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M2 SSD Compatability

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Crazynex View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 May 2016 at 11:44pm
Hi, I have just purchased a Fatal1ty 990FX Killer series AMD3+ Motherboard.

It takes an M.2 sata3 6.0Gb/s and M.2 PCI Express module up to gen 2 x 2 10 Gb/s.

However I am having difficulty finding a PCIE.

Will the 128 GB Samsung SM951, M.2 PCIe 3.0 (x4) NVMe SSD, MLC NAND work in it.

Here is the link https://www.overclockers.co.uk/samsung-sm951-128gb-m.2-pci-e-gen3-8gbps-x-4-ahci-solid-state-drive-mzhpv128hdgm-00000-hd-206-sa.html

Thank you in advance
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2016 at 12:00am
Using a Samsung NVMe SM951 SSD with your board will require you to install the 1.60 UEFI/BIOS version:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/Fatal1ty%20990FX%20Killer/?cat=Download&os=BIOS

Your board's M.2 port is a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface. The NVMe SM951 requires a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface to operate at its full speed. The performance in your board will be less than one half of its potential.

Do you want to use it as your OS drive?
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Crazynex View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crazynex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2016 at 12:26am
Yes that was the idea. 
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Crazynex View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Crazynex Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2016 at 12:28am
If I update the bios will it then work to its full potential. Im asking as the speeds between pcie and sata are so massively different. so if it isnt going to make a difference I will just got with the sata m2



Edited by Crazynex - 07 May 2016 at 12:31am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2016 at 1:17pm
Originally posted by Crazynex Crazynex wrote:

If I update the bios will it then work to its full potential. Im asking as the speeds between pcie and sata are so massively different. so if it isnt going to make a difference I will just got with the sata m2



No, the BIOS update to version 1.60 is just for compatibility with the new and different NVMe protocol.

No BIOS update can make changes to hardware such as the type of interface (PCIe 2.0 or PCIe 3.0) and the number of physical data lanes used by a hardware interface (such as two (x2) or four (x4) PCIe lanes) like M.2.

Your board and AM3+ processors do not provide any PCIe 3.0 interface. The M.2 slot is physically wired as x2, two PCIe 2.0 data lanes.

The SM951 requires a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface for full performance. Your board's M.2 slot is only x2, so that will reduce the data rate by 1/2 alone. Then the lower data transfer rate of PCIe 2.0 instead of PCIe 3.0 will reduce performance even further, sorry to say.

Then there is the reality of real world performance, what we as a user experience or feel while using the PC with a SATA SSD or an NVMe PCIE SSD.

While you may consider the difference in speeds between PCIe and SATA SSDs as "massively different", the actual difference in real world use between the two types of SSDs is very small to none at all most of the time. I say this after having used both types on multiple PCs, SATA SSDs for years, PCIe SSDs for at least six months. This is with boards that provide a full PCIe 3.0 x4 interface to the PCIe SSDs.

So my suggestion to you is if you don't plan on getting a new mother board and CPU for a year or more, just get an M.2 SATA SSD. If you do plan to update your board and CPU within a year, get the Samsung SM951 now, and use it on the new board later.

If you've never used an SSD before, just get a SATA SSD, the difference between that and any HDD is massively different. The difference between a SATA SSD and PCIe SSD is not massively different.
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Xaltar View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2016 at 2:16pm
2 PCIe 2.0 lanes is roughly a quarter of the bandwidth of 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Basically PCIe 3.0 x1 = PCIe 2.0 x2. Now the question is, does the M.2 SSD saturate the full PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth, if so then it's peek performance will be bottlenecked by 75% on a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface.

As Parsec suggested, save yourself a little money and pick up a regular SATA SSD, you will likely not notice a difference in your system between SATA and M.2.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Phillium Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2016 at 5:03am
I'm having a similar issue with my SM951 (UEFI version 1.6) where I cant get the motherboard to set it up as NVME, it only registers AHCI and i cant even find where in the UEFI I might change that, as the system overview has little information and zero functionlity, and theres no M.2 labled functions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 2016 at 9:09am
Originally posted by Phillium Phillium wrote:

I'm having a similar issue with my SM951 (UEFI version 1.6) where I cant get the motherboard to set it up as NVME, it only registers AHCI and i cant even find where in the UEFI I might change that, as the system overview has little information and zero functionlity, and theres no M.2 labled functions.


I'm assuming the same mother board as the OP, the Fatal1ty 990FX Killer?

FYI, the first and much more common version (of an overall rare SSD) of the SM951 SSD is an AHCI type of PCIe SSD. I own two of them.

You own an AHCI SM951 too, given what you have described.

The model number of the AHCI version of the SM951 is MZHPV256HDGL, for the 256GB version.

The model number of the NVMe version of the SM951 is MZVPV256HDGL.

The model number is on the sticker of your drive, or can be read by various software. It should show up in Device Manager like this:



You can also see how an NVMe SSD is listed in Device Manager, and the entries for their controllers, both AHCI and NVMe. The correct driver for each type of SSD is loaded automatically.

The NVMe version of the SM951 was available for a short while before the first Samsung M.2 NVMe SSD meant to be sold at the retail level was released, the Samsung 950 Pro.

While the SM951 SSDs in AHCI and NVMe models use identical SSD controllers, the firmware each one has is different, and is what makes the SSDs either AHCI or NVMe.

There is nothing in any mother board's UEFI that can change an SM951 from AHCI to NVMe. That is solely based on the drive's firmware.

How can you change the firmware? You can't. Samsung would need to provide that, and they don't. The SM951 is not supported by the Samsung Magician software, which is where firmware updates can be done with supported Samsung SSDs.

We are very lucky that ANY AMD chipset board, particularly the old 990/SB950 pair used in your board, can support any PCIe M.2 SSD, AHCI or NVMe.

The latest Intel boards that support PCIe M.2 NMVe SSDs do not have any additional functionality either. That Intel chipset is far beyond the AMD 990/SB950, and actually provides the full bandwidth required by an SM951 or 950 Pro (PCIe 3.0 x4).

We are lucky that we can use SSDs on the same physical interface (M.2), while they use different protocols. If you expect them to be the same as SATA drives in the UEFI, then you will be disappointed.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Phillium Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2016 at 9:21am
Thanks for the reply, you were right on all accounts. A bit disappointing as I had rather hoped it was NVMe, but its still plenty fast for my purposes. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 May 2016 at 11:22am
I agree, and you're not the only one that was confused or possibly provided misinformation about the SM951.

It was never meant to be sold at retail. You can't find it listed among Samsung's SSD product information, whether AHCI or NVMe. It's not really supported by the Samsung Magician software.

But, the AHCI SM951 can be used in boards that don't have NVMe support. It also is a very fast SSD, still among the fastest SSDs available.

NVMe support is very new to AMD boards, and is new on Intel boards too. I would like to see for myself how good the NVMe support really is on AMD boards.

I have a Fatal1ty 970 Performance/3.1 board that has a UEFI update for NVMe support, so I'll give it a try. Not full support for PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs, but they should work.

This is what a 256GB AHCI SM951 does with a full PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. I would hardly call this bad compared to the NVMe SM951 or 950 Pro:



A 256GB 950 Pro on the same mother board:



This simple benchmark does not tell the entire story about either SSD's performance, but they aren't that much different in the basic performance aspects. Both of our AMD boards can't match the bandwidth on this (latest generation) Intel board, but it will be faster than any SATA SSD on our boards. I've had no problems with my AHCI SM951, I think its great.
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