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P6X58D Premium

Forget Intel, mobo makers will go on their own

Technology enthusiasts are the first to adopt faster interfaces. Interface speeds increase every couple of years, and it is no surprise that an upgrade cycle usually follows. No one wants to get stuck with an older interface, especially if they are planning to keep their motherboard for several years.

USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA are both getting speed increases this year in an unusual two-for-one special. USB 3.0 introduces the SuperSpeed mode, which provides raw throughput of 5 Gbps versus the measly 480 Mbps of USB 2.0. The USB interface uses 8b10 encoding, so with overhead USB 3.0 will top out at around 400 MB/s. This standard will quickly be adopted by USB flash drives and digital cameras due to the large amounts of data involved.

The case for 6 Gbps SATA isn't as strong, unless you're into Solid State Drives. While Seagate has shipped the world's first hard drive to support the new standard, it uses magnetic storage and is only able to use the extra bandwidth when reading from cache. However, SSDs have been bandwidth limited since early this year, and SSDs supporting the new interface should have transfer speeds over 500 MB/s.

ASUS and Gigabyte were both showing off motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA during the Computex trade show in June. They both announced several motherboards last week, and the boards are available in volume. All of these boards use NEC's USB 3.0 host interface controller introduced in June.

ASUS is now shipping the P7P55D-E Premium using Intel's P55 chipset and the P6X58D Premium using the X58 chipset. The P55 chipset only supports the first generation of PCIe with single lane bandwidth of 250 MB/s, so ASUS uses a PLX8613 bridge chip and four PCIe lanes to optimize the throughput potential of the new interfaces.

The company is also making its U3S6 expansion card available for all P7P55D series motherboards. It will plug into a PCIe x4 or x8 connector and add two USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA ports.

Gigabyte is also shipping seven motherboards in its P55A series supporting the new technologies. They have decided against using a bridge chip, but their implementation means you will be unable to use a second PCIe x16 slot for CrossFire or SLI.

Meanwhile, problems at Intel have delayed new chipsets that will use these new technologies until the beginning of 2011. Solutions from motherboard manufacturers will have to do for now.

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Nice but...
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 11/4/2009 11:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
Overall I would say it is a very nice board. I would prefer if it had onboard x-fi and replaced the pci with pci-e.

RE: Nice but...
By mindless1 on 11/5/2009 11:23:53 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point, sound cards help isolate noise and provide more real-estate for components, you can't just slap the stripped down namesake audio onto a motherboard and gain much, though I think for the price of some you should be able to get hardware EAX(n) support from an onboard audio chipset.

RE: Nice but...
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 11/6/2009 3:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
How is it missing the point? Asus has been putting onboard x-fi on motherboards since Rampage Extreme. I think your mixing things up or just are not too familiar with asus boards.

RE: Nice but...
By mindless1 on 11/6/2009 9:44:47 PM , Rating: 4
It's missing the point that you're not getting the full benefit of a separate X-fi card.

Exactly what i thought
By B166ER on 11/5/2009 10:57:47 AM , Rating: 1
How do corporations and manufacturers get you? Integrate the new tech, but only give you what, two USB3 ports? Out of what, 12?? Because if they made ALL the ports USB3, then you somehow wouldn't have compatibility with, uh, USB3? They did this too when USB2 came out. you had some 6 or USB1.1 ports, then you'd get 2 USB2.0 ports. How freaking stupid. But I'm sure licensing costs are a bitch for corporations charging $250+ for these new MoBos.

RE: Exactly what i thought
By Pakman333 on 11/5/2009 2:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
It is more of a bandwidth and cost issue. There is ten times more bandwidth, plus they are using discrete chips that cost more.

Nobody need 12 USB 3 ports.

RE: Exactly what i thought
By Silver2k7 on 11/9/2009 2:14:34 AM , Rating: 2
how about 6 then that would be nice ;)

RE: Exactly what i thought
By Silver2k7 on 11/9/2009 2:27:45 AM , Rating: 2
perhaps you dont need the ports in the first 2 days of having your motherboard.. but people tend to have computers for 2-4 years. By then you probably switched out all your components to USB3.

External HDD's x3
HDD Docking Stations x2
Card reader for the camera x1
Printer x1
Keyboard x1
Mouse x2
Flashmemory sticks x4

usb devices total: 14

ok not everything is always connected
and not everything would also benefit from USB3.

But HDD docking stations, flash memory and external hdds will ofc benefit greatly once they get replaced with USB3 counterparts.

Just saying that there is probably many people who want more than 2 USB3 ports.. I fore one would like to have a case with 2 ports in the front.. then atleast 4 ports on the motherboard preferably 6.

