Asus U3S6 Card + SSD

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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I purchased an Asus U3S6 card and have it in the recommended slot on my Asus P6T Deluxe V2 board. I was wondering if someone could answer this question:

I have been reading reviews of this card, and I am trying to see if it would be more beneficial to have only my SSDs attached to it or not. My SSDs are not SATA 6GB/sec capable but I figured I could isolate them from the ICH10R and perhaps get better IO performance from them. Does this seem logical?

Thx
 

Arcanedeath

Platinum Member
Jan 29, 2000
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You're typically better off leaving the SSD's on your Naitive SATA controlers unless you have a sata 3 SSD and I would not put more than 1 SSD on the U3S6 as the marvel sata chipset it uses only has 1x PCI-E 2.0 link and it uses a PLX bridge chip to covert it to a PCI-E 4x card. (note the usb 3 is also limited to 1x PCI-E 2.o link as well) and those 2 chips share the 4x PCI-E links bandwith.
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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You're typically better off leaving the SSD's on your Naitive SATA controlers unless you have a sata 3 SSD and I would not put more than 1 SSD on the U3S6 as the marvel sata chipset it uses only has 1x PCI-E 2.0 link and it uses a PLX bridge chip to covert it to a PCI-E 4x card. (note the usb 3 is also limited to 1x PCI-E 2.o link as well) and those 2 chips share the 4x PCI-E links bandwith.
Thanks for the reply. Here's my dilemma: I have 7 HDDs in my machine:

80GB Intel SSD G2 (OS and apps)
128GB Patriot Torqx (Oracle VirtualBox machines)
1TB Western Digital SATA HDD
4 x 2TB Seagate SATA HDDs

I also have 3 optical drives:

LG BluRay/HD-DVD/DVD Burner SATA
LiteOn SATA DVD Burner
Samsung SH-S223F SATA DVD Burner

I have an ASUS P6T deluxe V2 and it has the 6 SATA ports off the SouthBridge. I was running the 4 x 2TB HDDs off of a PCI based SATA I (150MBps) RAID card in RAID 5 but the RAID 5 failed. I also felt I was handcuffing myself by only having the drives running at SATA I and having it run off of a PCI based card. So I was trying to figure out the best way to do this. Upon further reading, I have found that the cheap SATA RAID cards are still considered software based because they have no 'brains' on the card and are not suitable for anything above RAID 0 or RAID 1. So........

I bought the U3S6 to perhaps isolate the SSDs and have them dedicated to that card. I purchased a 2 port SATA II (300MBps) PCIe 1x card that can be used in either RAID 0 or RAID 1 or I can flash the firmware on the card to a non-RAID card and use it to hook up 1 optical drive and the 1TB HDD to.

This would leave me with 2 optical drives on the native SATA ports plus the 4 x 2TB HDDs could go on the native SATA ports as well. This way I could run the Intel Matrix RAID on the 2TB drives in RAID 5 (yeah I know it is still software based RAID), boot my OS from the U3S6 card and not have any performance bottlenecks.

What do you think?
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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I'd personally run the 2 SSDs and 4x 2TB HDDs on the native Intel ICH10R ports, the 1TB drive on the U3S6 card, and the optical drives on either the 1x card or the U3S6. Reason being is you will get the maximum performance out of the SSDs, the 2TB drives can be RAIDed however you like, the 1TB drive will have plenty of bandwidth for itself courtesy of the 4x card, and the optical drives need so little bandwidth that putting them on even PCIe 1x expansion cards won't hamper performance at all.
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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You're typically better off leaving the SSD's on your Naitive SATA controlers unless you have a sata 3 SSD and I would not put more than 1 SSD on the U3S6 as the marvel sata chipset it uses only has 1x PCI-E 2.0 link and it uses a PLX bridge chip to covert it to a PCI-E 4x card. (note the usb 3 is also limited to 1x PCI-E 2.o link as well) and those 2 chips share the 4x PCI-E links bandwith.
I think this is incorrect. The PLX bridge chip acts as a hub only for four PCIe 1x v2.0 interfaces connected to it, which have 500Mbps bandwidth available for each of the four ports present (2x USB 3.0 and 2x SATA3).
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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I'd personally run the 2 SSDs and 4x 2TB HDDs on the native Intel ICH10R ports, the 1TB drive on the U3S6 card, and the optical drives on either the 1x card or the U3S6. Reason being is you will get the maximum performance out of the SSDs, the 2TB drives can be RAIDed however you like, the 1TB drive will have plenty of bandwidth for itself courtesy of the 4x card, and the optical drives need so little bandwidth that putting them on even PCIe 1x expansion cards won't hamper performance at all.
I think your configuration is sound. I have one concern though. I am not sure if I can boot a CD/DVD from one of the optical drives if it is hooked up to either the 1x PCIe Un-RAID card or the U3S6 card.

