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Upgrades Data Storage Hardware Technology

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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  • 5x-6x times faster?! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @05:04AM (#29921635)

    oh this sounds too good to be true

  • SATA 3 is for SSDs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by distantbody ( 852269 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @05:43AM (#29921743) Journal
    SATA 2 is already a bottleneck for many SSDs as this [] chart shows them hitting a wall at approximately 260MB/s. SATA 3 should release the proverbial floodgates for sequential reads.

    On a tangent, Samsung just started mass production of a 64MB, 60nm phase-change RAM in September. Initially they are going to use them in mobile phones. The chips read, write and erase approximately 7 times faster than Flash memory, and also use less power. Sooner rather than later Samsung or the other PRAM producer Numonyx will put the chips in SSDs that can read and write at around 1GB per second.
  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:43AM (#29921965) Journal

    It's faster. In their tests, they were getting 140MB/s transfers through USB3 to a single drive. I have two (older, slower) drives that can, between them, saturate a FireWire 800 bus giving me a total throughput of a shade under 100MB/s. One thing the tests didn't show was how well USB3 scales. What happens when you plug two disks in to a single USB3 port? What about four or five? I can chain together FireWire 800 disks and see it scale almost linearly, but can I do the same with USB3 hubs? In real-world usage, USB2 was much slower than FireWire 400 due to protocol overhead. Has this been improved with USB3? What happens if I run a USB1 keyboard on the same hub as my USB3 disk? The FireWire standard goes up to 3200Mb/s, although I've never seen an implementation that goes over 800. USB3, apparently, gives the same speed after protocol overhead, but how close to this can it get in the real world? USB 2 had a very high CPU load compared to FireWire, has this been fixed with USB3?

    It seems that USB3 has fixed most of the things that made FireWire better than USB2, and FireWire 3200 isn't supported anywhere that I've seen, so USB3 probably has more long term future. It's not clear that USB3 is better than FireWire 3200, but it does have one big advantage: it's actually being deployed. It is clearly superior to FireWire 800, which is the fastest FireWire you'll find on existing systems.

  • Price of USB 3.0 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TorKlingberg ( 599697 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @06:44AM (#29921973)

    The big question with USB 3.0 is the price. That is the big advantage of USB over competitors like FireWire. Cables, host controllers, devices, hubs, everything is cheap. USB 3.0 looks a lot more complicated. The cables are much thicker with more wires and shielding. A USB 3.0 hub has to contain everything a USB 2.0 hub does, plus the new SuperSpeed part which is no longer just a dumb hub but more like a switch or router.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:02AM (#29922041)

    there already is
    just pack that into sata controler, and sata3 is no more.

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:17AM (#29922097)

    My issues with USB 2.0 are not so much about speed:

    1- there's that ridiculous fudging about hi-speed, full-speed... is USB 3.0 **ALWAYS** USB 3.0, at last ?

    2- I've got a bunch of 2.0 stuff (whichever 2.0 that was) that only works if I set my PC's USB ports as 1.0 only.

    3- Even 2.0 stuff that kinda works has a way to make any non-intel-chipset PC freezy-jerky

    4- I very rarely got anywhere near the supposed speed of 2.0 anyway.

    In the end, I'd rather have a reliable, compatible, no PC freezes connection, than a "if everything works well" (read: rarely if ever) 10x faster one.

  • USB3 superior to FW? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @07:35AM (#29922169)

    It's faster. In their tests, they were getting 140MB/s transfers through USB3 to a single drive. I have two (older, slower) drives that can, between them, saturate a FireWire 800 bus giving me a total throughput of a shade under 100MB/s.[...] It is clearly superior to FireWire 800, which is the fastest FireWire you'll find on existing systems.

    Well, it's 40% faster over the bus, but beyond that, is there anything inherit in the standard that's better?

    Future ubiquity will certainly help, but if USB3's CPU overhead is as bad as USB2, it will mean the 3 out of 4 cores will be used by transferring at top speed.

