Storage Configuration & Testing
For our testing, the operating system is always installed to a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe based SSD. A second, identical drive is employed for testing RAID0 performance on motherboards that support this functionality natively, without PCIe adapter kits. In cases where this is necessary, an alternative is used as the OS drive. It is either an Intel SSD 750 via U.2 to PCIe adapter or a SATA based Samsung 840 Pro.
Standard SATA III 6Gb/s drive tests were performed using Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX hard drives on all SATA headers. The SATA drives were used for testing in RAID 0 64k block size configurations on all applicable controllers when possible. While not necessarily ideal, AMD controllers can’t use smaller block sizes. For an apples to apples comparison, it is necessary to choose a common block size shared by both vendor’s controllers. Additionally, third party controllers from Marvell and Realtek should support this block size as well if necessary. All drive benchmarks were done using the freely available CrystalDiskMark program, run with both 50MB and 100MB sized test sets. NVMe drives use an additional 1000MB test set.
USB 2.0 Testing
To test the capabilities of the onboard USB 2.0 connections, we used a Sans Digital external eSATA / USB 2.0 drive enclosure, connected via the USB 2.0 port. Installed in the enclosure are dual Western Digital Caviar Black WD1002FAEX drives in a RAID0 configuration. In theory, this should always saturate the USB 2.0 connection an isolate the motherboard as the biggest variable in our USB 2.0 performance tests.
USB 3.x Testing
A Thermaltake BlacX 5G docking port which uses a USB 3.x connection with a SATA based Corsair Force GT SSD installed. While not the most modern drive, it is fast enough to test the USB connection.
Motherboard Storage Configuration
These days, motherboard storage configuration is largely determined by two factors. 1.) Motherboard chipset. 2.) Manufacturers choices. The former is pretty easy to figure out as all X570 motherboards offer the same feature set. However, AMD does leave some options up to the motherboard makers as far as what features to implement. For example, the dedicated x4 lanes used for M.2 / NVMe storage can be allocated to SATA ports or split to create two PCIe 4.0 / 3.0 x2 M.2 slots.
No manufacturer I’ve ever seen has opted for an alternate configuration like that, so everything is usually about the same. Having said that, one feature that is optionally implemented is NVMe RAID support. Simply put, this motherboard isn’t expensive enough to have this enabled. You won’t see this on even most midrange boards. This is a feature typically reserved for the upper echelon offerings that are above $300.
The GIGABYTE X570 Gaming X supports 2x M.2 slots, each allowing the use of 110mm length drives as well as SATA or NVMe type devices. It also supports up to 6x SATA III 6Gb/s ports.
- 1x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0*/3.0 x4/x2 SSD support)
- 6x SATA III 6Gb/s connectors
- Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
- x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports on the back panel
What’s available via the chipset is also based on what CPU you opt to use. If you use a Ryzen 1000 series CPU, you won’t get access to PCIe 4.0 and that sort of thing.
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support)
4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports available through the internal USB headers
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Again, a 3rd generation Ryzen 3000 series CPU is required to use PCIe 4.0 with the X570 chipset. You don’t see that much in the way of extra USB ports or anything. This is because the extra USB internal HUBs or extra controllers cost money. This is why you don’t have a back panel full of USB ports as you would on a higher-end motherboard.