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What is Marvell, what does it mean?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello to everyone, I was wondering what exactly Marvell is and why it's supposedly "bad"? I know there are different controllers like the Intel controller and Marvell controllers, but what exactly are they and what role do they have? You have your Marvell SATA ports on motherboards, as well as controllers on the new OCZ Vertex 4 drives, but I'm racking my brains trying to figure out what the controller is for in the first place.
post #2 of 9
From what I understand and some info in the backl of my mind from an article a while back........

Marvell controllers use the PCIe bus.
Intel is embedded into the Southbridge chip on most MOBOs.

Therefore Marvell is limited by the PCIe Bandwidth. This also means Marvell does not perform as well in RAID setups.

EDIT: Curiosity got the better of me...

robbed from here:

"Results in bandwidth speed tests for the Agility SSD were very similar to the IOPS benchmarks. The X58 and P55 platforms produced roughly 222 MBps reads and 165 MBps writes, all while connected to the Intel ICH10 Southbridge. In comparison, the Marvell SATA 6G controllers produced approximately 154 MBps read speed, and 106 MBps write. This results in a 42% advantage for the ICH10 SATA 3G controller over Marvell's 9123/9128 SATA 6G controller in read speed, and a 55% advantage in write-to performance. Why, you might ask? It's all in the driver.

You see, Intel's ICH9 and ICH10 chips utilize a driver architecture that creates a virtual RAM-disk buffer for cached transactions. The amount of RAM-disk created depends on the chip and available system memory (which we detail in our spin-off article), but the combined driver refinement and memory cache capability lead to very high performance. This is where Marvell needs to grow, and do more than a simple reverse engineering Intel's work in creating their own driver."
Edited by Mattyd893 - 4/13/12 at 5:31am
     
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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattyd893 View Post

From what I understand and some info in the backl of my mind from an article a while back........
Marvell controllers use the PCIe bus.
Intel is embedded into the Southbridge chip on most MOBOs.
Therefore Marvell is limited by the PCIe Bandwidth. This also means Marvell does not perform as well in RAID setups.

Exactly. The best way to think of a marvel chipset is as if it were a pcie raid expansion card that just happens to be built into the MB. Because of this they have lower performance compared to the standard controller that is built into the southbridge because that controler has significantly more bandwidth available.
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post #4 of 9
As for your other question the controller on an ssd is essentially similar to a raid controller. An ssd is essentially (to put it into simple terms) a bunch of high performance flash memory ships put into a 2.5 inch hd form factor. The controller on the ssd is what manages connects all the flash memory together and is what communicates between he memory and your comp. Memory controllers on storage are nothing new they have been around forever on spinning drives. They just play a higher role in performance now in ssds so the controller became a selling point.
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post #5 of 9
learn about SSDs and why the current Marvell SATA controllers on mobos suck read this: www.overclock.net/t/1179518/seans-ssd-buyers-guide-information-thread
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post #6 of 9
Marvell is a company [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvell_Technology_Group].

They make a variety of products. The SATA3 controllers are not so good, their SSD controllers are.
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all, all of your answers were really helpful. Now I see why the Marvell controller is always debated on, because it's limited to PCI-E bandwidth, so simple. And the Intel controller runs off of the SouthBridge, and essentially uses the RAM for bandwidth? I think that's what I read above, but I'm not sure. But the real question lies within this: Why would they, they being the companies who build the motherboards, use Marvell controllers if the built-in Intel controllers are better anyways? And are there any other controllers used in SSD's besides Marvell? I guess what I am seeing now is that the SATA bandwidth from the SATA ports on the board, are pulling from PCI-E bandwidth, essentially limiting the speed of the SSD. And the Marvell controller ON the SSD isn't nearly as bad, it's just the SATA ports that are bad. Right?
post #8 of 9
I'm taking it you did not read my SSD Information thread?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weezernation View Post

Thank you all, all of your answers were really helpful. Now I see why the Marvell controller is always debated on, because it's limited to PCI-E bandwidth, so simple.

Actually not just bandwidth only.
Quote:
Native vs. Non-Native SATA ports:
Native Ports are better than the non-native SATA ports in your mobo. Try to refrain from the Marvell ports as they are not that good, I never recommend using them. They also usually give lower 4k reads and writes as well which affect the OS the most. They can cause system instability such as freezing/stuttering and longer boot times when enabled because it is a 3rd party addon, has a limited bandwidth of ~or below 400MB/s for both of the ports total (even in RAID 0 while the SATA 3Gb/s ports can reach higher speeds), higher latencies, and from what I have found still do not support TRIM.

Edit from Tator Tot: They make a SATA 6Gb/s chip that does now support TRIM, but as far as I know, all of the boards out right now all use the old "laggy" controller. (the 9123 & 9128 are what most boards have on them)

Here is the PDF for 88SE91XX Controllers: http://www.marvell.com/storage/system-solutions/assets/Marvell-88SE91XX-Product-Brief.pdf

Only the 88SE9130, 88SE9220, 88SE9230 series Marvell controllers support TRIM. (The 88SE9130 is still to be avoided though as it will most likely have the stuttering issue, as it's still based on the older 91xx designs.)

Page 5 here: http://www.marvell.com/storage/system-solutions/sata-controllers/assets/Marvell-HyperDuo-Technology-Brief.pdf
Quote:
Note: Inbox drivers enable users to take advantage of OS commands like TRIM to extend the life of SSDs for
maximum durability.

More info on the 88SE92XX series Marvell controllers here: http://www.marvell.com/storage/system-solutions/assets/Marvell-88SE92xx-Product-Brief.pdf
Quote:
And the Intel controller runs off of the SouthBridge, and essentially uses the RAM for bandwidth? I think that's what I read above, but I'm not sure. But the real question lies within this: Why would they, they being the companies who build the motherboards, use Marvell controllers if the built-in Intel controllers are better anyways?
Because, it is a cheap and easy addon to mobo's when chipsets don't have support for SATA 6Gb/s or when they want to market the board to have more than the standard amount.
Quote:
And are there any other controllers used in SSD's besides Marvell?
Yes did you not read my thread I linked you?
Samsung
Marvell
SandForce (Now owned by LSI)
Toshiba
Indilinx (Now owned by OCZ, their controllers are re-branded Marvell controllers with their own completely custom firmware.)
Intel
JMicron

All those companies make SSD controllers.
Quote:
I guess what I am seeing now is that the SATA bandwidth from the SATA ports on the board, are pulling from PCI-E bandwidth, essentially limiting the speed of the SSD.
Only on a Marvell controller port.
Quote:
And the Marvell controller ON the SSD isn't nearly as bad, it's just the SATA ports that are bad. Right?
They are independent of each other.
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply Sean. Sorry that it took me so long, I've been quite busy. Thanks for all the information, I've learned alot thumb.gif
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