Intel P55 vs. X58 Chipset Performance

Post date: Dec 31, 2011 2:08:41 PM

Often I read a lot of technical documentation, reviews, etc and when I try to refer back to them, it can be difficult to remember where they were. I am going to call these posts "Interesting tidbit for Date," whenever I find something interesting or worth noting.

I recently read Anandtech's article [1], "6Gbps SATA Performance: AMD 890GX vs. Intel X58/P55"

In the article:

The most surprising is that using the Marvell controller on Intel’s P55 platform, even in a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, only delivers 308MB/s of read bandwidth. The PCIe controller is on the CPU die and should theoretically be lower latency than anything the X58 can muster, but for whatever reason it actually delivers lower bandwidth than the off-die X58 PCIe controller. This is true regardless of whether we use Lynnfield or Clarkdale in the motherboard, or if we’re using a P55, H55 or H57 motherboard. All platform/CPU combinations result in performance right around 310MB/s - a good 30MB/s slower than the X58. Remember that this is Intel’s first on-die PCIe implementation. It’s possible that performance is lower in order to first ensure compatibility. We may see better performance out of Sandy Bridge in 2011.

I reference this snippet because the reason I went for a 8 x X25-E RAID-0 was for 2GiB/sec read performance that I had read about using the same controller with Vertex drives. However, I seem to be capped at about 1.6GiB/s per my earlier post. I wonder if this is the reason, certainly something to note if you are buying a machine for a high-bandwidth application, use a server motherboard obviously; however, if you are going to buy a desktop board, go X58!