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.
Just a heads up, there’s a
Just a heads up, there’s a small mistake on the “The Hardware and test setup” page, that reads: “Intel’s Core i7-5960X and 16GB of DDR3 running at 1866 MHz were used as well” I assume that’s supposed to be DDR4?
Is the Utility just för
Is the Utility just för external drives atm?
I’d be curious to see how
I’d be curious to see how well current USB devices fair in the new 3.1 port, for example, a Corsair Flash Voyager GTX seems like that might have all the parts to get within the higher end ball park. and it figures I just bought a rampage V extreme
Check the results in the
Check the results in the chart on the last page. The Samsung T1 is tested on VIA, Intel, and the ASMedia 3.1 port. The T1 is about as fast as you're going to see for a USB 3.0 device.
Will there be dual USB 3.1
Will there be dual USB 3.1 controllers for PCs/Laptops, with the ability to drive 2 10Gbs transfers simultaneously, or will it mostly be one controller and a few USB 3.1 attached plugs sharing bandwidth? For sure the laptop OEMs will be adopting the Type-C form factor plug standard, but how long will it take for the USB 3.1 controller to begin appearing in laptops.
The ASMedia chip is a dual
The ASMedia chip is a dual USB 3.1 device (i.e. two channels).
Ryan, Thanks for this timely
Ryan, Thanks for this timely review.
Please, one question I cannot answer completely concerns that third device in your first photo:
Is that a power brick and, if so, I thought USB 3.1 provides its own DC power?
You write: “The external enclosure is powered by a standard microUSB connection”
Thanks for clarifying.
The ASMedia RAID solution
The ASMedia RAID solution doesn't currently support the higher power deliveries, and exceeds the max draw of the earlier spec.
This answered my
This answered my question:
“The Asus USB 3.1 Enclosure, meanwhile, is not a final retail product, merely something concocted by the Asus engineers for testing purposes. It is a simple PCB inside a black aluminium Lian Li EX-M2 enclosure, meaning it fits to the 2.5in form factor. Externally it features a micro-B USB connection for power (via mains) and a Type-C USB 3.0 connection for data transfer, as well as a series of indicator LEDs and a jumper.”
This is a surprise too:
This is a surprise too: “lower power states adversely affect the performance of the ASMedia controllers, at least with the current drivers”
Evidently, when Intel’s SpeedStep steps down, the data rate suffers.
This will be something to watch for, as storage interfaces ramp up their clock rates in the visible future.
SpeedStep adds latency to any
SpeedStep adds latency to any operation that performs intermittent IO. What looks like a full speed transfer actually takes a small fraction of CPU cycles, meaning it spends a lot of time in an idle state. Spinning back up to full speed takes a small bit of time, but that adds up when you multiply it by the number of IO's.
The same applies to SATA and PCIe SSD testing, but turning off C-States just to get higher numbers is not a realistic expectation to demand of typical users.
The addon card is using PCIe
The addon card is using PCIe 8x?
In the article, see: “The
In the article, see: “The card requires a free PCIe x4 slot at Gen2 or Gen3 speeds.”
I dunno. Marketing-wise? If
I dunno. Marketing-wise? If you got 3.0 capability already, I don’t think it’s worth buying a new mobo over until maybe they get 4.0 (a 10x – like improvement). And what do you really need it for except for corner cases like this one.
Still, it’s a nice step up if you’re coming from older tech- I just don’t see a big crowd falling over themselves to upgrade to this from 3.0.
When will the Type-C
When will the Type-C connector and native Chipset support for USB 3.1 be released/included in mainstream motherboards?
It is a nice technology, I am just wondering when it will be released?
It’s a chicken and egg
It's a chicken and egg problem. Enough devices need to be available to warrant it. I think for a while we will see what we got for this review – cables going from older style (motherboard) to Type-C for the device end.
Is there any news about
Is there any news about either of Asus’s ITX boards: the ROG Impact or the Z97i-Plus?
I specifically bought a B-Plus M.2. Type M to 4x PCIe so that I could put a convertor card in and then mod my IO sheild for two 3.1 sockets.
The news about the asus card is massievly useful, and if there is no news about upgraded ITX boards is the way I will go.
I would have thought they would upgrade the ROG board as its about having the leading edge kit and has in the UK a price premium of at least $100 over the Z97i-plus.
It would certainly make me switch from a plus to a ROG!!!
Will this support networking
Will this support networking between two PCs? 10gb?
Err. This looks like a PCI-e
Err. This looks like a PCI-e X1 lane card. That is 5Gbps @ PCIe v2.0 or 8Gbps @ PCIe v3.0
How can it possibly handle 2 x 10Gbps USB 3.1 ports?
Oops. sorry didn’t see the
Oops. sorry didn’t see the line about it being a X4 card.
Wish there were more of these slots on motherboards!
Will the add in card work on
Will the add in card work on a ASUS Z87-WS…thanks for any info…
Will the add in card work on
Will the add in card work on my ASUS P9X79 WS board?