Thoughts?
 

FishAk

Senior member
Jun 13, 2010
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I'm not sure about that. ICH10R is advertised as supporting Raid 10, but the documentation calls it RAID 01. I couldn't find an authoritative answer as to which it is. Both are nearly as fast as RAID 0, and both can survive the loss of any one disk. The difference is in the survivability of a second disk failure. 10 is a set of striped mirrors, and 01 is a set of mirrored stripes, so the chance that the next disk to fail will be the one that kills all your data is 33% for RAID 10, and 66% for RAID 01. Also, with 01, if you suffer a third disk failure, (assuming four disks), no matter what, you will loose all the data from the array. With RAID 10, however, as long as the sole surviving disk is one of the two mirrored disks, the data can be recovered.
 

Golgatha

Lifer
Jul 18, 2003
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Plug it in and try it. That's the fastest and best way to know for sure...
This, should only take a few minutes to know for sure. Please post back as I'm curious if the U3S6 will allow booting from an optical drive. FWIW I think you'll be fine booting from the U3S6 because I boot my C300 SSD from that particular card.
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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Well my PSU is dead so after it gets replaced under warranty I'll let you guys know.

Bummer.....
 

Arcanedeath

Platinum Member
Jan 29, 2000
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Just as a note on the Asus U3S6 card. the PLX bridge chip is a PEX 8613 and it supports more bandwith than the NEC and Marvel chips that are connected to it do. it supports up to12X PCE-e 2.0 switching based on the spec sheets the Marvel & NEC controler chipsets are both PCI-E 2.0 1x devices that are hanging off the PLX bridge chip which supports more than enough bandwith for those 2 devices. that is why based on the spec sheet each the usb 3 & sata 3.0 are limited to 500 MB/S each as thats the full bandwith of 1 PCI-E 2.0 1x device. Thats the reason why you might want to consider only putting 1 SSD on the the U3S6 as if you have fast enough SSD's you may be limiting there speed. However based on the 2 SSD's that you have i don't see an issue of putting both on the U3S6 card as long as you have it in at least a 4x PCI-E gen 2.0 slot. That leaves 8 drives left, I'd put all the Mechanical HDD's on the ICH10R ports along with the blueray drive and then find a dumb sata card for the optical drives, something like a Sil 3132 based card with the non raid firmware. (these do work with optical drives with the proper firmware)
 

perdomot

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
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Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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Perdomot-

You gave me much to think about. I think after reading this I will go with Golgatha's setup suggestion as long as I can boot to a CD Rom drive from either my un-RAID card or the U3S6 card.
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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This is so frustrating. i just got my replacement PSU (Brand New HX850) installed and my problem still exists.

I think my Mobo is hosed. RMA time.....
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
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GAH!!! Ok, fixed mobo. Had something to do with the CMOS battery.

Anyways, I tried hooking up the HDDs this way:

2 x SSDs + 4 x 2TBs on the ICH10R
1 optical + 1TB drive on the U3S6 card
2 x optical on the Silicon Image RAID card

Could easily boot to the opticals from either the Silicon Image card or the U3S6 so that is confirmed. I reloaded Windows7 because I changed the ICH10R from AHCI mode to RAID mode and set the 2 SSDs to Un-Raid and the 4 x 2TB drive to RAID 10.

