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ASUS is ready for SATA Express - Early tech and performance preview - SanDisk A110 M.2 Native PCIe

ASUS is ready for SATA Express - Early tech and performance preview
With SATA III limiting performance nowadays, SATA-I/O went to work designing the storage technology for the future, and now we have it to try out.
By: | Editorials in Storage | Posted: Dec 20, 2013 10:10 pm

SanDisk A110 M.2 Native PCIe




The SanDisk A110 represents an early look at the type of performance we should expect from early SATA Express products. The Marvell 88SS9183 controller is available to SSD manufactures. At this time, we have four products on hand with the controller, but can't talk about three of them for a few more weeks.


The controller is native PCIe, but the form factor is M.2, formally known as NGFF.



ATTO Disk Benchmark


Version and / or Patch Used: 2.34


Note: ATTO is a timeless benchmark used to provide manufactures with data used market storage products.




Again, we're looking at both the QD4 (left) and QD10 (right) sequential performance with ATTO.


The native PCIe Marvell controlled drive delivers higher sequential read performance, but lower sequential write performance compared to the ROG RAIDR Express.


We're not really trying to compare the two products today though, we're more concerned with the technology side of SATA Express and the fact that ASUS is ready to roll it into products that appear to be retail ready.





Version and / or Patch Used: 3.0 Technical Preview


Note: Crystal Disk Mark 3.0 Technical Preview was used for these tests since it offers the ability to measure native command queuing at 4 and 32.




CDM doesn't provide us any further insight since we're butting against the limits of the flash when it comes to 4K read and write performance. What we need is SLC with a native PCIe interface.



AIDA64 Random Access Time


Version and / or Patch Used: 1.60


Note: AIDA64 offers several different benchmarks for testing and optimizing your system or network. The Random Access test is one of very few if not only that will measure hard drives random access times in hundredths of milliseconds as oppose to tens of milliseconds.



AIDA Read Latency (64KB)



AIDA Write Latency (64KB)


I've tested a handful of products based on native PCIe and with different interfaces. Some products show a latency improvement when connected to the PCIe lanes directly off of the CPU, but most do not.


This goes to show how well Intel engineered the PCH and the lanes coming off it and the way ASUS implemented the design on the Maximus VI Extreme, the board I've used to develop my 2014 test regiment.


The native PCIe interface on the Marvell controlled drive with a DRAM buffer has great latency performance. Let's use this drive to test the ASMedia PCIe to SATA Express chip also on the ASUS prototype board.

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