Monday, December 23rd 2013

ASUS Z87-Deluxe/SATA-Express Detailed

ASUS released a prototype of the first desktop PC motherboard with SATA-Express support, the Z87-Deluxe/SATA-Express. A variant of ASUS' flagship socket LGA1150 motherboard from its mainline Z87 series, the Z87-Deluxe, the board features two SATA-Express ports. SATA-Express sees a fusion between two of the most successful serial I/O interfaces, SATA and PCI-Express. It's essentially ATA over PCI-Express 2.0 x2, which offers a raw bandwidth of 8 Gbps per direction, 16 Gbps total. The SATA-Express port is structured similar to the classic SATA port, with PCI-Express lanes running over two 7-pin SATA connectors, and an additional block of 4 pins that make up the 18 pins required by 2-lane PCI-Express. A SATA-Express connector is thus unified, and legacy SATA devices should still be able to run off one of the two 7-in SATA connectors in a SATA-Express block.

Since there are no SATA-Express drives in the market, ASUS gave TweakTown a MacGyver contraption that adapts SATA-Express to a physical PCI-Express 2.0 x4 slot (electrical x2). An ASUS RAIDR Express PCI-Express SSD was found to offer sequential transfer rates of around 750 MB/s on ATTO. The rest of the board is practically identical to the Z87-Deluxe. The board uses a 16-phase VRM to condition power for the LGA1150 CPU. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors. Expansion slots include three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16/NC/NC or x8/x8/NC or x8/x4/x4, depending on how they're populated); and four PCI-Express 2.0 x1 slots.

The Z87 Express PCH gives out six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, of which two are given away to the two SATA-Express ports (should you decide to plug-in a normal SATA drive into them), while four are given out in ordinary stacks of two ports each. The board offers a total of eight USB 3.0 ports, six on the rear panel, two by headers. Connectivity includes two gigabit Ethernet ports, 802.11 ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. Display connectivity includes a DisplayPort 1.2 connector, and HDMI 1.4a. 8-channel HD audio with optical (TOSLINK) digital output, and a number of USB 2.0/1.1 ports make for the rest of the connectivity. ASUS didn't reveal availability details. For more benchmark results of the RAIDR Express on this board, click on the source link.Source: TweakTown
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14 Comments on ASUS Z87-Deluxe/SATA-Express Detailed

#1
buggalugs
I don't get it, why wouldn't you just use a PCI-E SSD if you wanted to use the PCI-E bus? The speed doesn't seem worth it. Even 2 SSDs in RAID on sata 3 is faster. Am I missing something?
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#2
james888
by: buggalugs
I don't get it, why wouldn't you just use a PCI-E SSD if you wanted to use the PCI-E bus? The speed doesn't seem worth it. Even 2 SSDs in RAID on sata 3 is faster. Am I missing something?
Afaik, pci ssd's don't boot windows.



I bet the guy who made the MacGyver contraption has a fun job.
Posted on Reply
#3
Prima.Vera
by: james888
Afaik, pci ssd's don't boot windows.
Not true. The latest drives not just they support OS booting, but they also have all the features of SATA drives like TRIM, NCQ, SMART, OP, etc....
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#4
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: Prima.Vera
Not true. The latest drives not just they support OS booting, but they also have all the features of SATA drives like TRIM, NCQ, SMART, OP, etc....
I think that depends on the drive.
Posted on Reply
#5
james888
by: Prima.Vera
Not true. The latest drives not just they support OS booting, but they also have all the features of SATA drives like TRIM, NCQ, SMART, OP, etc....
That is good to know. I was looking at getting an ngff drive when they become available. One of the pcix2 based ones. By my research it appeared that they wont be bootable.
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#6
bogami
This is a response to the coming 12 GB controllers and significantly increased speed as SSD 4 does not exist yet. PCI- E 4 will doo 2 GB /s (OCZ REVO DRIVE 3 MAX IPOS X2 240 GB - 960 GB).:)
Posted on Reply
#7
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
I hate they way they put the VRM heatsinks around the CPU socket like that. It will make installing some CPU coolers an awful experience if not a difficult job. I had the same problem while trying to install a Xigmatek tower cooler on an ASrock board cuz the VRM heatsinks were too close to the socket and were so damn chunky
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#8
TheHunter
by: FreedomEclipse
I hate they way they put the VRM heatsinks around the CPU socket like that. It will make installing some CPU coolers an awful experience if not a difficult job. I had the same problem while trying to install a Xigmatek tower cooler on an ASrock board cuz the VRM heatsinks were too close to the socket and were so damn chunky
If its the same like on my Z87-Deluxe then it won't be a problem, H90 is kinda difficult to mount and I had no issues with it.
lol its also my first real build from scratch, before that I use to buy custom prebuild. :)
Posted on Reply
#9
NeoXF
by: james888
Afaik, pci ssd's don't boot windows.



I bet the guy who made the MacGyver contraption has a fun job.
Also, I don't want storage stuff filling my expansion slots, especially if I have a a 3-slot video card or multiple video cards, I have storage cages for a reason you know...
Posted on Reply
#10
JoePesci
Maybe they can merge those 3 cables into one and create something really new and highly innovative like this here:
Posted on Reply
#11
badtaylorx
16gbps is pretty sweet,

can we start calling it the S-ex port????
Posted on Reply
#12
freaksavior
To infinity ... and beyond!
Is this supposed to be a new revision to the sata port design?
Posted on Reply
#13
Prima.Vera
by: james888
That is good to know. I was looking at getting an ngff drive when they become available. One of the pcix2 based ones. By my research it appeared that they wont be bootable.
OCZ have some problems with the Revo drives, but now the latest releases from Intel, Samsung, Micron and even OCZ I think are boot-able... Be prepared to pay grotesque price for those thou.
Posted on Reply
#14
MRFS
Instead of trying to persuade a large installed base to accept yet another expansion socket, my own studied opinion is that SATA Express is poorly conceived. With all major consumer SSDs now bumping against the "class ceiling" imposed by the 6G SATA-III clock and the obsolete 8b/10b "legacy frame", as of Fall 2012 the Storage Developer Conference was presented with 2 major enhancements to the next SATA-IV standard: 8G SATA clocks and the 128b/130b "jumbo frame" that is already a feature of PCI-Express 3.0. If you search announcements for CES 2014 in Las Vegas, you will confirm that USB 3.1 saw the light and implemented those same 2 enhancements i.e. up to 10G clocks and a nearly identical "jumbo frame". So, why did the SATA-IO people choose yet another socket, instead of enhancing the existing SATA standard? They could have done the latter, because we told them so many months ago. If anything, SATA Express should be a feature of add-on controllers that use existing PCIe expansion slots. That was the whole reason for PCI-Express in the first place -- ease of expansion and future-proofing motherboard investments.
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