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Thread: Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?




  1. #1
    Britgeezer is offline Member
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    Default Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?

    I've just swapped out my server MB and the Extreme 4 has 4 SATA2 connectors and 4 SATA 3 connectors.

    2 are via the Intel Z77 chipset and 2 via the Asmedia chipset.

    SATA 3 should be faster than SATA 2, but there is a warning sticker saying to use the Intel ports (SATA 2 and 3) for best speed during boot etc.

    I will be using 6 drives (one an SSD) so its just a question of which drives to put on which connector - the Drives are SATA 3, 3WD 4TB reds and 2 WD 3TB greens.

    Thanks

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    parsec is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?

    The SSD must be connected to an Intel SATA III port, nothing better exists for speed on your board.

    The ASMedia chipset is connected via one PCIe 2.0 lane, which is 5Gb/s at best given the PCIe 2.0 spec. The ASMedia "SATA III" chipset will never perform at the level of the Intel SATA III chipset. The ASMedia and most Marvell SATA chips are designed to be used with one PCIe 2.0 lane, so that is not something that ASRock is doing.

    Next, the so called "SATA III" HDDs. Sorry to say, not one HDD exists that can even match the bandwidth capability of a SATA II port. Yes, SATA 2 - 3Gb/s, whose max real world sequential read and write speeds are ~270MB/s.

    The "SATA III" HDDs that I have cannot even reach 150MB/s sequential (large file) read speed. I assume HDD manufactures get away with the SATA III labeling, when the drive's memory buffer chip (32MB - 64MB of DRAM) can receive data at true SATA III speed, but once that data is passed from the buffer chip to the drive's platters, the speed is at best at the max for SATA I, or a bit above that.

    The small file random read and write speeds of HDDs are so pathetically slow compared to any SSD, they perform no better on SATA III than if they were connected to a PATA IDE connection. That is not hyperbole. For example:

    Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?-ssd-vs-hdd-jpg

    Connect your HDDs to the Intel SATA II ports, they will not perform any better on the Intel or Marvell SATA III ports. The benchmark on my Hitachi SATA III HDD was done on an Intel SATA III port.

    I'm a SSD/storage enthusiast, and have experimented with SSD and HDDs on Intel, Marvell, and ASMedia SATA chips for years. Both the ASMedia and Marvell SATA chipsets are not as stable and reliable as the Intel SATA chipset is, I avoid using the two former chipsets as much as possible.

    Of course, feel free to try any configuration you'd like, but I think you'll agree with me after doing so.

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    Britgeezer is offline Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?

    Just a quick note to say what an easy build this was and I agree with you about the Intel chipset.

    I used the 6 Intel ports (already had the SSD on the SATA3) and the eSATA (Asmedia) worked fine in multiport mode for the External drives. These are only used occasionally for the back of the backup's. Doing so takes up one of the Asmedia internal ports but that's OK.

    For me a big plus was the rear USB 2.0 ports that work without the OS installed. The rear USB 3.0's do not and I use a temporary USB DVD drive to install OS.

    In fact the only problem was getting the drivers from the CD to install with my OS (WHS 2011) I fixed that by downloading them directly to a USB stick drive. I could then install them using W7 versions.

    Nice MB.
    Last edited by Britgeezer; 12-14-2014 at 11:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?

    Glad your ASMedia ports are working well for you, their driver tends to work better with Windows 7. Your WHS 2011 issue is very common, but you figured that one out.

    Out of curiosity, related to the ASMedia ports, do you happen to use the Intel IRST driver on the Intel Z77 SATA ports?

    I ask because in the past a newly released (at the time) Intel IRST driver had odd compatibility issues with the ASMedia driver. That was I believe the IRST 11.5 or 11.6 driver version.

    Have you used the ASMedia ports on either of your ASRock Z97 boards? What SATA driver do you use with the Intel SATA interface on those boards?

  5. #5
    Britgeezer is offline Member
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    Default Re: Z77 Extreme 4 which SATA ports for my Server HD's?

    Sorry for the delay - I was away on business.

    Quote Originally Posted by parsec View Post
    Glad your ASMedia ports are working well for you, their driver tends to work better with Windows 7. Your WHS 2011 issue is very common, but you figured that one out.

    Out of curiosity, related to the ASMedia ports, do you happen to use the Intel IRST driver on the Intel Z77 SATA ports?

    I ask because in the past a newly released (at the time) Intel IRST driver had odd compatibility issues with the ASMedia driver. That was I believe the IRST 11.5 or 11.6 driver version.

    Have you used the ASMedia ports on either of your ASRock Z97 boards? What SATA driver do you use with the Intel SATA interface on those boards?
    Yes, I just checked IRST is functioning. Except when I'm using the Probox I'm 100% on the Intel ports.

    I have version 11.7.0.1013

    Yes I connected the Promedia Probox on the Extreme 4 via ASmedia to 4 additional drives without issue. Seems I'm using MS 6.17600.16385.
    Last edited by Britgeezer; 12-20-2014 at 08:03 AM.

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