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New SSD & HDD Configuration Help

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I've got an ASUS P6X58D-E motherboard and just spent the past couple of days reading how crappy the Marvel 9128 SATA "6GB/s" controller is. I was planning on getting an Crucial M4 256 SSD to replace my WD 1002FAEX (which has SMART warnings frown.gif ) as my programs/OS drive. From what I've read, I'll have to use one of the SATA II ports rather than one of the "SATA 6GB/s" (more like "sort of 6GB/s" mad.gif) ports for the Crucial M4 so that TRIM is active and I get decent 4kb speeds.

I still plan to get the Crucial M4. Even if nerfed by connecting to a SATA II port, I figure it will still give me a significant improvement in boot/load times- right? My problem is that I need all eight SATA ports. Given the Marvell controller issues, I'm not sure what's the best connection set up. With the M4, I'll need to connect the following:
  • Crucial M4 256GB -> OS/Programs drive
  • WD 2TB Black HDD and two Samsung F4EG 2TB -> data drives ( I have a lot of video & other data)
  • Front 5 1/4" bay HDD hot swap rack (NOTE: this will be used for cloning OS/Programs drive & booting from the clone back up if something goes wrong as well as frequent data back up)
  • Front bay card reader E-Sata port (used in conjunction with HDD front bay rack to back up data stored on HDDs not installed in the case)
  • Two DVD optical drives (eventually to be replaced with Blu-Ray drives)

Currently, I have the WD1002FAEX connected to one of the "SATA 6GB/s" ports with everything else connected to the six on board SATA 3.0GB/s ports. Given the problems I've had with software erros over the past few months, I wonder if the Marvell controller was part of the problem. My plan is to connect the optical drives to use the "SATA 6GB/s" ports and use the Intel chipset SATA 3.0GB/s ports for everything else.
  • Is this the best connection configuration for my hardware?
  • Any potential issues with connecting DVD and/or Blu-ray drives to the "SATA 6GB/s" ports?
  • Is it worth considering a SATA 6GB/s PCI-E expansion card for the M4 (assuming there's one that works as well or 98% as well, including TRIM support, as a native chipset SATA 6GB/s port like those on the Z68 chipset)?
  • Should I update the Marvell 9128 drivers? Asus hasn't updated them for well over a year, but I did find recently released Marvell_91xx_1.2.0.1014 drivers at www.station-drivers.com. My current driver is version 1.0.0.1034.

Thanks for the help
My System
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700k @ 4.5Ghz (HT on) MSI Z77A-GD65 EVGA GTX 580 Classified 3GB @ 920Mhz G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR3 @ 2133Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 SSD 256GB (OS) WD Caviar Black 2TB (Data) 2x Samsung F4EG 2TB (Data) Thermalright Archon 2x140mm 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Dell U3011 Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard Corsair HX850 
CaseAudio
Silverstone Fortress FT02 Asus Xonar Essence STX 
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My System
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700k @ 4.5Ghz (HT on) MSI Z77A-GD65 EVGA GTX 580 Classified 3GB @ 920Mhz G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR3 @ 2133Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 SSD 256GB (OS) WD Caviar Black 2TB (Data) 2x Samsung F4EG 2TB (Data) Thermalright Archon 2x140mm 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Dell U3011 Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard Corsair HX850 
CaseAudio
Silverstone Fortress FT02 Asus Xonar Essence STX 
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post #2 of 3
Here are a few ideas, hope they clear up some things:
*that's not really the best setup. 1st of all the 2 Marvell SATA ports only lack TRIM, otherwise they work well. Then, you could just use these two ports for the eSATA and the front dock for which performance may not matter a lot.
*Using optic units on them can be a problem as supposing at one point you need to install Win from a optical connected to the Marvell SATA, you would have to load additional drivers; in some cases it just doesn't work due to BIOS incompatibilities.
*a decent PCIe SATA card would be around as fast as Intel's controller, but I'm not so sure it's worth it as most entry level add-on cards aren't much good and the good ones aren't cost-effective. The performance benefit when passing to an SSD will be massive anyway, be that on sata 2 or 3
*X58 users may know more, but afaik Marvell posted a driver around the end of this summer that solved some performance issues. It didn't add TRIM despite this is what most people thought it would do, but apparently it did work better. Don't bother with ASUS supplied drivers, just pick the latest.

So bottom line my idea of a setup: all SSD, HDD and optical on the Intel ports and the external disks on the Marvell ports.

Cheers
Centurion
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Corsair Force 3 TRUE Win 7 Pro x64 ACER 23" TN  
PowerCase
400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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Centurion
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II 940 @3.3GHz 1.25V Gigabyte 790X-DS4 XFX 5850 8GB OCZ DDR2-800 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Corsair Force 3 TRUE Win 7 Pro x64 ACER 23" TN  
PowerCase
400W Silverstone Strider Antec P182 
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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I didn't think about potential issues with the optical drives for Windows installation. FWIW, I did install the latest Marvell drivers as you suggest.

After reading Sean's Windows 7 SSD Guide I definitely will put the SSD on the Intel Controller. I just sucks that instead of getting "True SATA 6.0GB/s" as Asus advertised, I get reduced speeds vs. an integrated controller like on the Z68 boards and no trim. LOL - I wanted to "future" proof a bit so I spent more money for that board and in the end I have yet to use USB 3.0 and now am trying to work around the "SATA 6.0 GB/s" ports.

I think your advice is the way to go with one exception. I use that front bay hotswap rack all the time, including cloning and as an emergency boot drive if something goes wrong with my main OS/Programs drive. Since it's a direct SATA connection (i.e. not E-SATA) it works flawlessly. Saved me a couple of times. So I'll leave that on the Intel controller and put the E-Sata connection and one of the optical drives on the Marvel SATA ports. That way I'll have an optical drive on the Intel controller for Windows 7 64bit install (never could get USB flash install to work).

I guess there's no way to duplicate the performance of on-board controller other than buy an OCZ Revodrive X3. They're super-fast, but ridiculously expensive ($700 for the 240 GB version!). I was hoping that maybe there was a $50-$75 PCI Express card with the latest controller that would give me TRIM and about the same speed as an integrated chipset. Not sure about TRIM, but looks like I'd need to spend about $250-$350 for a reliable PCI 2.0 Raid Controller (LSI seems to be popular). Might as well get an X79 board - BTW. I took a look at the new Asus X79 boards and Asus STILL uses that $#%& 9128 controller to add some extra "SATA 6.0GB/s" ports. LMAO there. At least Gigabyte uses the newer 9182 controller.
My System
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700k @ 4.5Ghz (HT on) MSI Z77A-GD65 EVGA GTX 580 Classified 3GB @ 920Mhz G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR3 @ 2133Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 SSD 256GB (OS) WD Caviar Black 2TB (Data) 2x Samsung F4EG 2TB (Data) Thermalright Archon 2x140mm 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Dell U3011 Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard Corsair HX850 
CaseAudio
Silverstone Fortress FT02 Asus Xonar Essence STX 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2700k @ 4.5Ghz (HT on) MSI Z77A-GD65 EVGA GTX 580 Classified 3GB @ 920Mhz G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR3 @ 2133Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 SSD 256GB (OS) WD Caviar Black 2TB (Data) 2x Samsung F4EG 2TB (Data) Thermalright Archon 2x140mm 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit Dell U3011 Logitech G710+ mechanical keyboard Corsair HX850 
CaseAudio
Silverstone Fortress FT02 Asus Xonar Essence STX 
  hide details  
Reply
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