Marvell chip problems could sink SATA 6Gbps on P55 boards

— 4:26 PM on July 14, 2009

According to a report over at PC Perspective, a problem with Marvell's 88SE9123 6Gbps SATA controller could tank the next-gen storage standard's expected arrival on P55-based motherboards. Asus, Gigabyte, and MSI had all planned to use the Marvell chip, but its performance apparently isn't up to speed. The chip has reportedly been dropped from upcoming P55 boards from Asus and Gigabyte, possibly to be replaced by plain old SATA 3Gbps silicon.

AMD demoed its own 6Gbps SATA controller back in March. When paired with a prototype Seagate drive, the AMD controller apparently reached a maximum data rate of just under 590MB/s—a mere 10MB/s shy of the new standard's peak theoretical data rate. To put that into perspective, the highest burst speed we've seen from a SATA 3Gbps drive is 262MB/s, a full 38MB/s short of the interface's potential.

We don't have official word on whether Intel's upcoming P55 chipset will support the new Serial ATA specification, but recent indications suggest that it won't. If that's the case, AMD could have the first credible SATA 6Gbps controller on the market. That would be quite a coup given the numerous Serial ATA issues associated with AMD's recent south bridge chips. We're not holding our breath, though.

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