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Storage Subsystem Performance
To test storage subsystems we use CrystalDiskMark (1000 MB setting with 0x00 fill test data) and a Kingston HyperX 3K 120GB solid state drive. The drive is connected to an external dock for eSATA and USB 3.0 benchmarking (limited to 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps respectively unfortunately). For comparison, we pit the ASUS F2A85-M Pro against a recent Intel Z77 board, the Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H (paired with an Intel Core i3-2100 processor).
The A85X SATA controller is limiting in the upper range, unable to hit the very high maximum read/write speeds capable on the latest Intel Sandy/Ivy Bridge boards. However it should be noted that most SSDs rarely exceed 400 MB/s (we used easily compressible data to get the best possible speeds out of our SandForce drive) so you probably won't notice a difference in day-to-day use.
In eSATA performance, the F2A85-M Pro was neck-and-neck with the Z77X-UD3H's Marvell-powered eSATA connector. Like most eSATA devices, our dock is limited to a 3 Gbps interface which might have helped equalize the results, whether better or worse for AMD.
The F2A85-M Pro complicates matters by having a second USB 3.0 controller produced by ASMedia and the USB 3.0 Boost software bundled with ASUS' AI Suite. The speeds we got using the native AMD controller was very disappointing, less than 100 MB/s, in sequential and random 512K read/writes, while the ASMedia controller was better but not very impressive either, topping out at about 150 MB/s in sequential 512K writes. Using the USB 3.0 Boost feature provided a noticeable bump in performance, particularly for the ASMedia controller but it was still slower than eSATA 3 Gbps.
Overall, the Gigabyte Z77 board's USB 3.0 controllers fared similarly to the F2A85-M Pro with USB 3.0 Boost enabled. Intel's native controller also seems to be substantially slower than third party solutions.
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