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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 22 December 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Solid State Drive (SSD) Benchmark Performance Testing
Intel ICH10R SATA Controller
SSD Testing Methodology
HD Tach: HDD Performance
HD Tach: SSD Performance
Do Memory Amounts Matter?
Proving The Results
PCMark05 Performance
EVEREST Controller Analysis
SSD Testing Final Thoughts
SSD Testing Conclusion

SSD Testing: JMicron vs ICH10R

EDITOR'S NOTE 27 August 2010: This article was originally published in December 2008, before NAND Garbage Collection (GC) technologies such as TRIM existed, and very few Solid State Drive controllers were available. Sections of this article have been updated to reflect improvements in benchmark software and driver refinements, and the conclusion has been re-written.

I'm not happy to be writing this article. In fact, I'm completely sickened by the thought of it. If SSD technology is close to you, or you are also a reviewer, perhaps by the end you will be too. You see, I have been working very hard to cover Solid State Drive technology. It's literally become an addiction, really, and I have spent countless hours and untold amounts of money to support my habit. But I've had a moment of clarity, and it's time that I come clean and admit that I've got a problem. A legitimate problem. This particular problem isn't a love for all things SSD, which certainly exists; this is a problem that affects you as well. So to put things more astutely: everyone using SSD's has a problem, and there's a problem with the way we're all testing SSDs.

After nearly two years of testing Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD) products, you might presume that most of the bugs have been ironed out in regard to test tools and SSD firmware. This is not the case, even by a long-shot, as any early JMicron SSD owners will tell you. Problematic firmware aside, testing SSD technology has become a real challenge... at least if you're trying to do it 'right'. That's the point of this article, and to get you to better understand the problem, I must take you through some of my own experiences.

Regardless of your position relative to SSD products, whether you test them or use them, every page of this guide will detail the problem behind our favorite technology. Most of it isn't pretty, I'll warn you now; but every single word is worth reading.


In this article, Benchmark Reviews sets out to detail the performance differences between SSD products attached to the JMicron JMB322 host-based controller and the Intel ICH10R, but instead discovered a larger problem. While read and write performance can sway unpredictably between SATA controllers, the most disturbing subject is the inconsistency between test tools. One version of a benchmark tool may record different results from another, while some other tools report different results even when the same version and driver are used. Please join me as I confess my frustrations in detail, and educate you on my test miseries before you are forced to experience them yourselves.



# Using Intel IHC10 controller or the Marvel 6gb/s 9128 controller?Don 2010-08-10 01:38
Great article,I have connected my SSD to the Marvel 6gb/s port and the rest of my HDDs to the IHC10 3gb/s controller. I always wondered if that was a good move or not as during bios load it sees the Marvel controllr first with my SSD and then the IHC10 sees the rest of my drives. I always wondered if the Marvel controller also took advantage of the AICH driver to run TRIM on the SSD. Do you think I need to move my SSD's port?
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# RE: Using Intel IHC10 controller or the Marvel 6gb/s 9128 controller?Olin Coles 2010-08-10 06:45
This article is a little bit dated, since there wasn't a lot of information available about SSDs in 2008. Still, it proves a few points.

From all of the recent SSD testing I've done, I recommend the Intel ICH for all SATA-3GBps SSDs, and the Marvell SATA 6Gb/s controller only for compliant SSDs (presently only the Crucial C300). SATA 6Gb/s HDDs are somewhat pointless, and work just as fast on the Intel ICH10.

I suggest that you also read my ACHI vs IDE article: /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=505&Itemid=38
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