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USB 3.0 Speed Tests: 7-Way Host Controllers Roundup

ATTO's Disk Benchmark is getting a little bit long in the tooth now and it's a benchmark we'd call a "happy" benchmark as it seems to produce numbers that are a fair bit higher than any of the other benchmarks we use. The data that's being read/written is compressible and it's a sequential read/write benchmark. There are some rather big performance gaps here between some of the host controllers. In the case of the ASM1051E and Patriot Wildfire drive the biggest performance differences can be seen in the write test where the ageing NEC µD720200 is showing signs of not keeping up, but VIA's VL800 and AMD's A75 chipset aren't doing so well here either. The AMD A75 chipset is also the worst performer in the read test here, with the other controllers being somewhat close to each other.

It's interesting to see that ASRock's XFast USB software offers a genuine performance advantage almost from the start, although the rest of the field catches up at around 32KB in the read test, although the XFast USB software then boost the performance once again by the time we hit 512KB. In the write test things look a bit different, as here the XFast USB software boost the performance all the way up at a mere 2KB, but then it remains at about the same level with the other host controllers surpassing it at 32KB. There are some obvious advantages of the XFast USB software, but it's not the fastest option in the write test once the data size goes up.

As you can see, we ran into some compatibility issues in the read test using the Akitio NT2 U3 external RAID enclosure with a pair of Corsair Force GT SSDs as the Fresco Logic controller wasn't happy here at all when inserted in a PCI Express x8 slot. Moving the card to a PCI Express x1 slot solved the problem. Once again, AMD is trailing behind the rest of the pack. As for the write performance, AMD is way behind here, although don't read too much into the Fresco Logic controller in the x1 slot, as it worked just fine in the x8 slot for the write test.

Finally using the VLI VL701 and a single Corsair Force GT SSD we ran into some serious performance issues with the ASMedia ASM1042 which showed the worst performance across the board due to some kind of incompatibility related problem. Oddly enough VLI's on VL800 wasn't too happy paired up with the VL701 and performed its worst here trailing behind AMD's A75 chipset. We couldn't get the Fresco Logic FL1009 to work in the PCI Express x8 slot with the VL701 and as such the card suffered in terms of performance. Moving on to write performance the AMD A75 is back in last position followed somewhat surprisingly by Etron and the good old NEC µD720200.

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