The Hardware and Test Setup

In order to test the ASUS implementations of the new USB 3.1 standard the company sent over a couple of products for us to use.

First we have to have the add-in card itself – the ASUS USB 3.1 Card as it is cleverly named. The card requires a free PCIe x4 slot at Gen2 or Gen3 speeds. The expansion card has two teal-colored USB 3.1 Type-A connections, as will all of the first round of motherboards with integrated USB 3.1 support, in order to facilitate backwards compatibility.

Also included from ASUS was a custom built, prototype enclosure to test current USB 3.1 performance.

The ASUS USB 3.1 Card is powered by an ASMedia 1142 controller and there isn't much else be curious about on the card other than that. No external power is required. As of this writing, ASUS looks like it is going to (attempt to) restrict the installation of the card only into ASUS motherboards. The company claims that UEFI tweaks were necessary to enable support for it and they are unlikely to do so in other vendors' products.

UPDATE: After talking with ASUS on this topic it appears that this card will work with non-ASUS motherboards though they will "recommend to use the add-on card only on ASUS motherboard for the best optimized performance and the best compatibility."

ASUS as decided go with a teal color for USB 3.1 ports, both on its motherboards as well as this add-in card in order to help builders recognize the difference at a glance. At first I thought there was simply an ink error at the manufacturing facility, but its good to know you won't have to guess which ports are USB 3.1.

The external enclosure is powered by a standard microUSB connection though data comes from one the fancy new USB Type-C connections. This connector is totally independent of USB 3.1 but will be a welcome change as it gets rolled out, preventing "upside down" installation attempts. Performance is unaffected though. This device does not support UASP so it will see advantages of the Turbo Mode that ASUS enables on standard BOT.

Inside the USB 3.1 enclosure were a pair of Samsung 840 EVO mSATA SSDs, each with a 250GB capacity. The device is hard coded to enable a striped, RAID-0 array for optimal performance and our testing was done using that setup.

Benchmarks were run on an ASUS X99-Deluxe motherboard with the updated and support UEFI version. Intel's Core i7-5960X and 16GB of DDR4 running at 1866 MHz were used as well. Allyn installed the Intel P3700 NVMe PCI Express SSD to act as the target destination for reads and writes to make sure we are seeing the full capability of the ASUS USB 3.1 implementation.

« PreviousNext »