its SATA 3.0 Gb/s backend. We hope faster devices will show up next year.

The NEC D720200F1 PCIe-to-USB 3.0 controller is common to both motherboards, shown below on the P7P55D-E Premium.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • Lessqqmorepewpew
    Great review. This waiting game sucks.
  • amnotanoobie
    Wow, transferring your por..... programs should be a lot faster now.
  • playerone
    This seems a bit dated, my two week old ASUS P6X58D Premium has Sata 6.0 and USB 3.0!
    Obviously waiting for a bit more mature drivers and more hardware...
  • Onyx2291
    Can't wait for it all to be standard.
  • staalkoppie
    Pitty they'll only be available at the back for now....but good news nevertheless
  • liquidsnake718
    BAH.... Im waiting for an X58 with USB.3.0 AND 16x 16x SLI. I would not want to sacrifice the other slot for a 8x config....
  • Crashman
    liquidsnake718BAH.... Im waiting for an X58 with USB.3.0 AND 16x 16x SLI. I would not want to sacrifice the other slot for a 8x config....
    Uh, d00d, 1366 CPU has 36 2.0 lanes, don't those X58 boards use the leftover four for USB3 and SATA6? I mean, c'mon, 16+16+4=36
  • bujuki
    I've been waiting to see how USB 3 performs. However, if you may it's better to test the CPU utilization comparison between all connectors as well. Still, thanks for the great review. b^^d
  • anamaniac
    Honestly, with USB 3.0, I don't see any reason at all for eSATA anymore.
    I just want a 80GB Intel x18-m with a USB 3.0 port. Who the hell wants a slow 64GB flash drive?

    I wish we could agree on a stanard already. I like USB, so let's just scrap IDE, SATA, eSATA, PCI (not PCIe), analog audio cables completely already. Well, that or miniDisplayPort.
  • JohnnyLucky
    Thanks for explaining how USB 3.0 fits into the grand scheme of things.