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Windows 7: Need advice on purchasing PCIe to SATA 3 adapter card

06 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
Need advice on purchasing PCIe to SATA 3 adapter card

Hey all,

I'm upgrading my SSD from an Intel SATA II 320 120GB - which has worked very well for me - to a Samsung SATA III 840 EVO 250GB. My computer doesn't have any native SATA III hookups, but I do have several PCIe 2.0 slots that are open and ready to be used. As such, I've decided to purchase a PCIe to SATA III adapter so that I can run the drive through the adapter, and hopefully get better performance than using SATA II.

My first question is, is there a recommended controller or card that anyone here has used? I've heard that while sub $100 cards can work, most use Marvell controllers which have mixed performance. However I'm still unsure. For example, here's an affordable SATA 3 card, and the reviews are mostly positive, but it is a Marvell controller. I've read that LSI is a reliable brand that makes excellent controllers, but the cost is prohibitive for most upgraders.

I know that if I get any PCIe card, the first thing I should do is get at least a dual lane x2 or x4 card. Anything higher than that will be overkill, but x1 will probably be too little bandwidth.

To clarify, I'm not going to be running RAID with any of my drives. I have a standard 500GB HDD that I'm going to leave on the SATA II port on the mobo. I'm not sure if I should use HyperDuo mode or not if I get a card that sports such a feature. I've read that while HyperDuo is a convenient feature, SSD performance does take a dive, as opposed to a manual SSD+HDD setup.

I've also checked other similar threads in this forum, and other contributors have suggested to simply remain with the SATA II ports, as the SATA III card just won't deliver any worthy or noticeable speed improvements or performance gains. Still, I just feel like the Samsung EVO wouldn't reach its full potential with just the SATA II port, but I'm not ready to upgrade my mobo just yet.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2014   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

My Gigabyte motherboard has SATA III Marvell 91xx controller. Not having any problems with that.

Here is the benchmark for my OCZ Vertex 4 SSD. and my Intel 520 SSD. The OCZ is for Win 8.1 and the Intel is for Win 7 64 bit (dual boot). It shows as "SCSI" but not sure why (all the drives whether SSD or conventional are showing as SCSI).

Attached Images
Need advice on purchasing PCIe to SATA 3 adapter card-capture.jpg Need advice on purchasing PCIe to SATA 3 adapter card-capture-intel-ssd.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2014   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Marvell controllers have a reputation for being unstable. I checked the specs of this card on Amazon and it said that that one can boot from this card (not all SATA cards can be booted from). However, you need to be aware that cards like this have their own BIOS in addition to the BIOS or UEFI of the MOBO that has to be loaded, which could reduce your overall boot time. The LSI 9211-8i I have in my computer (I don't boot from it; I added the card to get eight more SATA III ports) takes around 30 seconds just to load its own BIOS. Any gain in boot speed on the SATA card will probably be wiped out by the time it takes to boot the card. I would just use the EVO in the first SATA II port (usually it's the fastest port) on your MOBO. You probably still will see some speed improvement over your old Intel SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

08 Mar 2014   #4

Windows 7 Professional x64

Thanks all for the prompt and helpful replies!

Thanks for sharing your benchmarks with me fireberd. I didn't mean that onboard Marvell controllers are unstable, just the PCIe SATA controllers from Marvell.

You have a good point Lady Fitzgerald. I didn't realize that the PCIe card would have its own BIOS, or that it would take longer to load than simply booting directly from the mobo SATA controller.

Does anyone else have any experience booting from or using a SATA III PCIe card? Especially with regards to boot time and performance?

Additionally, I wasn't sure if my motherboard, an EVGA X58 SLI LE supports booting from a PCIe card, as I didn't see an option for PCI booting in the BIOS.

Finally, should I use the HyperDuo mode if I did get that card? I've heard mixed things about that as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Need advice on purchasing PCIe to SATA 3 adapter card

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