[Review] Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller – AliExpress

A Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller was acquired in AliExpress imissky Design Co., Store. This card allows you to increase the number of PC SATA ports, going beyond those offered by the motherboard.

Motivation

The current motherboard on my PC is a ASUS Z87-DELUXE. She has 10 SATA ports, six of chipset Intel Z87 and four from two controllers ASMedia® ASM1061, embedded in the motherboard.

Even with this abundance of doors, still missing one, because I currently have 1 SSD, 4 HDDs, and 3 optical drives installed. Furthermore, there is an e-SATA port and two drawers with SATA ports in the case Cooler Master HAF X, totaling 11 devices.

One of the drawers has an SSD that I use as a cache for HDDs, and the other drawer was without cable connected due to lack of available port on the motherboard.

I'm about to do one upgrade on this PC, and among current motherboards there are no more models with 10 doors. ASUS still has models with 8 doors, but other major manufacturers, like MSI, have models with at most 6 doors. There's even a top model, a MSI X570 MEG Ace, that shamefully only has 4 SATA ports. Big blunder, hein MSI?

I understand that at the moment the greatest demand is for slots m.2, and that the current cabinets unfortunately have less and less space for HDDs and SATA SSDs, in favor of useless empty space on the pretext of cooling. But I will not give up my Cooler Master HAF X, nor should i install an m.2 SSD anytime soon. At first I will update only the basic trio: motherboard + processor + memory. The rest I update gradually afterwards. Give way, I need a solution for the lack of SATA ports on current motherboards.

And the simplest solution seems to me to be these PCI Express cards that offer SATA ports. They are relatively inexpensive and solve the problem. But they are not all the same, as we will see below.

Choice of Placa PCI Express 3.0 x2 ZyDAS

The choice of Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller among the various models available on AliExpress, it happened for some reasons that I will list below.

Number of SATA Ports 3.0: 6

This is a simple requirement: the more SATA ports 3.0, better! If not serving now, can serve in the future. In AliExpress there are plates with two, four, six, and up to eight SATA ports. Whereas my next motherboard will have 8 doors, I needed a model with at least three more. So, with a sign with six I'll have a good break. I didn't immediately choose a plate with 8 ports by the other requirements that I will list below, than those of 8 doors that I found do not comply.

It is also important to check the version of the SATA ports. On all the cards I saw the ports were SATA 3.0, the current version that offers up 600 MB / s of flow (6 Gross Gbps) for devices. They are backward compatible with SATA II and SATA I equipment.

Version of PCI Express: 3.0

It is no use having SATA ports 600 MB / s if the bottleneck is on the interface PCI Express. Many signs on AliExpress are PCI Express 2.0 and use a single track (x1). This gives a flow of 500 MB/s, in other words, a single SATA port 3.0 enough to saturate the interface PCI Express. Any current SSD would be limited by the interface PCI Express 2.0 x1, at least in sequential reading.

A Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS usa interface PCI Express 3.0, which has almost twice as much bandwidth as the previous version of the protocol. So, for motherboards with PCI Express 3.0 or higher it can reach 3.940 MB / s pois, Besides being PCI Express 3.0, she wears four tracks (lanes). This is sufficient to account for the 6 SATA ports working at the limit (6×600 MB/s = 3600 MB/s)

My plan is not even to put SSDs on Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS, but leave it for optical drives or at most HDDs. But in any case it is good that it has high bandwidth to guarantee possible future uses.

Tracks PCI Express 3.0: x4

This is another important point. Most of the available labels use an interface PCI Express x1, in other words, use a single track (lane). Thus, they are limited to 500 MB / s or 985 MB/s, depending on version of PCI Express (2.0 or 3.0).

A Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS is x4, so that she can achieve 3.940 MB/s. Note that it needs an x4 slot, x8, or x16. If the card has only x1 slot available it is best to buy an x1 card even, because the x4 will not fit. But with configurations with two or more video cards (SLI, Crossfire) falling out of favor, it is common to have slots PCI Express books.

Chipset Asmedia ASM1166

Another factor that weighed in the choice of Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS was the chipset Asmedia ASM1166. As ASUS uses chipsets from Asmedia on your motherboards, I suppose they are quality. Some cards do not inform the chipset that USAM, and then it’s complicated to risk. Other cards use chipset Marvell and/or JMicron, which are also well-known brands and have also been used on motherboards. Anyway, I opted for Asmedia because of the other requirements.

