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Thread: ASRock Z77 Professional. Best SATA ports to us for RAID1 and boot drive question

  1. #1
    HarryWolfHaller is offline Junior Member
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    Default ASRock Z77 Professional. Best SATA ports to us for RAID1 and boot drive question

    Which SATA ports will give me the best performance with my 3 hard drives?

    My boot drive is an SSD and both RAID drives are WD20EARX's. All are 6Gb/s drives. I have several choices of SATA connectors to use.

    1) Use the 2 SATA3 6GB/s ports controlled by the Intel chip for the RAID1. Then for the boot drive either a SATA2 3Gb/s port controlled by the Intel chip or a SATA3 6Gb/s not controlled by the Intel Chip.
    2) use SATA2 3Gb/s ports controled by the Intel chip for RAID1 allowing boot drive to be connected to a SATA3 6Gb/s controlled by the Intel chip.

    My understanding is I'm best off using the SATA ports controlled by the Intel chip but only 2 of those are SATA3 6gb/s.

    I hope I've made sense. This is my first post to a forum.

    The problem might boil down to 2 questions:
    1) What is the real world performance difference between the SATA3 6Gb/s controlled by the Intel chip and those controlled by the ASMedia ASM1061 chip.
    2) What is the real world performance difference if my RAID1 is on SATA3 6Gb/s or SATA2 3Gb/s ports?

    Thanks for any help!
    Last edited by HarryWolfHaller; 01-09-2013 at 04:59 PM.

  2. #2
    parsec's Avatar
    parsec is online now Senior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock Z77 Professional. Best SATA ports to us for RAID1 and boot drive question

    I think you're a bit confused about the SATA port options on your board, which is not surprising given the description of its specifications, or maybe a typo on your part. To review:

    Intel SATA controller on Z77 chipset: Two SATA 6Gb/s ports, and four SATA 3Gb/s ports. RAID support: RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10, on ALL Intel ports.

    ASMedia 1061 SATA chipset: Four SATA 6Gb/s ports. RAID support: None. AHCI and IDE only.

    The Intel SATA 6Gb/s ports are the best performing (in benchmarks) SATA interface on any mother board. The ASMedia SATA 6Gb/s ports are much worse (in benchmarks) in performance compared to the Intel. In real world performance, the Intel SATA interface is superior to the ASMedia. Due to the nature of the ASMedia SATA chipset, using only one PCIe lane per chip, at 5Gb/s max (yes, five Gb/s, and shared by all four ports), the more drives on that interface, the slower it becomes.

    I use Intel 520's, and also have a SATA 6Gb/s HDD. I would connect your drives like this:

    Intel 520 on one Intel 6Gb/s port. Your two HDDs in RAID 1 on the Intel SATA 3Gb/s ports.

    When I tested my "SATA 6Gb/s" HDD, I found it did not even come close to the real world SATA 3Gb/s speed of ~250MB/s sequential read. Actually, it was only a little more than half that speed, ~130MB/s. So called SATA 6Gb/s HDDs are a marketing scam IMO, they apparently meet a protocol spec so may be called SATA 6Gb/s, but they don't perform at anywhere near that speed. I must say I used a tough benchmark, AS SSD, on the HDD, but I can assure you that even if the sequential read and write speeds of your HDD were at 250MB/s, the other (more) important aspects of performance like small file (4K) read/write, access times, etc, are barely any higher than a SATA 3Gb/s HDD, sorry to say.

    Bottom line, it's a waste to use the HDDs on a SATA 6Gb/s interface, if you have a SATA 6Gb/s SSD, IMO.

    The good news is, you can try your drives on the various Intel and ASMedia ports, with some restrictions, and see how they work. You can create your RAID 1 array on the Intel SATA 3Gb/s ports, and move them to the SATA 6Gb/s ports for testing, or vice versa. I would suggest a BIOS clear and reset to the necessary settings (RAID is not a default) when you do that, but otherwise the RAID volume will work fine.

    I would not install your OS on the SSD on the ASMedia ports, much easier and better to use the Intel ports. After the OS is installed, you can install the ASMedia driver, or just use the default Windows 7 msahci driver, but always use AHCI mode on the ASMedia chipset. Then you can try the SSD on the ASMedia SATA ports.

  3. #3
    HarryWolfHaller is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: ASRock Z77 Professional. Best SATA ports to us for RAID1 and boot drive question

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    I think you're a bit confused about the SATA port options on your board, which is not surprising given the description of its specifications, or maybe a typo on your part.
    You are correct. I screwed up in my question. When I said:
    2) use SATA2 3Gb/s ports not controled by the Intel chip for RAID1
    I meant to say:
    2) use SATA2 3Gb/s ports controled by the Intel chip for RAID1

    I just edited it in the original post.

    Thanks you for your reply and your advice!

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