Why exactly are ASMEDIA's SATA controllers so crappy?

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,378
763
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I don't get it, why the heck are their SATA controllers so bad?
We are talking of a 200MB/sec difference between AMD's (or Intel's) chipset and ASMEDIA's.

Most of their chipsets use PCIE gen 2 X1 = ~500MB/s.
Doing some benchmarks with a SSD, the ASMEDIA gets ~330MB/s, the integrated controller gets ~520MB/s.

So, what is the factor that is making them so slow?
 
Feb 25, 2011
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There's also some bus/parity overhead on the SATA spec. The theoretical max of 500MB/sec form the PCI-E bottleneck, is really more like 400MB/sec once you take that into account, iirc. (I _think_ that on SATA< for every 10 bits, 2 bits are parity data, and they come out of the total gbps number. I might be misremembering.)

I've seen published benchmarks where SSDs on the secondary controllers could push more like 375MB/sec, which is a lot closer to the theoretical maximum. So there may be some other reason yours are particularly slow. (Or just different versions of older/newer controllers.)

In many cases, during a transitional period, the first generation of hardware for a newer protocol (e.g., SATA3) might be only slightly modified hardware from the previous gen (e.g., SATA2) which technically supports the newer speed, but still incorporates some older bottlenecks or design decisions which prevent it from achieving the maximum speed of the newer protocol. This isn't unique to SATA at all. It's all about the check-boxes on the marketing pamphlet.

But ultimately: they're on there to be secondary controllers for additional spinning HDDs etc. They're cheap. They only have the processing "oomph" to handle one or two SATA devices at most. That's the simple answer.
 

nerp

Diamond Member
Dec 31, 2005
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Yes, the assmedia is usually tacked on to give you extra ports for hard drives, etc.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
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Cuz they probably like $3.75 each. Like most other chip vendors probably have a full line-up of products from economy to premium and these are just the bottom end of their line.
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
12,963
3,556
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I don't get it, why the heck are their SATA controllers so bad?
They don't want to break company tradition.

After all these years of them being slower than what Intel offered, it's safe to say they will likely always be that way. At least they're very consistent. ;)
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,803
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There's also some bus/parity overhead on the SATA spec. The theoretical max of 500MB/sec form the PCI-E bottleneck, is really more like 400MB/sec once you take that into account, iirc. (I _think_ that on SATA< for every 10 bits, 2 bits are parity data, and they come out of the total gbps number. I might be misremembering.)
PCIe 1.1/2.0 uses 8/10bit encoding, so you're not misremembering. Add SATA and controller overhead, the usual "real-world overhead", and ~350MB/s sounds about right. PCIe 3.0 uses 128/130bit encoding, so there is far less overhead using that. But there aren't any cheap controllers using it yet.

If your controller happens to be an early revision with early firmware, some inefficiency can sneak in there too. A firmware update can help in that case.

But ultimately: they're on there to be secondary controllers for additional spinning HDDs etc. They're cheap. They only have the processing "oomph" to handle one or two SATA devices at most. That's the simple answer.
That is really the long and short of it.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
14,768
3,538
136
Asmedia has been better for me than the crappy marvel controllers that evga uses on their boards. Those things would randomly drop my drives forcing me to reboot constantly all day long.
 
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nerp

Diamond Member
Dec 31, 2005
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Yes, I have never had a direct negative experience with Asmedia stuff. Then again, I don't really use SATA HDDs anymore on any production machines and if I did, I'd only need 1 or 2 tops.
 

Elixer

Lifer
May 7, 2002
10,378
763
126
Asmedia has been better for me than the crappy marvel controllers that evga uses on their boards. Those things would randomly drop my drives forcing me to reboot constantly all day long.
I never ran into Marvel controllers for 5-6 years. What are their speeds?
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
14,768
3,538
136
I never ran into Marvel controllers for 5-6 years. What are their speeds?
I never benched the drives, just standard wd blacks, but the controller would drop them continuously forcing a reboot to see them again.
 

tcsenter

Lifer
Sep 7, 2001
17,845
20
81
Asmedia has been better for me than the crappy marvel controllers that evga uses on their boards. Those things would randomly drop my drives forcing me to reboot constantly all day long.
I was reading through reviews of SATA (with or without) RAID cards, two and four ports, because I knew Silicon Image and Marvell had in the past been the topic of many forum threads reporting or seeking help with glitchy behavior. A CSR comment from one manufacturer who offers cards based on chips from all three vendors recommended the ASMedia over the Silicon Image and Marvell stuff because only ASMedia is currently supporting their products. Nearly all the Silicon Image and Marvell stuff has been EOL for a full three or four years. They are still making/shipping cards based on the chips, though.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
14,768
3,538
136
The marvel controlled sata ports on my evga z87 ftw and z97 ftw boards would electrify my cables and if they came into contact with the chassis they would cause an arc and trigger the protection circuitry in the ps shutting it down. I've never seen this behavior before from an unplugged sata cable before and it didn't matter what brand I tried using the result was always the same. I was stunned the first time it happened as I was hot swapping a drive and accidentally bumped the latch against the chassis. The asmedia controllers are much better and they don't drop my drives at all. It sucks when you want to use a drive and discover that it's no longer seen by the system because the controller has wigged out.
 

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