When Allwinner A80 TV boxes with SATA port were first release, some people hailed SATA performance, especially while seeking during video playback. But at the time, I was skeptical of these claims since Allwinner A80 SoC does not have have a SATA interface, so a USB to SATA bridge must be used, and the performance should be the same as USB hard drives. Unfortunately, I was unable to confirm these doubts, and test SATA performance in my review of Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta, because at the time, I did not have any spare SATA hard drive or SSD. But since I’ve received CubieTruck Metal Case kit, which include a 120 GB SSD, so I could finally test the device SATA interface.
This CHUANG JIU SSD achieves write and read speeds of respectively 8.7 MB/s & 50.5 MB/s for NTFS, and 36.31 MB/s & 179.45 MB/s for EXT-4 using CubieTruck with Debian 7.6, and Bonnie++ benchmark tool. NTFS is usually slower and performance improve with a faster CPU, because system tends to use a user space implementation (ntfs-3g), whereas EXT-4 file system is handled by the kernel. I plan to try out Linux on Draco AW80 once an SD card image is released, but for now I’ll test the system in Android which only supports NTFS (or FAT32) with A1 SD Bench setting custom location to /mnt/usbhost5/8_1, which confirms we are indeed using a USB bridge here.
The green dot are just used to show Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta results, the first one is with a USB 3.0 hard drive, and the one one the right is with my SATA SSD. It clearly shows performance is rather disappointing with 17.56 MB/s read speed, and 18.26 MB/s write speed, and confirms the SATA port on Allwinner A80 devices is mostly for convenience if you happen to have a SATA drive only, and no external USB hard drive.