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USB 3.0 the Real Deal, SATA 6GB Not Yet 168

MojoKid writes "HotHardware has posted a sneak peek at a new motherboard Asus has coming down the pipe with USB 3.0 and SATA 6G support. The Asus P7P55D-E Premium has a PLX PCI Express Gen 2 switch implementation that connects to NEC USB 3.0 and Marvell SATA 6G controller chips. With a USB 3.0 enabled external hard drive connected to a USB 2.0 port and then to the board's USB 3.0 port, there were some rather impressive gains to observe. When connected to a USB 3.0 port, the external hard drive was about 5 — 6x faster versus connecting over USB 2.0, with total throughput in excess of 130MB/sec. On the other hand, benchmarks with Seagate's new Barracuda XT SATA 6G drive show little performance difference but a burst rate that is off the charts. According to ATTO, there are slight overall performance benefits to be had connecting the drive to the SATA 6G controller, but the deltas were quite small; somewhere in the neighborhood of 5MB/s or so."
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USB 3.0 the Real Deal, SATA 6GB Not Yet

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @05:13AM (#29921669)
    Speed, price and ubiquity. HTH. HAND.
  • Shoddy Method (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spqr0a1 ( 1504087 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @05:16AM (#29921679)

    The Barracuda XT is a spinning platter HDD and so should not be expected to benefit significantly from the new SATA revision. SSDs on the other hand have already maxed out the transfer rate SATA 3Gbps. I suspect they would have seen the difference if they used a top of the line SSD.

    This is good news all around, it's great to see things getting faster.

  • what real deal? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by razvan784 ( 1389375 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:04AM (#29921803)
    From what I can see in the graphs the USB3 HDD is indeed faster than on USB2 because of the bandwith; the SATA HDD is about the same on SATA 2 and 3, but also pretty near USB3. The title is implying superiority of USB over SATA when clearly the HDD is the limiting factor.
  • by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:04AM (#29921807)

    It's relatively straightforward to add more parallel channels to an SSD drive and increase bandwidth. In the long run, there isn't even much of a cost difference to make the same capacity SSD drive fast enough to max out SATA 6. (the main cost driver of SSDs appears to be the cost of the flash chips themselves)

    So bring on the new drives that can max out SATA 6! Right now, you can get comparable performance if you put two or four high end SSDs into a RAID 0 array. However, there's a lot of problems with doing this : you have to fuss with software drivers, certain SSD features aren't supported very well (like Trim), and there are bottlenecks in motherboard RAID chipsets because spinning disks were never this quick. Dedicated hardware RAID cards cost $300-$1000, making the cost rather steep for most users. Finally, while SSDs probably are inherently more reliable in the long run than hard disks, it's not a good idea to build a system that depends on 2-4 separate drives, a motherboard chipset, and potentially buggy drivers or else your data is hosed.

    So I'm very much looking forward to upcoming SSDs like the Vertex 2 that should be able to max out a SATA 6 link. That is, once the SATA 6 motherboards become relatively common.

  • Re:moral? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:43AM (#29921969) Journal

    > So "SATA 6GB" is working fine, but this disk is just too slow to take advantage of its speed increase.

    You are forgetting that lots of people are switching to SSD disks with amazing throughputs.. so there is an actual benefit for SATA 6GB. I for one welcome the new SATA 6GB overlord.

  • misleading (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SkunkPussy ( 85271 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:33AM (#29922161) Journal

    article title is misleading, it should be "usb 3 sucks, sata6 is amazing"

  • by gordguide ( 307383 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:56AM (#29922273)

    " ... When connected to a USB 3.0 port, the external hard drive was about 5 -- 6x faster versus connecting over USB 2.0, with total throughput in excess of 130MB/sec. On the other hand, benchmarks with Seagate's new Barracuda XT SATA 6G drive show little performance difference but a burst rate that is off the charts. ..."

    So, the USB 3 will be attractive to consumers, with big, impressive numbers written large on boxes in stores everywhere, and the SATA 6G will be attractive to content creators (high end video production, etc). USB 3 will be cheap, and SATA 6G will be not-so-cheap.

