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trans am View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trans am Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Sep 2015 at 8:18am
I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 

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So just for the heck of it, I am attempting to make 2 SM951 (non nvme) drives work as a bootable RAID0. No success yet, however I have noticed that when the array is set up in the BIOS that it is reported as "Bootable - Yes" in the status screen. The problem starts with attempting to get Windows to install. The RAID0 drive does not appear and attempting to load the Intel IRST driver causes the system to lock up and results in a powder blue screen of OOPS. Kinda frustrating. I would like to see it work.

If anyone has any ideas on what to try next I am open to suggestions!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 1:10am
Originally posted by crazyb24 crazyb24 wrote:

So just for the heck of it, I am attempting to make 2 SM951 (non nvme) drives work as a bootable RAID0. No success yet, however I have noticed that when the array is set up in the BIOS that it is reported as "Bootable - Yes" in the status screen. The problem starts with attempting to get Windows to install. The RAID0 drive does not appear and attempting to load the Intel IRST driver causes the system to lock up and results in a powder blue screen of OOPS. Kinda frustrating. I would like to see it work.

If anyone has any ideas on what to try next I am open to suggestions!


You must be using an ASRock Z170 board, but which one? Should be the Z170 Extreme7+.

During the Windows installation (which version, 7, 8, 10?) you are loading the IRST driver, but which version?

ASRock does not seem to include the "F6 Floppy" 14.5 driver on the Win 10 download page, but it is listed in the Win 8.1 download page. (I wish Intel would stop using the "F6" and "Floppy" terms for that driver, that is a carry over from the XP days!)

You must use the F6 driver for loading during the Windows installation.

Intel now has IRST version 14.6 available, with the F6 and Windows driver package available. They have removed 14.5, so I highly recommend you use 14.6, available here:

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25165/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-RAID-Driver

You mentioned you used the IRST utility in the UEFI/BIOS to create the RAID 0 array. Do you have CSM disabled? That was required with Z97 and earlier chipset boards to include the utility in the UEFI. That may have changed in the Z170 boards UEFI (I must get one of these!!)

If CSM is enabled, you must set Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only to allow booting from a PCIe M.2 drive, or RAID array.

Sorry, but I have no idea if you know about all this and have already done these things. We are still not 100% certain a RAID 0 array of PCIe M.2 SSD (AHCI or NVMe) can be bootable. I hope it works, we are at the mercy of the Intel IRST driver! Confused



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 1:36am
Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trans am Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 9:14am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.

THanks Parsec!  That is excatly what I needed from you!  I know its not pcie ssd.  you knew what I meant.   now heres a question.  if i have all 3 m.2 slots populated it says it shares the same bus the other sata ports.  I only need 2 sata ports for my backup 7200. drives.  I have a 3 tb hitachi and a samsung 2tb. 7200 black.  Will i be able to use these still and which sata ports do I need to plug them into?  by the way, thanks again for the quick reply and I am proud to have an asrock motherboard.  I have a z77 mitx asrock board i made for my coworker and she loves it and has never had any issues.  THis is my first actual asrock board for myself and ive heard nothing but great things in the past 5 years. 



Edited by trans am - 02 Sep 2015 at 9:20am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote crazyb24 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 12:41pm
Thanks parsec, I do have the Extreme 7+ and unfortunately I have tried the 14.6 driver from Intel with no luck (F6 package). I did have Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only as you suggested but I do not think I turned off CSM completely. With the Extreme 7+, the option to set up the RAID array is not available until UEFI Only is selected.

I am stumped but am wondering if the current IRST driver is not compatible. The good news is that the BIOS reports that the array is bootable and I am hoping it is just a driver issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IanJM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 12:13am
Noticed that ASROCK has a new BIOS available today for the Extreme 7+

On my Z97 Extreme6 Windows 10 SM951 NVMe will work on both Legacy and UEFI BIOS as a boot drive
I have IRST 14.5 installed and it does not see the SM951 - it is using a Windows driver

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 1:35am
Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.

THanks Parsec!  That is excatly what I needed from you!  I know its not pcie ssd.  you knew what I meant.   now heres a question.  if i have all 3 m.2 slots populated it says it shares the same bus the other sata ports.  I only need 2 sata ports for my backup 7200. drives.  I have a 3 tb hitachi and a samsung 2tb. 7200 black.  Will i be able to use these still and which sata ports do I need to plug them into?  by the way, thanks again for the quick reply and I am proud to have an asrock motherboard.  I have a z77 mitx asrock board i made for my coworker and she loves it and has never had any issues.  THis is my first actual asrock board for myself and ive heard nothing but great things in the past 5 years. 



According to the specs for your board, as I think you know, the M2 slots share lanes with the Intel SATA3 ports. So if all the M2 slots are in use, as you are doing, none of the Intel SATA3 ports will be available. Another thought about that shortly...