Performance wise it was 'ok', but what I did notice is the 1TB HDD that holds all of my DLed software seemed much slower in terms of installing software on to my SSD drive when it is connected to the U3S6 card. Hence, confirming what has been said previously that the U3S6 card has lower I/Os than the onboard ICH10R.

I also tried switching the 1TB HDD to the Silicon Image card and the results were the same.

But, I switched the 1TB HDD with one of the SSDs(not my OS drive, obviously) and tried installing software from there and it performed much better.

So, I am kinda of stuck now. I do not want to limit the performance of any of the HDDs (either the SSDs or the HDDs) but I am limited in the number of ports I have on the ICH10R. I guess my only other option is to get rid of the U3S6 card and the 2 port Silicon Image card in favor of a 4 port PCIe raid card for the 2TB HDDs.

Thoughts?
 
May 29, 2010
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Compared to the current Intel SATA2 chipset controller/drivers, all the others low-priced SATA controllers suck, 6GB or not. You might get a few areas where the sequential reads benchmarks are gonna be great on the 6GB controller, but for everything else you actually do, the Intel will be faster (like small random read/writes, etc), more efficient, and a hell of a lot more compatible.
 

perdomot

Golden Member
Dec 7, 2004
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GAH!!! Ok, fixed mobo. Had something to do with the CMOS battery.

Anyways, I tried hooking up the HDDs this way:

2 x SSDs + 4 x 2TBs on the ICH10R
1 optical + 1TB drive on the U3S6 card
2 x optical on the Silicon Image RAID card

Could easily boot to the opticals from either the Silicon Image card or the U3S6 so that is confirmed. I reloaded Windows7 because I changed the ICH10R from AHCI mode to RAID mode and set the 2 SSDs to Un-Raid and the 4 x 2TB drive to RAID 10.

Performance wise it was 'ok', but what I did notice is the 1TB HDD that holds all of my DLed software seemed much slower in terms of installing software on to my SSD drive when it is connected to the U3S6 card. Hence, confirming what has been said previously that the U3S6 card has lower I/Os than the onboard ICH10R.

I also tried switching the 1TB HDD to the Silicon Image card and the results were the same.

But, I switched the 1TB HDD with one of the SSDs(not my OS drive, obviously) and tried installing software from there and it performed much better.

So, I am kinda of stuck now. I do not want to limit the performance of any of the HDDs (either the SSDs or the HDDs) but I am limited in the number of ports I have on the ICH10R. I guess my only other option is to get rid of the U3S6 card and the 2 port Silicon Image card in favor of a 4 port PCIe raid card for the 2TB HDDs.

Thoughts?
I feel for you man. Nothing worse than feeling like you just wasted some money for nothing. I ordered a small SIIG usb 3.0 card to use in my X1 slot and just put my drives on the mobo sata ports. I'd probably get a good raid card from Promise or Highpoint for my raid needs if I were you
 

Burner27

Diamond Member
Jul 18, 2001
4,373
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I don't have any USB 3 capable devices, nor do I have any SATA Gen 3 devices.........


Um, why the hell did I buy this card again? I am thinking about taking it out and putting it in my 'basket of worthless add-in cards" unless someone can convince me otherwise to leave it in.


I ended up getting a 4 port PCI Silicon Image based card for the 4 x 2TB HDDs ($29). It works perfectly and fits my needs.
 

Arcanedeath

Platinum Member
Jan 29, 2000
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Arcanedeath

Platinum Member
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I have a 256GB C300 SSD on the way actually, it's s scheduled to arrive July 8th, I'll run some tests once it arrives on X58 ICH10R vs the Asus U3S6 card. If you look at the first article I linked in my last post it gives a good idea on how it should perform.
 

Kantastic

Platinum Member
Sep 23, 2009
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You bought it for $10 buddy (like hundreds of others did when it was on sale @ ZZF), it's hardly a loss if you toss it.
 

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