RE: Exactly what i thought
By Autisticgramma on 11/10/2009 11:58:07 AM , Rating: 3

"640k is enough for anybody"

about time
By invidious on 11/4/09, Rating: 0
RE: about time
By 3DoubleD on 11/4/2009 12:31:14 PM , Rating: 5
I watch high bit rate x264 files and Blu-ray rips from a usb hard drive all of the time (it's even a 2.5" drive), the interface is not limiting playback performance. The highest bit rate Blu-rays are between 40-50 Mbit/s, USB 2.0 theoretically maxes out at 480 Mbit/s. You could watch several Blu-rays at one time before USB 2.0 becomes a limiting factor. Your real problem is your CPU or you are using a crappy video codec.

RE: about time
By mindless1 on 11/5/2009 11:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
You can't watch as many as you might think, do a couple simple tests:

1) Benchmark a single hard drive known capable of well above 50MB/s. You'll find it gets closer to 35MB/s or 280Mbit/s, IF it is alone in transfer on that controller hub.

Initiate 4 different concurrent file transfers in rapid succession, such that you have most of the first still downloading by the time the last starts. Time them to get an average throughput rate. I doubt you'll get 20MB/s average on a good chipset in both host and slave USB bridge, let alone an average or poor chipset. That's a max of two concurrent if they're highest bitrate *normally* seen, and that assumes windows isn't doing the things windows continually does, access HDDs without your specifically requesting it do so.

RE: about time
By psenechal on 11/4/2009 4:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
I stream mine from a QNAP NAS over gigabit ethernet to my PS3...full 1080p and DTS audio without any skipping. I agree with the other poster...I would check your CPU, video card & driver, or codecs.

48 phase?
By Furuno on 11/4/2009 9:30:13 AM , Rating: 2
Is this really have an advantage other than increasing production cost with (much) more component?

RE: 48 phase?
By Gungel on 11/4/09, Rating: -1
RE: 48 phase?
By Gungel on 11/4/09, Rating: -1
RE: 48 phase?
By Furuno on 11/4/2009 9:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
What I mean is, more chokes and VRMs, not the I/O controller... I like the USB 3.0 / SATA 6G features but skeptical about those humongous amount of phase...

RE: 48 phase?
By Xenokyn on 11/4/2009 10:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not an expert but I believe it increases the consistency, reliability, and stability of power distribution across the motherboard and its attached components. It's probably overkill in these areas but that's likely one reason the motherboard is labeled "premium". It might be helpful to those who push the limits of their mobo's when overclocking and the like.

RE: 48 phase?
By davekozy on 11/4/2009 5:29:51 PM , Rating: 3
It's not really 48 phase either. In the small print it says 32+3 phase + some BS. I guess it has virtual phases or something. Past a certain point it doesn't make sense. Using less higher quality and capacity parts can accomplish the same thing but "10" doesn't sound as good as "48" in the specs. The EVGA Classified only has 10 phases but can put out up to 600 watts of stable power to the CPU. Sometimes less is more.

By AnnihilatorX on 11/4/2009 9:23:29 AM , Rating: 2
The future of computing is looking pretty good.
When can I save enough to get new SSDs...

By the way, what is the CPU utilization of USB 3.0 like, USB isn't exactly renowned for their low CPU utilization.

RE: Drools
By invidious on 11/4/2009 9:51:42 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't wait for SSDs using this new standard, any drive that can take advantage of the extra bandwidth is going to be very expensive for the forseable future.

You can get a good SSD for like $150 in the current market. Go for something in the 60gb to 80gb range and just use it for OS/apps/games. Supertalent is a "value brand" for SSDs.

What Problems at intel?
By Belard on 11/4/2009 9:44:16 AM , Rating: 2
How is it possible?

We've seen the ads. USB creator is a rock-star!

2011... such a long away away.

Lets see how fast AMD can have these features built into the next chipsets.

By bmheiar on 11/9/2009 1:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
When I looked at the Gigabyte's website for these motherboards GA-P55A-UD3, GA-P55A-UD4P, & GA-P55A-UD6. I found something interesting in the specs. One of the footnotes said,"When set Turbo SATA3 / USB3.0 (Marvell 9128 /NEC USB 3.0 Controller) to enable in BIOS setup, 1st PCIex16 slot will run at x8 bandwidth and 2nd PCIex16 slot will be disabled." So the way I am reading this is that to gain the functionality of SATA3 or USB 3.0, I will lose the ability to have SLI or Crossfire. So I sent a question to Gigabyte about this over the weekend. But when I checked today their footnote says "When dual graphics cards are used in 1st and 2nd PCIex16 slots, SATA3 / USB 3.0 (Marvell 9128 /NEC USB 3.0 Controllers) will work at normal mode."