    About 99 out of 100 moderately clued in techies could have guessed the outcome of this one.

    [Fudges around in toy box under desk ... pulls out crystal ball ... can barely discern "hippy type art school grad" reading AmandTech article dated Feb 2010 ...]

    "Yeah, but wait ... it says here that if you load up the USB 3 with more than one device, they both really slow down, but my film lab's SATA 3G just keeps on truckin' when you daisy-chain them ..."


  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petermgreen ( 876956 ) <[ten.knil01p] [ta] [hsawgulp]> on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:41AM (#29922477) Homepage

    Now even Apple is dropping Firewire from their most popular models.
    Do you have a source for that claim or are you just guessing as to what apples most popular models are?

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:43AM (#29922485)

    Firewire 1600 / 3200 is better as it uses the same cables and ports as firewire 800. USB 3.0 needs new cables and ports also how high is the cpu load?

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:10AM (#29922731) Journal

    FireWire devices are not allowed to draw (or provide) more than 40W if they want to stick within the spec. Unfortunately, that's not particularly useful. 40W would be enough to power my external disks, but my MacBook Pro does not have enough power for this. The peer to peer nature of FireWire is the problem here. There is no client-server relationship between devices, and so there is no provider-consumer model intrinsic in a FireWire chain when it comes to power. This means that you can't design devices with the assumption that any power will be available over the port. Many computers come with 4-pin FireWire ports, and if you plug things into these you won't even have the power pins connected. In contrast, every USB device can guarantee that it can get the power that it requests, either from the computer or the hub.

    And it's not just 40% faster. One drive was 40% faster. I assume USB can scale to at least 2 devices, so that would make it 280% faster. Compared to FireWire 800, of course. FireWire 3200 has been promised for almost a decade, but still isn't shipping. The big advantage FireWire had, apart from speed, was the ability to do isochronous transfers, which USB added. The peer to peer model is nice on paper, but the only time I've used it was to connect two computers together so that one that was connected to a wired ethernet link could share its network connection with the other. Being able to print directly from a camera sounds nice, but cameras and printers are both shipping with USB and not FireWire, and it turned out that just putting a USB host controller on the camera worked just as well and was cheaper.

  • Re:Firewire owners (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:15AM (#29922763) Journal
    I like FireWire, but I think at this point it's dead. I have a couple of external FireWire 800 disks, but every other peripheral that I own is now USB. With USB 3, FireWire 800 is now much slower, so if I buy another disk it will be USB 3, not FireWire 800. The next laptop that I buy will have several USB 3 ports and I will be able to plug anything into them, from mice up to disk arrays. FireWire 3200 has been promised for years, but still isn't shipping, while USB 3 and eSATA both are. eSATA is a better choice if you just want disks, USB 3 is a better choice if you want flexibility (there are a lot more USB devices than FireWire devices, and FireWire 400, 800, and 3200 all have different connectors).
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @11:43AM (#29924611)

    There probably won't be FW1600/3200 at all. It'll be abandoned for USB.

    Sure there may be a device or two created by some not so bright producers but the reality is they'll fade away and be forgotten.

    It doesn't make a blind bit of difference how good something is, it only matters that average punter will buy it. USB will be everywhere, firewire will not. I stopped giving a shit about competing standards years ago.


  • Re:moral? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RoboRay ( 735839 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:37PM (#29925479)

    If the reason SATA 6GB exists is to boost SSD performance, then the should have TESTED it with an SSD.

  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teh*fink ( 618609 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @12:55PM (#29925685) Journal

    agreed. also, i think a lot of mac users appreciate target disk mode. i use it daily: []

  • Re:moral? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <> on Friday October 30, 2009 @01:34PM (#29926161) Homepage Journal

    And that's why some people call this HotHardware article "shoddy journalism".

    I'm sure there are other articles which test SSD drives.

    SATA Third generation is a new standard, and disks are just coming out now. I wouldn't expect to much until the vendors come out with new, competitive products.

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