Review Index:

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested!

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: General

Quick Performance Preview

So let's get down to the skinny - how does this baby perform if
only in the very limited subset of tests we were able to run on it? 
First, our hardware configuration:

  • Intel Core i7-860 CPU
  • ASUS P7P55D-E Premium
  • 4GB Corsair DDR3-1333
  • Windows 7 Professional x64

Again, because of the read-only state of this drive, our results
are very limited; but we still think this is enough data to at least
get some interesting preliminary information for upcoming SATA 6G SSDs and
what they have the potential to do.  Our first test (and the only
direct comparison made) is in HDTach.

first thing we should note is that the Intel X25-M G2 SSD is
essentially saturating the SATA 3.0 Gb/s bus, getting pretty close to
the 300 MB/s limit when we take overheads into account.  The burst read
rate on the Marvell prototype drive is able to perform at a
significantly higher level pulling 90 MB/s MORE data than the Intel
drive.  That is a 33% increase in performance over one of the fastest
SSDs on the market today.  The difference is even more dramatic when
looking at the performance of the Marvell drive compared to the
standard spindle-based hard drives. 

More impressive might be the sustained read
speed results that give the Marvell drive a 27% speed boost over the
Intel X25-M but a massive 175% performance advantage over the speeds of
even the SATA 6G-capable Seagate XT 2.0 TB hard drive!

I didn't have comparison performance results for HDTune 3.5 on the
other hard drives, I thought I would at least include these results
here for you all to peruse.  We should note that HDTune is still a
single-threaded application and as such it doesn't appear to have the
ability to really push these SSDs to the extent that applications like
HDTach and IOMeter can in order get the best performance benchmarks
possible.  Even without that, the Marvell prototype drive was able to
pull nearly 300 MB/s.

Initial Thoughts

This was obviously a very quick test and preview of what SSDs
enabled with SATA 6G-capable controllers and SATA 6G ready motherboards
can bring to consumers in the near future.  We should reiterate again
that this Marvell drive was a VERY early prototype that didn't allow us
to run the majority of our benchmark suite because of its read-only
status - but it was still able to provide some great data on how SSDs
built around this controller should perform down the road.  Marvell is
eager to make a name for itself on both ends of the SATA cable and we
hope to hear more from them and their partners very soon.

impressive speed data should indicate to more and more of our readers
that purchasing a motherboard with SATA 6G and USB 3.0 support today
just makes more and more sense, as long as the options are available in
your price range.  Though the P7P55D-E Premium from ASUS is on the high end at around $279, the company does have options as low as $189 with the P7P55D-E Pro
We have at least one Gigabyte motherboard in house that has support for
both USB 3.0 and SATA 6G that we will be testing over the weekend most
likely and I am sure MSI has offerings planned too.

No, you
can't buy it today, but it looks like the age of SATA 3.0 Gb/s is nearing
the end of the road for being the king of computing enthusiasts'
storage.  Solid state drives have been the catalyst of change for many
consumers and we at PC Perspective are definitely proponents of the
technology - SATA 6G will give SSDs yet another way to stand out from
the world of traditional spindle-based hard drives in 2010.

Further Reading:

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