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SM951 on Z97M Fatal1ty Motherboard

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schickenipple View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 11:45am
I have a samsung SM951 PCIe M.2 SSD and would absolutely love to use it to boot with my Fatal1ty Z97M Killer board. It's on the supported list. so it should work, right?

I was able to install Windows 8.1 on the drive but now cannot boot to it. The motherboard recognizes it but will not boot. Powering the system only boots to the UEFI. I have tried every combination of boot settings I possibly can and it simply won't try. 

The closest I got was in the storage options, with RAID type selected and CSM enabled to UEFI for storage, the Windows 8 loading animation (a bunch of balls spinning in a circle) would pop up with the ASROCK logo and then tell me an error had occurred with Windows. It would try twice and then give me the option to try again, boot to UEFI or power down the PC. 

I have messed with this for hours and really could use some advice. It seems as though other users were able to make this work with a UEFI update, but 1.40 seems to be the newest one available on ASRock's website and that is the version I'm running. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 12:09pm
At present not all boards have a bios ready to support SM951 drives as boot devices. I believe it is in the pipeline but such updates need to be tested. So far I know there has been a beta release for the Z77 extreme4.

If the matter is urgent you can try sending a PM to Asrock_TSD. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote schickenipple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 11:58pm
This is really unfortunate, as the SM951 is on the supported list for the z97m Fatal1ty board. Typically that means that the UEFI has available software that, you know, supports the hardware. 

I'm half tempted to return the board for something that works, but the Extreme6 won't fit in my Micro ATX case.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:19am
The SM951 does actually work on your board, as you have seen, it requires an update to be bootable however. I brought up the subject with tech support and am waiting for them to get back to me. By the fact that the SM951 is available directly from Asrock's website now tells me this will likely not be a problem for much longer however Smile

Hang in there I suspect you won't be waiting for an update for too long.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote schickenipple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 2:09am
Tech support just got back to me and they were basically useless. They told me how to install Windows 7 onto the drive. I think this update may take longer than you think as they don't even understand the problem. 

I was able to install Windows 8.1 by reformatting to GPT using DISKPART in the Windows installer. The problem is that the partition isn't bootable. By selecting RAID instead of AHCI, forcing M.2 Support and changing OpROM to UEFI for storage a Windows image shows up in BOOT options but doesn't actually show the SM951. With this selected, the windows splash screen appears but ultimately fails. Why this almost-works I don't know, as the SM951 is an AHCI drive and I don't have any other drives in a RAID configuration. 

Below was ASRock's response... You can see it doesn't really address the issue. 

To create UEFI USB flash drive Windows 7 installation,

1.      Copy all Windows 7 installation files to the USB flash drive (DVD drve may not be worked).

2.      Check if the file 'BOOTX64.EFI' via the path \EFI\BOOT\ is available on the USB flash drive ( If this is not the case, please use attached ?bootx64.efi??file instead).

3.      Copy all the files from ?X:\efi\microsoft\boot??to  ?X:\efi\boot??(if ?boot??folder not exist, please create it)
Note : X: is your USB flash drive.

4.      Copy the file (BOOTX64.EFI) to USB flash drive ?X:\efi\boot??

 

To install UEFI Windows 7 (or GPT format installation),

1.      Plug pre-created UEFI USB flash drive Windows installation drive to USB 2.0 port (grey).

2.      Press <F2> or <Delete> at system POST. Set AHCI Mode in UEFI Setup Utility >  Advanced > Storage Configuration > SATA Mode [AHCI]. Save and exit.

3.      Press F11 repeatedly when system is started to bring boot menu (see below image for sample). 

1.      Choose the drive ?UEFI: your USB flash drive??to boot.

2.      Follow the Windows installation procedures.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 9:51am
Originally posted by schickenipple schickenipple wrote:

Tech support just got back to me and they were basically useless. They told me how to install Windows 7 onto the drive. I think this update may take longer than you think as they don't even understand the problem. 

I was able to install Windows 8.1 by reformatting to GPT using DISKPART in the Windows installer. The problem is that the partition isn't bootable. By selecting RAID instead of AHCI, forcing M.2 Support and changing OpROM to UEFI for storage a Windows image shows up in BOOT options but doesn't actually show the SM951. With this selected, the windows splash screen appears but ultimately fails. Why this almost-works I don't know, as the SM951 is an AHCI drive and I don't have any other drives in a RAID configuration. 

Below was ASRock's response... You can see it doesn't really address the issue. 

To create UEFI USB flash drive Windows 7 installation,

1.      Copy all Windows 7 installation files to the USB flash drive (DVD drve may not be worked).

2.      Check if the file 'BOOTX64.EFI' via the path \EFI\BOOT\ is available on the USB flash drive ( If this is not the case, please use attached ?�bootx64.efi??file instead).

3.      Copy all the files from ?�X:\efi\microsoft\boot??to  ?�X:\efi\boot??(if ?�boot??folder not exist, please create it)
Note : X: is your USB flash drive.

