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Asus’ New Proprietary Tools and Utilities

It’s been a while since Asus started offering an organized Asus AI Suite II instead of a variety of individual programs and tools. I am sure you will agree that the unified interface looks very convenient and saves the user time and trouble switching between various utilities. The only thing we wish they kept in it is the ability to download only those tools that you really need instead of the entire suite. Namely, the latest Asus AI Suite II version available at the time of tests was V1.02.11 weighing 374.21 MB and including the following programs:

  • ASUS Mobilink V1.01.05
  • ASUS SSD Caching V1.00.04
  • ASUS Update V1.03.02
  • ASUS BT GO! V1.00.43
  • ASUS DIGI+ Power Control V1.00.07
  • ASUS EPU V1.03.08
  • ASUS FAN Xpert Plus V1.01.06
  • ASUS My Logo V1.02.03
  • ASUS Probe II V1.00.43
  • ASUS System Information V1.02.05
  • ASUS TurboV EVO V1.01.10
  • ASUS USB 3.0 Boost V1.02.02

You don’t have to install the entire suite, but only the programs that you really need. We are already well familiar with most of these utilities from the previous Asus mainboard reviews. However, there are a few new ones in this list, which we have to say a few words about here. The first one is Asus SSD Caching.

Intel Smart Response technology allows significantly speeding up traditional hard disk drives due to caching onto the SSD drive. However, at this time this technology works only on Intel Z68 Express based mainboards, while all other chipsets were deprived of it purposefully. Despite this fact many mainboards out there are equipped with an additional Marvell 88SE9128 controller and support a similar “HyperDuo” function instead. During our tests of Asus P8Z68 Deluxe mainboard we tried to estimate the functionality of this feature and compare its efficiency with that of Intel Smart Response, but unfortunately, we faced some problems at the time and had to give up that idea. Asus P9X79 Deluxe mainboard is also equipped with the same Marvell 88SE9128 controller, but this time we worked with a Samsung HDD instead of Seagate and used the new Asus SSD Caching utility instead of the controller BIOS or Marvell Storage Utility.

The program from Asus is very easy to work with. It identifies all connected drives on system boot-up.

The only thing we have to do is press the “Caching Now!” button and wait for the caching process to be completed. In our case it took about 30 minutes, but you don’t have to babysit this process and can continue working on your computer. No system reboot is necessary at the end, either.

In order to estimate the performance boost your disk sub-system receives after configuring the drives with Asus SSD Caching utility, we measures the read speed of the SSD and HDD separately.

Asus promises that the performance will triple and we do see three times higher read speed compared with the initial numbers. In this respect the old hard disk drive has almost fully caught up with the fast SSD. Moreover, Intel Smart Response technology can only use small 20-60 GB SSDs for the caching, while Asus SSD Caching tool doesn’t have any limitation like that. However, do not forget that it is impossible to completely transform a regular HDD into an SSD. Cached date is indeed read very quickly from the SSD, however, it is still being recorded onto the HDD, so it limits our speed during writes. However, it is a common drawback of all caching technologies, and Asus SSD Caching utility undoubtedly deserves the highest score for simple and efficient implementation.

Asus USB 3.0 Boost is another new utility included in the Asus AI Suite II. This program allows using UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for those devices that support it. Unfortunately, both USB 3.0 drives that we had at our disposal at the time of tests didn’t support this USB 3.0 protocol.

However, even in this case we can enable Turbo mode, which will allow speed up the devices by sending the packets of data simultaneously instead of one by one. When Turbo technology is on, the drive icon changes its appearance – it gets a speedometer.

Once Turbo mode for the drives is on, the operating system sees new devices:

However, we didn’t notice any acceleration. Buffalo DriveStation HD-HX1.0TU3 with a regular HDD 1 TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HDD model ST31000528AS inside was still reading data at about 130 MB/s, and writing data at about 120 MB/s. The compact LaCie Rugged USB 3.0 with a 2.5' Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 HDD model HTS7250A9A364 with 500 GB storage capacity continued to read and write data at the same 110 MB/s speed as before. It is a pity but in our case Asus USB 3.0 Boost utility didn’t really work. By the way, the manufacturers provide their storage devices with special caching and acceleration utilities of their own. The Help for Asus USB 3.0 Boost recommends using these utilities if available.

Moreover, Asus’ proprietary utilities still cannot be correctly uninstalled. If you decide to remove Asus AI Suite II after installing it on your system, the “Asus” folder will still remain in your “Program Files” (or program Files (x86)” for 64-bit systems) and will contain a bunch of sub-folders with undeleted files and launched services. I am scared to even imagine how much garbage it leaves in the registry…

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