Yesterday morning Legit Reviews contacted Marvell about ASUS Removing SATA 6Gb/s support due to Marvell controller yield issues on all of their upcoming Intel P55 Express motherboards. The Marvell 88SE9123 controller was to blame, so we figured the least we could do was get a comment on the issue from our friends at Marvell. At 9pm CST we got our answer and you can read it for youself below. It seems that the legacy PATA functionality in the Marvell 88SE9123 controller was having some issues that have since been found and corrected. The bad news is that Marvell is going to have to produce a new chip revision. If that means a whole new tape out that could take more than a month to reach the market. Not good news, but at least a fix is in the works and it sounds like motherboard companies will be able to quickly put the new revision Marvell 88SE9123 controllers on motherboards in the near future. Pictured below is the Marvell 88SE9123 controller on our GA-P55-UD5 motherboard that we have been using for testing internally.
Recent news of delays of SATA 6Gb/s product launches is due to a hardware issue related to PATA (legacy Parallel ATA, or IDE) compatibility on the Marvell 88SE9123. This Marvell controller chip supports both 6Gb/s SATA as well as PATA on the same chip. It is the legacy PATA functionality, not the SATA, which is the root cause of the product delays. Marvell has already identified a solution to the PATA issue and a new chip revision to resolve the issue will be introduced quickly. To date, as far as Marvell is aware, no SATA (6Gb/s, 3Gb/s, or 1.5Gb/s) issues with the 88SE9123 have been reported by Marvell customers or partners, or discovered via extensive Marvell internal qualification testing. Marvell continues to work with its customers and partners on development, as well as on compatibility and performance testing in preparation for the 6Gb/s SATA industry introduction, which remains on track for a 2009 launch.