ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard has 8 IDE channels?

Following from this thread http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=165884 I still can’t count 8 IDE channels on this motherboard. Anyone can enlighten me?

Another question, since I never used any SATA drives, there are 8 SATA connectors on the motherboard. For PATA, I know that one channel can have two drives. Normally for not-so-new motherboards (new models nowadays have only one channels by default) we have two channels to connect four IDE devices. Transfering data from say a HDD to another on the same channel is not as fast as transfering to one on a different channel. Is this the same for SATA drives? Like if you have four SATA HDDs, and none is connecting to any additional on-board IDE/RAID controller, does it mean you have similar situation whereas transfering data between say SATA1 and SATA2 (or SATA3 and SATA4) is not as fast as transfering data between SATA1 and SATA3 (or SATA1 and SATA4, or SATA2 and SATA3, or SATA2 and SATA4)?

If that’s true, does it also apply to the additional IDE/RAID controller working in non-RAID mode?

Cheers!

Each SATA port is independant, none effects the others. It’s also good to note that many, if not all, of the boards that have 8 SATA ports have 2 controllers, 4 ports on each controller. One controller will be on the chipset, and will be very fast. The other controller will be on a separate chip (usually SIL), connect via PCI bus, and is not as fast. (also competes with everything else on the PCI.) Practically speaking, unless you’re running RAID, the speed difference will not be evident in every day use.

Thanks, rdgrimes.

So if an SATA port was to be called a channel, it should be treated as one channel per port.

But I’ve never seen anyone use the word “channel” with SATA ports. I always thought it was only used with PATA ports. Last week I was looking for a new motherboard and was disappointed to find that new models nowadays have the default IDE channels of two scrapped to only one. Which means you can only connect two PATA optical drives. That’s why I got excited when I saw “This motherboard has 8 IDE channels;” in Dee-27’s review(s).

Anyway, for this motherboard:

Storage:
NVIDIA nForce 4SLI chipset supports:

  • 2 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33
  • 4 x Serial ATA 3Gb/s drives
    Silicon Image 3114R RAID controller supports:
  • 4 x Serial ATA

That means the number of IDE channels on this motherboard is either:

a) 2 channels (if SATA ports can’t be called channels) or
b) 2 + 4 = 6 channels (if SATA ports can be called channels) or
c) 2 + 4 + 4 = 10 channels (if the RAID controller can also work in non-RAID mode – which isn’t clear from the manual)

I still don’t see where “8 IDE channels” comes from.

I think you’re talking about the “Premium” version of this board.

HERE

The ASUS web site is screwed up as usual, so I can’t see a close-up of the board, but it appears that you would have 2 PATA ports, (4 drives), and 4 SATA ports on the NV RAID controller, plus 4 SATA ports on the SIL controller. The non-premium version is lacking the SIL controller and heat pipe.

Some board have an extra IDE controller on a RAID chip that will support 4 more IDE drives, but this isn’t one of them. I’ll also ad that you would not probably have good luck trying to run both controllers in RAID mode, if that’s a concern.

And no, there are no “channels” with SATA controllers, each port is independant.

Both Deluxe and Premium versions have the same storage capability according to the manuals.

I hate their choice of VBScript in Products Comparison page. So here’s a direct link:

http://www.asus.com/products_compare_show.aspx?array_model=744,382,375,539,789

Taiwanese companies seem to like Microsoft IIS, VBScript, what else? ASUS, Lite-On, who else?

Cheers.

A few more questions. Assuming all drives are of the same model and new (no fragments :p):

  1. Would data transfer between each of the SATA drives connected to the Silicon Image SATA controller be as fast as between each of the SATA drives connected directly to the SouthBridge?

  2. Without any PCI cards plugged-in, would reading/writing from/to an SATA drives connected to the Silicon Image SATA controller be as fast as from/to an SATA drives connected directly to the SouthBridge?

Cheers.

Yes, but keep in mind that speed is limited by the drive itself, not the interface. If running 2 identical RAID-0 arrays that can actually max out the interface, you would see very slight differences in speed betwen the PCI based and chipset based controllers. The difference is small.

  1. Without any PCI cards plugged-in, would reading/writing from/to an SATA drives connected to the Silicon Image SATA controller be as fast as from/to an SATA drives connected directly to the SouthBridge?

Cheers.

Same answer. Keep in mind that there are many things running on the PCI bus besides PCI cards. All the USB, NIC, sound, IDE controller, firewire etc. are running on the PCI bus. Normally, this is not a problem. All of this also consumes CPU time. My experience has been that PCI-based controllers also consume more CPU time than chipset based ones, especially with large file transfers from drive to drive. Again this is rarely much of an issue.

Many thanks, rdgrimes.