asus logo Asus launches USB 3.0 speed booster, UASP support for ASMedia

So far we've only seen performance boosting software for USB 3.0 data transfer from ASRock, but now Asus has launched its own take, alongside a set of new drivers for ASMedia's USB 3.0 host controllers which adds UASP support. We did a quick and dirty speed test with the new drivers to see if there was any improvement, although we didn't have a compatible Asus motherboard at hand to test the speed boosting software.

So far we've only seen performance boosting software for USB 3.0 data transfer from ASRock, but now Asus has launched its own take, alongside a set of new drivers for ASMedia's USB 3.0 host controllers which adds UASP support. We did a quick and dirty speed test with the new drivers to see if there was any improvement, although we didn't have a compatible Asus motherboard at hand to test the speed boosting software.

UASP or USB Attached SCSI Protocol not only brings with it a performance boost as long as you're using a storage device with UASP support, but it also offers support for command queuing and removes several software overheads. But most significantly for most consumers, UASP adds support for out-of-order completion of file copies. What does this mean in practical terms? Well, you can now copy files simultaneously by drag and drop and they'll finish based on the file size rather than on the order you copied them as in generally the case with the Bulk Only Transfer protocol. Sadly UASP won't be a standard until Windows 8 comes out and it's quite tricky to know which devices are supported and which aren't.

Renesas was the first to support UASP for its host controllers and has so far been the only USB 3.0 host controller manufacturer to support the standard. That said, ASMedia has support UASP on the device side for quite some time and its ASM1051E, ASM1051U and ASM1054 SATA to USB 3.0 bridges all support UASP. According to Asus, the LucidPort USB300 SATA to USB 3.0 bridge also offers UASP support and this is also what the manufacturers website is stating. Beyond SATA bridges several USB 3.0 flash drives also support UASP and Asus is providing a list of devices that the company has tested on its website (see link at the end of the article).

asus usb3 boost Asus launches USB 3.0 speed booster, UASP support for ASMedia

Even if you don't have an Asus motherboard, but an ASMedia host controller we suggest you head over to Asus and hit the download button, as included in its USB 3.0 Boost package are new ASMedia drivers as well as a new firmware and both are needed for UASP support and will work on all ASMedia USB 3.0 host controllers. We did a really quick Crystal DiskMark test using the same ASM1051E bridge and Patriot Wildfire SSD and although we used a different system for the test than the one we used during our exhaustive USB 3.0 host controller roundup, we saw improved read speeds of about 12MB/s although the read speed was only up by about 1MB/s. That's still a decent improvement considering that all we did was flash the host controller firmware and install a new driver.

Asus is making some wild claims of a 170 percent performance increase in UASP mode which might be possible in some scenarios and considering that their test setup was slightly different and consisted of actual file copying, we can't say it's wrong. What's more surprising is that its Turbo software only offers a 127 percent improvement in the same scenario, although that was in BOT (Bulk Only Transfer) mode, as apparently Asus' USB 3.0 Boost software isn't compatible with UASP. Still, if you have a device that doesn't support UASP, it's still a decent way of getting some additional performance out of your USB 3.0 devices. For some reason there's also a "normal" mode in the USB 3.0 Boost software in case you have a device that doesn't like UASP or the boost mode.

So the takeaway here is that even if you don't have an Asus motherboard on the list, as long as you have an ASMedia USB 3.0 host controller it's well worth upgrading the firmware and drivers. Asus is currently listing 17 motherboard models that it says are compatible with the USB 3.0 Boost software and the new UASP drivers. We tested with a standard ASM1042 based PCI Express cards and didn't run into any issues with the new UASP drivers and several devices that we tested it with. All we're hoping for now is that all the other USB 3.0 host controller makers will follow suit and launch UASP drivers for their host controllers.

Update: We ran another quick test in HD Tune Pro 4.61 and got an average read speed of 261.6MB/s, that's nearly 37MB/s faster than without UASP. In terms of write performance we saw a huge increase in performance here too with an increase in the average sequential write speed of 33MB/s, although the maximum write speed peaked at 293.3MB/s a few times, with the average write speed hitting 242.6MB/s. Pretty impressive stuff, especially as it's a free upgrade.

Source: Asus