SATA, USB and FireWire Speeds
Using HDTach 188.8.131.52 and a few handy peripherals, we were able to get some benchmark numbers off of both the SATA controllers on the boards as well as the USB and FireWire connections.
SATA Performance — South Bridge
Here we tested the two south bridge based SATA controllers. On the A8R32 that means the ULi M1575 chipset and on the A8N32 that is the NVIDIA MCP. We used a new Raptor 150 GB 10k RPM hard drive for the test drive.
SATA Performance — Third Party
This test looks at the extra SATA controllers on the motherboards, and in this instance both are the same Silicon Image 3132 logic.
Taking a 7200 RPM IDE external hard drive from Western Digital we use HDTach to find the top transfer speeds on both motherboards.
This external drive has both USB 2.0 and FireWire support so these results are from the same drive with the FireWire connection.
Performance between the two NVIDIA motherboards is nearly identical, with the Asus A8R32-MVP, that uses the ULi south bridge chip, slightly ahead in SATA performance. All three boards use the same Silicon Image chip for their secondary SATA connections and all three have identical performance, as we would expect.
The USB performance on the AN8 32X right up there with that of the A8N32-SLI board from Asus, though the ATI Xpress 3200 board still has lower numbers here. The Firewire standard is much more stable here as all three boards perform identically.