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  Topic : [Problem]Marvell Controller...should I bother? New Topic
art2011
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Posted:2/22/2011 11:54:00 AM # 1
Do many people use this controller for their SATA 6.0 Gb/s drives? I have a Western Digital Black Caviar SATA 3 drive, but everything I hear about this controller is bad..should I waste time trying to extract the whatever minor data transfer rate I can or should I just attach it to the more robust albeit slower Intel controller?

I have an SSD drive on SATA1, and a DVD on SATA6..should I just attach this drive to SATA3?

Wish I could get the SATA 3 transfer rates, but I don't think I'll see any noticeable improvement using this drive with the Marvell controller. I'm not running a RAID configuration.



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Yellowbeard
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Posted:2/23/2011 4:22:00 AM # 2
The last bit of testing I did showed the Intel ICH10-R controller as the better overall performer. Read speeds on SATA3/6Gb drives was a bit higher but the write speeds were also lower when comparing the same drive on the 2 controllers.

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Magnetar
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Posted:2/23/2011 5:32:00 AM # 3
Unfortunately, SATA 6Gb/s HDD's are not what they are advertised to be, they may support those standards, but they do not even surpass SATA 3Gb/s speeds.  A handful of SSDs are capable of doing so, and even those have built in RAID arrays, such as the IBIS SSDs from OCZ.  Check out the comment on this page regarding HDD speeds:

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/3tb-hdd_3.html#sect0

I tested my Intel SSD on the Intel ICH10R interface, and the Marvell 9128 interface, using AS SSD Benchmark.  The score was a little bit less on the Marvell interface, by about 5%.

The PC hardware review web sites are being very careful about their comments on SATA 6Gb/s HDDs, they casually mention that overall all HDDs cannot surpass SATA 3Gb/s speeds, which they now state in practice cannot exceed 260 MegaBytes/s.  IMO they should be ripping these manufactures for claiming their HDDs run at SATA 6Gb/s speeds.  But the subtle point is that those drives implement the standards for the SATA 6Gb/s interface, which does not necessarily mean they can transfer data in that range. 

If a HDD did exceed SATA 3Gb/s speeds, that would be big news and would be highlighted as a major story on their web sites.  Imagine, a HDD that surpassed most if not all standard SSDs in sequential read or write speeds, IMO that would be the story of the year and the talk of PC enthusiasts everywhere.  But ask yourself, have you ever seen that?

If someone can show me examples of HDDs performing beyond SATA 3Gb/s speeds, I'd love to see them and will be happy to say I was wrong.

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art2011
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Posted:2/23/2011 9:39:00 AM # 4
That's all I needed to hear..thanks guys..time to disable the marvell..



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Magnetar
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Posted:2/23/2011 10:58:00 AM # 5
Well, I don't want you to think the Marvell interface is useless, it isn't.  It just needs some study to figure out how it works.  If you have more drives than the SATA 3Gb/s ports, then by all means use the Marvell's.

Also, if you want to create a RAID array, the Marvell ports will likely perform very well, as some people on this forum have reported.  Not that they are without problems it seems, but RAID setups are not plug-n-play.

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Will
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Posted:2/24/2011 1:23:00 AM # 6

Usually Magnetar offers excellent advice, but here I'd disagree, as I think the Marvell 9128 is as close to useless as you can get. The 91xx controllers have more bugs then a rain forest that present in every conceivable role you'd want to use the device, this has been widely experienced and discussed on every forum where products containing 91xx controllers are reviewed or sold.

What's more both Marvell, and the dozens of OEMs that have used these controllers refuse to comment on the many issues with this device (TRIM support, RAID failures, collision issues, device connection issues) or issue updates; it does have an on-board BIOS that can be updated but there have been no updates for it directly or via integrated system BIOS updates, and neither have the drives seen any documented improvement in over a year.

I postulate, along with at least one off the record Reviewer that these controllers were rushed to market and onto the products that include them simply to get the SATA 6Gb/s specification, logos, and what not to make products appear competitive with other products that did the same thing.

That's the bad news, the good news is: in practical terms the Intel IC10HR controller on our chosen board is superb; it's amost as fast enough to keep up with the fastest SSD, and more fast enough for most, it's write performance is faster then the 9128, and most importantly it's mature, well documented, reliable and has excellent frequently updated drivers.

