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Roundup: Z77 Express motherboards from AsRock, Asus, Gigabyte and MSI
by Guillaume Louel
Published on July 2, 2012

SATA / eSATA performance

All the motherboards in this roundup have one or several additional controllers, as well as the drive controller in the chipset, to add additional Serial ATA 6 ports or manage an eSATA port on the back panel.

Serial ATA 6 Gb/s controllers

We measured the performance of the Intel chipset (in 6 and 3 Gb mode) as well as the performance of the various additional controllers. While Gigabyte is still using Marvell controllers, the other manufacturers have moved over to ASMedia. Let’s see what this gives in practice. We used CrystalDiskMark to measure the sequential and random speeds of a Vertex 3 Max IOPS:

[ Sequential ]  [ Random ]

Although the SATA 6 Z77 ports are without a doubt the fastest ones, the ASmedia controllers do much better than the Marvells, particularly for sequential writes. The differences in favour of the new arrival are even more marked for random accesses performance, which probably explains why so many manufacturers are opting for ASmedia components.

eSATA controllers

Only two of the mobos include an eSATA port on the back panel, the Gigabyte and the ASRock, both using their respective additional controllers. Remember Asus supplies a bracket that can be used where you wish to place it.

It’s no surprise to see that performance levels here are identical to those obtained previously.

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