Unboxing and Tests

A Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller arrived packed in a bubble envelope. Inside, the little sign was in a rigid plastic. Came with two mirrors, one of standard size and one low profile.

I installed it in a PCI Express x16 slot on my current motherboard, a ASUS Z87-DELUXE. Here it is worth mentioning that despite using the x16 format, internally it only supports 4 tracks (x4). This is a slot that could be used by a third video card, in Crossfire, with all three running in x4 mode.

Since I only have a single video card, installed in a PCI Express x16 slot, I could use the second PCI Express x16 slot for Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS. But I think in that case I would limit the potential of my video card, because with the two PCI Express x16 slots in use, they only work at x8. At least that's how they work with two video cards, in SLI or Crossfire. I suppose that is also the case with other devices. Z87 chipset limitations…

The instruction manual also states that only the first two x16 slots are PCI Express 3.0. All other slots are PCI Express 2.0. Give way, mine Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS will be somewhat limited on my current motherboard, and will only be able to reach its full potential in the next upgrade.

Check out the photos and the video of the unboxing and installation of Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller:

With the card installed, I just connected the drawer cable that was missing. Windows detected the tag and showed the data in the device manager. I also read her data with the Sisoftware Sandra:

These are the complete information:

SiSoftware Sandra

Device Information
Device Type : SATA Disk Controller
Device ID : Bus D, Device 0, Function 0
Official Device Name : Controlador AHCI SATA Padrão
OEM Device Name : ASMedia Controlador AHCI SATA Padrão
Hardware ID : VEN_1B21 DEV_1166 REV_02
Device Name : ZyDAS Controlador AHCI SATA Padrão
Product ID : VEN_2116 DEV_2116 REV_02
Revision : A3

Power Management Features
Version : 1.2
Supports Clock Slow-down : Yes
Supports D1 PM State : No
Supports D2 PM State : No
Supports PME# : Yes
Supports PME Clock : No

PCIe Capabilities
Version : 3.0
Port : 0
Physical Slot Implemented : No
Phantom Functions Support : No
Maximum Payload Size : 0
Width : x 2 / x2
Speed : 5Gbps / 8Gbps

Device Capabilities
Line Cache Size : 16bytes
I/O Range : No
Memory Range : No
Bus Master Capable : No
Special Cycle Recognition : No
Memory Write and Invalidate : No
Video Palette Snoop : No
Parity Error Response : No
Address/Data Stepping : No
System Error Line : No
Fast back-to-back Transactions : No
Detects Parity Errors : No
Supports System Error Line : No
Supports Parity Line : No
User Defined Format : No
66MHz Bus Support : No
New Capability List : Yes
Device Select Timing : Fast
Multi-Function Device : No
Header : 00
Interface : 01

Hardware Resources
Memory Range : DF082000
Memory Range : DF080000
INT Pin : A#
Dynamic Management : Yes

Performance Enhancing Tips
Warning 1204 : Link speed lower than maximum supported. Device may be in low-power mode.
Tip 1202 : Device does not support bus mastering.
Tip 2 : Double-click tip or press Enter while a tip is selected for more information about the tip.

Here we have a lot of interesting information. The first is apparently the name of the manufacturer: Jew, that does not appear on the plaque, not even in the ad on AliExpress. It is also possible to confirm that the chipset is from ASMedia.

Interestingly the version of PCI Express also appears there as being 3.0, but I don't know if it is referring to the card or the slot. The slot is supposed to be just PCI Express 2.0. Bandwidth is identified as ‘x2 / x2’. I suppose they are read and write values. The speed is identified as ‘5 Gbps / 8 Gbps’, where I also suppose it is reading and writing. Here I understand that the software is providing the speed per track, because in the case of the video card it shows ‘2.5 Gbps / 8 Gbps’, with ‘x16 bandwidth / x16’.

5Gbps is the equivalent of a single PCI Express band 2.0, which provides 500 MB/s, discounting protocol overhead. On the other hand, 8Gbps would be a single PCI Express range 3.0, Which is equivalent to 985 MB/s, also discounting the protocol overhead. The card would then be working on PCI Express 3.0 x 2? I think it makes sense, after all the toal bandwidth of PCI Express 2.0 x4 is little bigger than PCI Express 3.0 x 2.

