Question PCIE 2.0 vs PCIE 3.0 for a Marvell SATA controller -- who cares?


Jun 30, 2004
Departing from my TLTRs, I'm just seeking some casual "second opinion" comments here.

I'm building a system on my patio table with dated, surplus parts -- for a couple reasons of my own -- and I know some have already urged me to shell out for a motherboard/CPU bundle that's more current. But this seems to be the most useful thing I can do for my needs at the moment.

OK. so here's the story. The motherboard has six SATA ports -- a common configuration with an Intel controller chip. I'm trying to avoid sharing bandwidth with any M.2 devices. I still use optical drives, so my slimline BD-RW takes one port. Two 2.5" hot-swap drive bays use two more. I've custom-fitted dual e-SATA ports into a case mod, similar to what I've done on the currently-running "twin" system, so that's at least one or two more ports depending on whether I want just one or both for use. That's fully 5 on-board ports that will be used.

On the current running system (used for typing this thread and other things), I also have a Startech [Marvell] SATA controller -- a more recent model. I can't remember if it was made to the PCIE 2.0 or 3.0 standard. Rather than buy a new one, I have two of these spare units in my parts locker, used for the Windows Home Server 2011 which I took apart and replaced some five years ago. They still sell them. They are made to the PCIE 2.0 spec. Look at the freaking price they're asking, and they're still available!

Given the speed limitation of SATA spinners -- likely the only kind of devices that I might connect to the controller, I don't think it makes a hilla-beans difference to use a PCIE 2.0 card in a PCIE 3.0 slot. [Yes -- I know we're rocking PCIE 4.0 now . . . I'm not too concerned about my dated systems just at the moment or for remainder of the year].

Does that sound about right to you? Those little boards were quite good for what I'd used them for previously. They featured Hyper-Duo and that feature to extend the number of ports -- I forget what it's called. Oh -- I think they called it "port multiplier". Why buy a PCIE 3.0 card, when it seems like the PCIE 2.0 unit will do just as well for what I need it for? [If you can even call it a "need".]