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Serial ATA performance
Now begins our look at peripheral performance. The Serial ATA disk controller is one of the most important components of a modern core logic chipset, so we threw each platform a selection of I/O-intensive storage tests using a Western Digital VelociRaptor.

IOMeter
We'll begin our storage tests with IOMeter, which subjects our systems to increasing multi-user loads. We used IOMeter's workstation and database test patterns, since those are more appropriate for desktop systems than the file or web server test patterns. This particular test makes good use of the Native Command Queuing capability built into the AHCI specification.

The P55's SATA controller is virtually the same as the one inside the X58's ICH10R south bridge, so it's no surprise to see nearly identical transaction rates here. Both chipsets scale IOps nicely as the load increases.

With Hyper-Threading presenting eight cores to Windows, our X58 platform will have a definite advantage over the four-core P55 rig when we look at CPU utilization results. Here, the P55 system pulls more than twice the admittedly few processor resources required by the X58.

HD Tach
We used HD Tach 3.01's 8MB zone test to measure basic SATA throughput and latency.

Interestingly, the P55's read burst speed is a good 40MB/s slower than the X58's. This appears to be a problem with the Gigabyte P55 motherboard rather than a limitation of the chipset itself; the Deluxe hit burst speeds of 254MB/s with the very same hard drive. Its sustained read and write speeds were also faster at 110.5 and 109.6MB/s, respectively.

The X58's random access times are a hair quicker than those of the P55. I wouldn't get too worried about that or the difference in CPU utilization, though. HD Tach's margin of error for the CPU utilization test is +/- 2%, which just about evens things out.