The software also alerts you that the link speed is below the maximum supported, and that it could mean that the device is in low power mode. Maybe it is related to the support of the slot being only PCI Express 2.0 x4. I'll have to wait for the upgrade motherboard to make sure.

It should be noted that the parent companies ASMedia® ASM1061 built into the motherboard only work on PCI Express 2.0 x1. Sandra indicates ‘x1 bandwidth / x1’ and speed ‘5 Gbps / 5 Gbps’. Each controller has two SATA ports, so are 500 MB / s for each pair of ports. So the little sign ZyDAS takes advantage over additional motherboard ports when only one or two devices are being used at full power.

I also did a test with an SSD connected to the board ZyDAS to see how it behaved and it worked perfectly.

Tracing

These are the package tracking information with the Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller obtained in the system AliExpress:

2020.07.20 16:07 (GMT-7): Delivery successful
2020.07.02 15:07 (GMT-7): Accepted by Last Mile Carrier
2020.06.28 05:10 (GMT-7): Arrived at destination country
2020.06.27 10:10 (GMT-7): Departed country of origin
2020.06.27 10:10 (GMT-7): Departed country of origin
2020.06.22 15:06 (GMT-7): Shipment arrived at country of origin post office
2020.06.20 14:26 (GMT-7): Shipment left country of origin warehouse
2020.06.16 23:05 (GMT-7): Shipment at country of origin warehouse
2020.06.16 22:35 (GMT-7): Shipment dispatched

And these are the information obtained on the site of the station:

20/07/2020
16:03
[REMOVED] / SP Object delivered to the recipient
20/07/2020
09:59
[REMOVED] / SP object out for delivery to the recipient
17/07/2020
13:32
INDAIATUBA / SP
Objeto encaminhado
de Unidade de Tratamento em INDAIATUBA / SP for distribution Unit in [REMOVED] / SP
16/07/2020
19:41
INDAIATUBA / SP	Objeto ainda não chegou à unidade
Por favor, wait
07/07/2020
14:58
CURITIBA / PR
Objeto encaminhado
de Unidade de Distribuição em CURITIBA / PR for Treatment Unit in INDAIATUBA / SP
07/07/2020
14:56
CURITIBA / PR finalized Customs supervision
02/07/2020
15:24
CURITIBA / PR	Objeto recebido pelos Correios do Brasil

Informar nº do documento para a fiscalização e entrega do seu objeto. Click here My Imports
22/06/2020
16:30
HONG KONG /
Objeto encaminhado
de País em HONG KONG / countries in International treatment unit / BR

Informar nº do documento para a fiscalização e entrega do seu objeto. Click here My Imports
22/06/2020
15:57
HONG KONG / 	Objeto postado

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Table-Summary

This is the table-summary of purchase:

Product Name: Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller
Name Original: 6Gbps PCI Express ASM1166 PCIe to sata 6G expansion Card sata 3.0 adapter HUB PCI express 4X SATA Adapter Computer components
Store: AliExpress imissky Design Co., Store
Value: R$ 130,74
Current value: R$ 178,59
Payment Method: Credit Card Visa International
Shipping Type: Aliexpress Standard Shipping
Shipping Fee: Free
Package Home Country: China
Purchase Data: 15/06/2020
Submission Date: 16/06/2020
Data Delivery: 20/07/2020
Time in Transit: 34 days
Declared content: USB Cable
Type Marked Content: Commercial Sample
Declared Value: CNY 7.27
Taxed: Not
Taxable Value: -
Tax Value: -

Final Considerations

A Placa PCI Express 3.0 x4 ZyDAS com 6 6Gbps SATA ports and Asmedia ASM1166 Controller é uma boa alternativa para quem precisa de mais portas SATA do que a placa-mãe oferece.

Ainda falta confirmar se ela realmente funciona em PCI Express 3.0 x4, mas vou ter que esperar pela minha próxima placa-mãe que está à caminho para poder fazer esse teste.

Share this article with your friends if you liked 😉 . If you also want to shop in AliExpress, directly from Hong Kong, click here and good shopping.

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