SATA, USB and FireWire Speeds
Using HDTach 22.214.171.124 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. We used a new Raptor 150 GB 10k RPM hard drive for the test drive.
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.
The SATA write performance on the ATI chipset motherboards is surprisingly high — in fact I am sure these results are not accurate but the read and burst rates are good across all the platforms. USB performance on the XPress 3200 chipset is lower than on the NF590 SLI chipset, but both are reasonably fast for USB drives. The same goes for FireWire; NVIDIA has the advantage here.