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ASRock's 5Gbit Journey and the Z270 SuperCarrier

By: Steven Bassiri | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Apr 20, 2017 3:03 am

Aquantia 5Gbit Delivering With Triple M.2

 

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The IxChariot test gives us the best case numbers for bandwidth between two PCs. It's run by installing the program on the host, which then tests out client PCs and then it sends packets back and forth and determines throughput in Mbps. However, real-world testing is much more useful, and I did that below. What's the point of sending test packets back and forth? I want to know how fast I can transfer large files between two computers.

 

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To test real-world performance, I decided to transfer a huge batch of files (with many large files) between the two computers. The Z270 SuperCarrier system was using a Samsung 950 Pro (M.2 32Gb/s with high read and write speeds); while the Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming i7 system used a Corsair Force 240 GB (SATA6Gb/s, average sequential speeds). I transferred the large folder within the GTA:V common folder between the two PCs, as it contains multiple GB large single files, so the drives on each side would have to utilize their sequential read and write speeds so that I could maximize the bandwidth over the network. With the high write speed on the NVMe M.2 SSD, I was able to maintain a constant 480 MB/s, 4.4-4.5Gb/s, on the 5Gbit network. These results are real-world, what I predicted, and are where they should be.

 

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However, when I transferred the same folder of files to the Corsair SATA SSD from the Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD over the 5Gbit Network, the Corsair SATA drive wasn't able to keep up with the speeds and only stayed at the 300 MB/s level (still more than double what you can get over a 1Gbit network). So it does pay to use 5Gbit even with SATA, but it's more useful with higher speed NVMe drives.

 

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ASRock's Z270 SuperCarrier and Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming i7 both offer three 32Gb/s M.2 slots that can be used at the same time. Extra SATA ports, such as those on the SuperCarrier, allow you to still use SATA based drives even if the M.2 slot usage disables some of the SATA ports. Some people might be wondering why ASRock didn't incorporate a U.2 connector, and that is because M.2 to U.2 converters do exist, such as the one Intel bundled with one of our Intel 750 samples.

 

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I have installed all the drives into the Z270 SuperCarrier, and we can see that NVMe drive to drive transfers can go upwards of 1 GB/s. The Desktop computer in the image above is using the 950 Pro, and it's transferring to the 960 EVO.

 

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We can also see that the Corsair SATA drive still is limited to that ~300 MB/s transfer rate when it's being written too. Going back to NVMe based drives, the 960 EVO maintains high-performance when transferring to the Intel 750 that uses the M.2 to U.2 converter cable.

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