There's also considerable performance benefit to be had by disabling the Marvell 9128 on the Sabertooth x58: you'll get much faster boot times, and free up PCI resources that will further improve IC10HR performance, as well as video performance in 3D applications and games.

Unless and until Marvell comes clean with an explicit statements, documentation and updates for the Marvel 91xx controllers, they and their 91xx controllers are a black dot on my radar, and based on nearly a year of strongly negative market fall-out I'd suggest you approach the use of this device with extreme caution or not at all...

=O/

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Yellowbeard
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Posted:2/24/2011 1:49:00 AM # 7
This reminds of when the ATA-133 HDD standard was released. People got all excited about "faster" drives and better performance.

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Will
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Posted:2/24/2011 3:08:00 AM # 8
LOL, well I think in the PC marketplace specifications and even standards were coopted and even sometimess controlled by Marketing long before the ATA-133 specification. The 56k (aka V.90 - V.92) dial-up modem spec comes to mind as a 'poster child' for this kind of thing where the 'new and improved' standard and specification is proped up to look like it's double the previous dominent spec at 28.8k, (33.6k V.34 didn't have time to become really popular) where even under ideal circumstnaces the difference wasn't even a fractional improvement in terms real throughput...

Some people are seem shocked at learning about this sort of thing, and while I can understand where money has been spent there's disappointment, I don't think anyone should be surprised considering bigger lies, distractions, diversions, and malfeasance takes place every day, in almost every segment of the economy and politics -- often where there's far less at stake.

=O)

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Magnetar
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Posted:2/24/2011 4:21:00 AM # 9
Will wrote:  "more bugs then a rain forest"

That is hilarious
, just the comment, I'll need to remember that one!!

Not that I disagree Will, I'm just trying to be positive and give the Marvell interface the benefit of the doubt, as they say.

Perhaps we should consider the Marvell interface as a challenge, rather than a failure (OMG, talk about spin... I'm getting dizzy...)

I must say that some of the problems users have with it are due to trying to use it in a situation where it either simply won't work, or is tricky getting it right.  For example, using the Marvell interface to install an OS the first time the PC is started is almost guaranteed to be an epic fail, since at that point there is no driver installed for the Marvell chip, and since drives connected to the Marvell interface don't appear in the standard Boot Configuration menu in the BIOS. 

The main problem with all that is the utter lack of documentation regarding using that interface in that situation in the manual... IMO.  Is that a subtle hint?

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Will
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Posted:2/24/2011 6:00:00 AM # 10

Quote:
Author: Magnetar Posted: 2/24/2011 4:21:00 AM

I must say that some of the problems users have with it are due to trying to use it in a situation where it either simply won't work, or is tricky getting it right.  For example, using the Marvell interface to install an OS the first time the PC is started is almost guaranteed to be an epic fail, since at that point there is no driver installed for the Marvell chip, and since drives connected to the Marvell interface don't appear in the standard Boot Configuration menu in the BIOS. 

The main problem with all that is the utter lack of documentation regarding using that interface in that situation in the manual... IMO.  Is that a subtle hint?

Well too subtle for ASUS and Marvell apparently, louder please... The thing is, 'the problems users have with it are due to trying to use it in a situation where it either simply won't work, or is tricky getting it right' really should not present as the issues they do for a SATA interface that's functioning properly, that they do makes the 91xx so far off spec that weighed with the other issues of the product I just do not trust the thing as a pipeline for any of my data, no  matter how trivial.

The small read only performance hit you take using the ICH10R over the 9128, is in my humble opinion trivial compared to the parade float of issues you roll with trying to keep things going with the 9128, that it also incurs performance hit on the PCI bus, and on boot time makes it an easy decision to switch the thing off indefinately or until Marvell does something.  Summarily I think the 9128 is a crap-float not unlike the Realtek LOMs and Audio Codecs offering motherboard OEMs the fastest, dirtiest and cheapest means to marketable features.

I'd love for Marvell to update the firmware and drivers for the 9128, and for everything to be peachy... But 91xx controllers have been on the market now for over a year, with the same issues presenting on a wide variety of mainboards and daughter cards that Marvell has made no visible effort to reconcile.  Unless or until they do -- staying clear of the thing is an easy recommendation to make and giving Marvell and ASUS any more 'benefit of the doubt' at this point is just giving them more slack to jerk us around.

=O/

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