USB 2.0 performance
We measured USB 2.0 performance in CrystalDiskMark with an SSD connected via USB. A particularity, we also used the ASRock application Xfast USB for this test. To recap, it allows you to activate, peripheral by peripheral, an alternative USB (2.0 and 3.0) driver. You have to unplug and then plug your peripheral back in the first time you use it. We measured the sequential speeds:
Unsurprisingly the motherboards are all on an equal footing when the Intel controller and default drivers are used. With Xfast USB, there’s a 22% gain for reads.
USB 3.0: Sequential reads
Next we measured USB 3.0 sequential speeds using our test SSD connected via USB 3.0. In addition to Xfast, we also tested the ‘Turbo’ option on the Gigabyte motherboard. It allows you to connect the EtronTech controller directly to the CPU PCI Express lanes, which means the graphics card, if you’re using one, moves over to x8 mode. Note also that we used the latest available driver version for the two cards with an Etron Tech controller. ASRock continues to supply version 0.96 of the driver on its Internet site, which only allowed us to activate one port at once in our tests.
Gigabyte’s Turbo mode didn’t have much of an impact in this test on reads but things changed when it came to writes, where the gains were clear. Without acceleration, the ASMedia controller dominated the EtronTech and Renasas controllers both in reads and writes. The Xfast driver allows you to increase read speeds in this test, but not writes.
USB 3.0: IOmeter
So as to test the capabilities of the USB 3.0 controllers fully, we used two SSDs at the same time to measure read and write speeds.
Without additional acceleration, ASMedia still remains in the lead with the best read and write speeds, followed by Renasas. EtronTech still brings up the rear but if you change the interconnect (Turbo mode on the Gigabyte mobo), speeds increase, or should we say explode! Is this only an interconnector issue? Yes and no, because if you change the driver with ASRock Xfast, read speeds also go up, with writes still being severely limited.