I for one want to have full functionality to have the ability to SLI/Crossfire and to have access to SATA3/USB 3.0 at the same time, without any limitations.

Where can I get one??
By MouseBTFH on 11/11/2009 1:35:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have yet to see the Asus P6X58D available from anywhere. What is this, a paper release?

By thornburg on 11/4/09, Rating: -1
So what happens...
By Reclaimer77 on 11/4/09, Rating: -1
RE: So what happens...
By Gungel on 11/4/2009 10:14:19 AM , Rating: 5
Nothing, the USB3.0 and SATA 6 Gbit/s standards are finalized.

RE: So what happens...
By orgy08 on 11/4/2009 10:19:45 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, this isn't like the "N" draft.

RE: So what happens...
By Cypherdude1 on 11/4/2009 6:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
The company is also making its U3S6 expansion card available for all P7P55D series motherboards. It will plug into a PCIe x4 or x8 connector and add two USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA ports.
What does "is making available" mean? Does this mean the expansion card is included for free or do you have to pay extra for it?

RE: So what happens...
By chrnochime on 11/4/2009 10:32:20 PM , Rating: 2
Available as in you have to pay extra for the card. Consider that the Premium board with the Sata 6Gb and USB 3.0 cost 299 USD, you didn't think they'd just give the expansion cards away, did you?

RE: So what happens...
By jemix on 11/5/2009 12:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get the $299 price tag from? I was just about to purchase the P7P55D EVO, for $189 from NewEgg, but now I'm not sure if I should wait until I can find the P7P55D-E Premium, or buy the EVO + the expansion card. Thoughts ???

RE: So what happens...
By jemix on 11/7/2009 12:57:33 AM , Rating: 2
Never mind. I found the prices on the ASUS website (where I should have looked in the first place). Thanks!

RE: So what happens...
By GreenEnvt on 11/4/2009 11:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
I believe all the article says is that Intel won't be releasing a chipset with it integrated for a while, so until they do all motherboards that come with usb3/sata6 using an intel chipset will also have additional chips for usb3 and sata6.

RE: So what happens...
By dagamer34 on 11/4/2009 12:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
Which basically means additional costs.

RE: So what happens...
By Taft12 on 11/4/2009 5:29:42 PM , Rating: 4
Are you saying Intel won't factor the cost of these features into their future chipset prices? That's quite some insider information you have!

RE: So what happens...
By leexgx on 11/5/2009 12:53:16 AM , Rating: 2
the USB 2.0 is norm Part of the south bridge, its only an matter of them putting USB 3.0 into it but they seem to be having some problems with making the USB 3.0 work as part as the south bridge, why its going to take them 1 year and bit seems bit long really as that may limit the use of USB 3 untill 2011-2012 (it has to be popular for companys to make stuff for it i guess USB 3.0 PCI-e cards will do but they take one slot up)

it will be cheaper having USB 3 part of the chip set then having an extra chip like now

RE: So what happens...
By Targon on 11/5/2009 6:42:54 AM , Rating: 2
The problem isn't just with USB 3.0 support, it is how Intel times the releases of their new chipsets, and deciding what features go in which chipsets.

Think about it, Intel makes different chipsets for different levels of machines, and they try to force people to buy high-end chipsets to go with the high end processor lines when they can. On the flip side, AMD releases one Northbridge and one Southbridge every so often, but doesn't worry about trying to rope people into buying only the highest end chipsets to support lower end processors. The only question is when AMD will have their USB 3.0 chipset ready.

RE: So what happens...
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 11/5/2009 9:41:25 PM , Rating: 2
You can't really integrate this into south bridge because they generally only have 150 mb/s bandwidth. can't put it into northbridge for 55 chipsets because it is part of the processor uncore. As it stands intel can update the x58 nb but the 55 series it requires a faster bus likely 4x pci-e which would be direct from the processor uncore on the dmi.

RE: So what happens...
By mindless1 on 11/5/2009 11:43:59 PM , Rating: 2
While I have not kept up with the bandwidth of all chipset busses available in contemporary chipsets, I am fairly sure you are mistaken that there is only 150Mb/s bandwidth.

Intel's old Hub Link 1.0 to southbridges like ICH2 was 266MB/s, but today they are at least using 4X or 8X that, possibly about 2GB/s instead of 150MB/s.

RE: So what happens...
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 11/5/2009 11:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not going to dispute that I pulled that number out of knowhere, I looked for it but no avail. The fact still remains not enough bandwidth the rest is semantics.

RE: So what happens...
By 457R4LDR34DKN07 on 11/5/2009 11:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
I take back what I said earlier, it can likely be handled by the southbridge and dmi it's just not a standard feature.

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