Thursday, July 15th 2010

ASUS Intros P7P55/USB3 Motherboard, Features USB 3.0 Front-Panel Header

With a small but sizable, and growing number of PC cases with front-panel USB 3.0 ports, it is making sense for motherboard vendors to reciprocate with motherboards that have USB 3.0 front-panel headers. Spearheading this is ASUS, with its new mainstream socket LGA1156 motherboard based on the Intel P55 chipset, the P7P55/USB3. USB 3.0 has a different front-panel header layout from USB 2.0/1.1, and on ASUS' motherboard, there are two NEC-made 2-port USB 3.0 controllers, one for the two rear USB 3.0 ports, and one for the 2-port USB 3.0 header. The header can connect to front-panel ports, or simply provide two rear ports using an expansion bracket.

Apart from that, the P7P55/USB3 is a fairly standard offering with 4+2 phase CPU VRM, one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot, a PCI-Express x16 (electrical x4) slot, and two each of PCI-E x1 and PCI. The P55 PCH provides six SATA 3 Gb/s ports, connectivity features include 8-channel HD audio with optical SPDIF output, gigabit Ethernet, and USB 3.0. ASUS did not give out a price, though one can expect this model to be on the lower side, we expect under $150.

Source: OCWorkbench
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12 Comments on ASUS Intros P7P55/USB3 Motherboard, Features USB 3.0 Front-Panel Header

#1
Delta6326
sweet i was just wondering when this would happen
Posted on Reply
#2
TheLostSwede
I bet it'll be more, as each pair of USB 3.0 ports are still (sadly) priced at about $10, so that's $20 in total for the four USB 3.0 ports alone and that's manufacturing cost...

Then again, as the board has pretty nothing else in terms of extra features...
Posted on Reply
#3
BazookaJoe
This is fantastic.

I'm already using USB3 via an add-on card, and its great. Even USB2 devices perform better on a USB3 port so its beneficial even when you DON'T have a USB3 device around.

Now we can start seeing proper front panel support in future cases, it's going to be fantastic for me.
Posted on Reply
#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: TheLostSwede
I bet it'll be more, as each pair of USB 3.0 ports are still (sadly) priced at about $10, so that's $20 in total for the four USB 3.0 ports alone and that's manufacturing cost...

Then again, as the board has pretty nothing else in terms of extra features...
ASUS gets them for $3 a piece for the kind of quantities it orders from Renesas. Even otherwise, the board minus the two controllers is hardly worth over $100 if sold as an SKU.
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#5
WarEagleAU
Bird of Prey
Time for more folks to start taking out USB 2.0 and replacing it with USB 3.0.
Posted on Reply
#6
Mussels
Moderprator
by: BazookaJoe

I'm already using USB3 via an add-on card, and its great. Even USB2 devices perform better on a USB3 port so its beneficial even when you DON'T have a USB3 device around.
.
i would like to know more about this
Posted on Reply
#7
BazookaJoe
Well its not the BEST example, and I made a nice animated gif showing the comparison better - but it seems TPU image uploader does not support animated gif :( - So here's the stills...

These two are of the exact same drive A Seagate 7200.12 in a Vantec NexStar3 eSATA/USB2 case.

First image is the case plugged into a USB2 port, and the second pic is the same case plugged into a USB3 port.

At first glance there may not seem to be an astounding difference in sustained read/write - although USB3 is clearly faster, BUT : If you look at the 0.5k - 16k blocks you will see performance differences of up to 100% improvement, and this makes an ASTOUNDING difference in performance if you are actually running software from the drive, and not just using it to store your ISO's and MKV's :)

The obvious culprit being that most USB2 chips are pretty low quality what with ALL manufacturers opting for affordability over quality - and although they all have a certain rated maximum performance the truth is, just like dial up modems, what with data packet traffic control and error correction, they can never possibly hope to actually sustain those rated statistics, especially when there is an equally poor chip on both ends having to wait for each and the other to, in turn, perform their own corrections and traffic controls.

When one end of that loop becomes USB3 it allows the last remaining USB2 controller to function far closer to its actual potential, as it is never waiting for the port on the other side, assuming you have a high end USB3 controller, it makes far quicker work of the tasks on its end of the loop letting the USB2 chip on the other side work far more freely.

Posted on Reply
#8
Mussels
Moderprator
interesting, so USB3.0 has lower latency when dealing with tons of small files - something USB based flash drives are notoriously bad for.

I will run a test on a flash drive here myself, to confirm your findings.
Posted on Reply
#9
BazookaJoe
Bear in mind that an average NTFS partition is broken down to 4K clusters, where, in these results, we see a near 100% improvement on the USB3 controller.

AND BEFORE anyone try's to say "Blah Blah you cant look at it like that because I'm a killjoy who doesn't want this to be true..." I am ALREADY running software off of this drive and it indeed DOES make a significant difference.

Now I'm obviously not trying to imply that programs will RUN 100% better on USB3 - Far from it - I'm just saying that it IS better... and better by ANY margin is good in my book :)
Posted on Reply
#10
Mussels
Moderprator



my results back up bazookajoe.

front panel USB 3.0 just became even more awesome. (with smaller size chunks/files, its almost twice as fast)

Its almost 2MB/s faster at 4K (the NTFS starting point) - roughly 30% faster, with the same cheap flash drive and no changes other than USB 2.0 to 3.0
Posted on Reply
#11
buggalugs
Wow the connector itself looks very big, about double the size of USB 2
Posted on Reply
#12
pr0n Inspector
by: buggalugs
Wow the connector itself looks very big, about double the size of USB 2
each USB3 cable has 8 wires in it.
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