Friday, October 30th 2009
Just as ASUS was readying its first wave of socket LGA-1156 motherboards, the company picked up interest in offering SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 as a feature set. With the P7P55D Premium motherboard, the company even used a PCI-Express 2.0 bridge chip to ensure the SATA 6 Gb/s controller - the Marvell 88SE9123-NAA2 - got a PCI-E 2.0 x1 link, which other manufacturers end up wiring a PCI-E 1.1 x1 link from the P55 PCH. In a bid to propagate the design, the company had also designed an addon card that works on the same principle. The the card has finally taken shape in the form of the ASUS U3S6 (USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s), complete with its missing USB 3.0 controller that provides two SuperSpeed 5000 Mbps ports. The interface bottleneck for the NEC µPD720200 USB 3.0 controller is also reduced by provision of a PCI-E 2.0 x1 link. Both connectors are wired to a PLX PEX8613 3-port/12-lane PCI-E 2.0 bridge chip, which takes in four PCI-Express lanes (typically PCI-E 1.1 lanes from the southbridge or P55 PCH), and gives out the required two links. Although there is no word on the card's price yet, PCSTATS reckons something around $30 likely. In that case, the card would be a steal deal, considering recently announced SATA 6 Gb/s addon cards by HighPoint that hold just the Marvell 88SE9123-NAA2, are priced over $60.