4.      Copy the file (BOOTX64.EFI) to USB flash drive ?�X:\efi\boot??

 

To install UEFI Windows 7 (or GPT format installation),

1.      Plug pre-created UEFI USB flash drive Windows installation drive to USB 2.0 port (grey).

2.      Press <F2> or <Delete> at system POST. Set AHCI Mode in UEFI Setup Utility >  Advanced > Storage Configuration > SATA Mode [AHCI]. Save and exit.

3.      Press F11 repeatedly when system is started to bring boot menu (see below image for sample). 

1.      Choose the drive ?�UEFI: your USB flash drive??to boot.

2.      Follow the Windows installation procedures.



The response from ASRock support actually describes the correct procedure for creating a UEFI bootable Windows 7 installation media from a Windows 7 .iso image. If you told them you are using Windows 8 and not Windows 7, I don't know why they gave you that information. The likely reason is they did not understand your questions.

The reason you can't boot from your SM951 is because your board does not have the UEFI/BIOS update that allows booting from a SM951. That UEFI update is needed by any ASRock board in order to boot from a SM951.

Your Z97M Fatal1ty board does not have that UEFI update yet, mainly because your board's M.2 slot does not fully support the SM951.

The SM951 is a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface device. Your board's M.2 interface is a PCIe 2.0 x2 interface.

From your board's Specification page:
 
1 x M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen2 x2 (10 Gb/s)

Adding UEFI/BIOS support for a SSD that is not fully supported by the board electrically is of questionable value to owners of the board. Several other boards including the Z97 Extreme6 have UEFI updates to allow booting from the SM951, which I use as my Windows 8.1 drive. Those boards have the Ultra M.2 interface, matching the needs of the SM951.

If you are getting an entry in the boot order that is "Windows Boot Manager", that is what you will see when using a SM951 or other drive that is using the Windows EFI bootloader, and is what you select when you boot from it.

If that entry still does not work for you, that is due to the lack of the appropriate UEFI update.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote schickenipple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 9:59am
I understand that it's not a x4 PCIe slot... That's not why I bought the board. I purchased it because it is 'compatible' with the SM951 according to ASRock's own website. If I had room for an Extreme6, I would have bought that instead. 

If the boards m.2 slot doesn't support it, why is it on their supported list?

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97M%20Killer/?cat=Storage

10 Gb/s is better than 6 Gb/s any day. 


Edited by schickenipple - 25 Jun 2015 at 11:08pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:32pm
I have a silly question, when you managed to get the windows boot logo using RAID mode, did you have the raid drivers installed on the OS? If I switch a PC that had windows installed in legacy mode to AHCI I get the same symptom, windows begins to boot (boot logo) then system restart before desktop. 

Maybe try repeat the steps you used to get it to show the boot logo except perform a fresh installation /repair once it is doing so. It may work as a workaround.


Edited by Xaltar - 25 Jun 2015 at 12:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote schickenipple Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 11:08pm
That's a good question. I'm pretty sure the RAID drivers are part of the Windows 8.1 package but I don't think it matters. The UEFI still needs to be able to add the drive itself as a boot option.
 
Interesting tidbit: I removed the PCIe X16 graphics card from the board and tried to boot with UEFI defaults. Using the onboard graphics, the UEFI wouldn't boot. I just got a black screen with a mouse cursor in the middle. I tried to boot from a Windows 8 USB stick and it was fine. Remove the stick, same black screen... As if the PCIe graphics card was still installed.
 
I then removed the Samsun SM951 and tried to boot: It went right into the UEFI setup screen. I take this as further evidence that the board has no idea what to do with this drive. If it's treating the SSD as a graphics card, there is definitely a driver deficiency.
 
I have to ask again, because no one has been able to answer, why the heck is this drive on the compatibility list?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 12:10am
Originally posted by schickenipple schickenipple wrote:

I understand that it's not a x4 PCIe slot... That's not why I bought the board. I purchased it because it is 'compatible' with the SM951 according to ASRock's own website. If I had room for an Extreme6, I would have bought that instead. 

If the boards m.2 slot doesn't support it, why is it on their supported list?

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97M%20Killer/?cat=Storage

10 Gb/s is better than 6 Gb/s any day. 


Given the date of the last UEFI/BIOS update, 12/29/2014, your board does not have a UEFI that allows the SM951 to be bootable.

The FIRST ASRock board that has a UEFI update to allow booting from the SM951 is the Z97 Extreme6.

Initially that was via a Beta UEFI version, 2.04, dated 4/17/2015, and then with the official UEFI version 2.10, dated 4/30/2015.

ANY UEFI version dated prior to 4/30/2015 for ANY ASRock board will not allow booting from a SM951.

Compatible, what does that mean? That the SSD will be recognized by the board/UEFI? That it can be used as a bootable, OS drive? That is a reasonable assumption. Can two or more SM951s be used in a RAID array? No chance of that now. So what defines compatibility? Just an example of what compatibility can mean to different people, and that compatibility can have limitations.

Hopefully your board will receive a UEFI update to allow booting from the SM951 in the near future. Since ASRock is now selling the 128GB version of the SM951, there should be quite a few UEFI updates coming in the near future.

BTW, when you used RAID mode and got closer to booting from your SM951, that was caused by the Intel EFI compatible SATA Option ROM being active. Unfortunately, that is not enough to allow booting.


Edited by parsec - 26 Jun 2015 at 12:13am
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