Quick Performance Preview
So let’s get down to the skinny – how does this baby perform if only in the very limited subset of tests we were able to run on it?  First, our hardware configuration:
  • Intel Core i7-860 CPU
  • ASUS P7P55D-E Premium
  • 4GB Corsair DDR3-1333
  • Windows 7 Professional x64
Again, because of the read-only state of this drive, our results are very limited; but we still think this is enough data to at least get some interesting preliminary information for upcoming SATA 6G SSDs and what they have the potential to do.  Our first test (and the only direct comparison made) is in HDTach.

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested! - Storage 10

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested! - Storage 11

The first thing we should note is that the Intel X25-M G2 SSD is essentially saturating the SATA 3.0 Gb/s bus, getting pretty close to the 300 MB/s limit when we take overheads into account.  The burst read rate on the Marvell prototype drive is able to perform at a significantly higher level pulling 90 MB/s MORE data than the Intel drive.  That is a 33% increase in performance over one of the fastest SSDs on the market today.  The difference is even more dramatic when looking at the performance of the Marvell drive compared to the standard spindle-based hard drives. 

More impressive might be the sustained read speed results that give the Marvell drive a 27% speed boost over the Intel X25-M but a massive 175% performance advantage over the speeds of even the SATA 6G-capable Seagate XT 2.0 TB hard drive!

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested! - Storage 12

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested! - Storage 13

Though I didn’t have comparison performance results for HDTune 3.5 on the other hard drives, I thought I would at least include these results here for you all to peruse.  We should note that HDTune is still a single-threaded application and as such it doesn’t appear to have the ability to really push these SSDs to the extent that applications like HDTach and IOMeter can in order get the best performance benchmarks possible.  Even without that, the Marvell prototype drive was able to pull nearly 300 MB/s.

Initial Thoughts

This was obviously a very quick test and preview of what SSDs enabled with SATA 6G-capable controllers and SATA 6G ready motherboards can bring to consumers in the near future.  We should reiterate again that this Marvell drive was a VERY early prototype that didn’t allow us to run the majority of our benchmark suite because of its read-only status – but it was still able to provide some great data on how SSDs built around this controller should perform down the road.  Marvell is eager to make a name for itself on both ends of the SATA cable and we hope to hear more from them and their partners very soon.

First SATA 6G SSD Arrives: Marvell controller prototype tested! - Storage 14

This impressive speed data should indicate to more and more of our readers that purchasing a motherboard with SATA 6G and USB 3.0 support today just makes more and more sense, as long as the options are available in your price range.  Though the P7P55D-E Premium from ASUS is on the high end at around $279, the company does have options as low as $189 with the P7P55D-E Pro.  We have at least one Gigabyte motherboard in house that has support for both USB 3.0 and SATA 6G that we will be testing over the weekend most likely and I am sure MSI has offerings planned too.

No, you can’t buy it today, but it looks like the age of SATA 3.0 Gb/s is nearing the end of the road for being the king of computing enthusiasts’ storage.  Solid state drives have been the catalyst of change for many consumers and we at PC Perspective are definitely proponents of the technology – SATA 6G will give SSDs yet another way to stand out from the world of traditional spindle-based hard drives in 2010.

Further Reading:

« PreviousNext »