    Another possible advantage of FW is that it can provide a lot more bus power. USB can deliver 2.5W at 5V; FW can deliver 10 to 20W on average, but can hit 60W with a 30V rail. If you design your external device correctly, it means you don't need to connect a power supply when attached via FW.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:11AM (#29922333)

    In 2 years, yes.

  • esata (Score:2, Interesting)

    by orange47 ( 1519059 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:30AM (#29922421)
    but USB3 is probably *slower* than eSATA when used with external SATA HDD.. and most of motherboards already have that connector.
  • Firewire owners (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ilgaz ( 86384 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:44AM (#29922503) Homepage

    If you owned a firewire 800 disk drive, you would be smiling like me now.

    When FW1600/3200 gets out of door, it will be same endless saga again since they will beat USB 3 too. They should also check the load on host CPU while doing those USB 3 speeds. Intel's standard is still host (CPU) controlled. Surprised a bit?

  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by willy_me ( 212994 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @08:57AM (#29922607)

    Apple might have been one of the big names behind 1394 - but there were many others. Apple never had much of a say as to what the royalties would be. They even gave away their trademark name "Firewire" in order to help with adoption. Eventually the 1394 royalties were reduced to 25c a device but by this time USB2 was already in the market.

    But you are correct about greed in the beginning. Had the group of companies kept 1394 affordable (ie, 10c a device) then Intel would never have developed USB 2.0 in the first place. After all, Intel was originally a supporter of 1394.

  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Friday October 30, 2009 @09:01AM (#29922635) Journal

    Now even Apple is dropping Firewire from their most popular models.

    Somebody ought to tell the pro audio manufacturers. I just got the Musicians Friend Christmas Catalog, and there are a host of new Firewire interfaces, including the Focusrite Saffire series (I bought the Saffire DSP 24 and it's one of the nicest portable DAW interfaces I've used, and goes for $399! (DSP! for 399!). Companies from Apogee to M-Audio to RME to MOTU to Avid, Prosonus, Edirol, and I could go on, are all bringing out new Firewire interfaces. Some of them, like the slick-looking Apogee models, with their phenomenal AD/DA converters, are Mac only.

    Look, I don't think Firewire is the end-all. Personally, I don't mind opening up my computer's case and putting in a card, so I wish more of the companies were coming out with really good PCI-E DAW interfaces or something. But I think that unless Apple is ready to cede their strong portion of the pro audio market, they won't kill Firewire any time soon. USB 2.0 has been somewhat underwhelming for audio performance (at least most of the USB 2.0 audio interfaces that have come out have been underwhelming, which is not the same thing).

    That is, I don't see Apple giving up on FW unless they start coming out with Macs that you can open up and install your own hardware that don't cost $3k. Or if USB 3.0 is so great and all the pro audio manufacturers start coming out with USB 3.0 gear.

  • PIO or DMA? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by etnoy ( 664495 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:13AM (#29923337) Homepage
    Sure you can yank up the bandwidth of USB3, but as long as you're stuck with PIO that isn't much of a gain. I would rather have USB3 have a DMA extension for really fast transfers instead of having to have the CPU wake up for every little I/O operation. On a related note, does anybody know any laptop brand that sells computers *with eSata*? That would be awesome.
  • Light Peak (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday October 30, 2009 @10:31AM (#29923557)
    I wonder if even Intel's heart is in USB any more. USB 3 sounds considerably more complex than previous versions, not just for the chipsets but in terms of the cost of cabling etc. I wonder if the tech is going to see serious adoption. Intel are already talking up Light Peak which has a potential for insane transfer rates. I expect USB will be around for a long time yet, but I wonder if USB 3 will have time to become established before something much better appears.
  • Re:IEEE1394 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Friday October 30, 2009 @03:49PM (#29927975) Homepage Journal

    Except that Intel has everything to gain from USB over Firewire. USB has higher CPU overhead (they sell CPUs) and requires a controlling host (more CPUs sold).

    Firewire can run between two low-powered devices, leaving Intel off the radar.

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