Your board also has two ASMedia 1061 SATA chips, providing four SATA ports total. You can use those for your backup HDDs. You can install the ASMedia SATA driver for those chipsets, or use the native Windows AHCI driver which should be installed automatically when you install Windows.

Back to the M.2 slots, and some explanation. There are two types of M.2 SSDs, PCIe and SATA. Your SM951 SSDs are the PCIe type. I use a SM951 on my ASRock Z97 Extreme6 board. The Ultra M.2 slot on my Z97 board, when used with a PCIe SSD like the SM951, does not share lanes with the Intel SATA III ports.

That fact, and the specs of the Z170 OC Formula board, leaves me not 100% sure if the Intel SATA ports will not be useable when PCIe SSDs are used in the M.2 slots.

If you had SATA M.2 SSDs in all the M.2 slots, then I would agree that the Intel SATA ports would not be available, due to being shared. It surprises me that (if) PCIe SSDs in the M.2 slots will also use the lanes used by the Intel SATA ports. That could simply be a difference in the design of the Z170 chipset vs the Z97 chipset. The specs for your board say that is the case, but I don't have personal experience with this (I must get one of these boards!!!)

You can easily test this yourself. The Storage Configuration screen in the UEFI might also show what happens when three SM951s are used in the board.

Actually now that I checked the PCIe lane allocation for video cards on your board, I think the specs are correct for both PCIe and SATA M.2 SSDs. The Z97 boards use PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU for the Ultra M.2 slot, the Z170 boards do not share PCIe 3.0 lanes provided by the CPU with the M.2 slots.

So you'll need to use the ASMedia SATA ports for your HDDs, but that's why they are added to your board. Using three SM951s is rather extreme, but the tradeoff is worth it. Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 1:42am
Originally posted by IanJM IanJM wrote:

Noticed that ASROCK has a new BIOS available today for the Extreme 7+

On my Z97 Extreme6 Windows 10 SM951 NVMe will work on both Legacy and UEFI BIOS as a boot drive
I have IRST 14.5 installed and it does not see the SM951 - it is using a Windows driver



That is normal for a Z97 board. My AHCI SM951 is the same way on my Z97 board. Both SM951s have their own equivalent of a SATA or NVMe controller in the SSD itself, and the standard Windows drivers will be installed on these SSDs. Since they use a different controller, and are not SATA drives, they don't use the Intel SATA controller and won't be recognized by the IRST driver.

The Z170 chipset adds features that allow it to be used with IRST and RAID.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 3:05pm
Originally posted by crazyb24 crazyb24 wrote:

Thanks parsec, I do have the Extreme 7+ and unfortunately I have tried the 14.6 driver from Intel with no luck (F6 package). I did have Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only as you suggested but I do not think I turned off CSM completely. With the Extreme 7+, the option to set up the RAID array is not available until UEFI Only is selected.

I am stumped but am wondering if the current IRST driver is not compatible. The good news is that the BIOS reports that the array is bootable and I am hoping it is just a driver issue.


How are you formatting the RAID 0 array? Do you let Windows do it by clicking New on the same screen where you select Load Driver? These are all in the Custom Installation option screen.

I've found, at least with SATA SSDs, non-RAID or RAID 0, and my AHCI SM951, allowing Windows to format the OS volume works.

I use an "EFI Booting" configuration for Windows, where you set CSM to Disabled. You are not required to do this when using PCIe SSDs, but I prefer to install Windows in this way. Using the Launch Storage OpROM Policy set to UEFI Only (CSM Enabled) gives you a similar but not quite identical result.

After loading the F6 driver (do NOT remove the USB drive that has the F6 driver on it until the Windows installation is completely done, meaning booting into Win 10 for the first time) and deleting any existing partitions on the OS volume, click on New to format the volume. You should get one message about formatting the volume, just click Ok. When the format completes you should see something similar to this displayed:



Ignore the Unallocated space, in this example the entire capacity of the volume was not used for the OS installation.

You should see something like this, and the volume will be GPT formatted by the Windows installer, which is essential for it to work. Windows is installed on the Primary Partition.

If you set CSM to Disabled before you start the Windows installation, the OS volume formatting should work automatically by clicking New. But in order to run the PC with CSM disabled, your video source must be (what is called) "GOP" compatible. The Intel iGPU is GOP compatible, but only newer video cards are GOP compatible, and some need a VBIOS update first. What video card/source do you use?

The IRST 14.6 driver is the best we have for working with RAID 0 arrays of PCIe SSDs. ASRock used an earlier version to create a RAID 0 volume of three Intel 750 SSDs. ASRock has a YouTube video about the Z170 boards, and how they created the RAID 0 volume from the '750s. Scroll down to the bottom of this page:

http://www.asrock.com/news/index.us.asp?id=2890

I think you are not getting the formatting right and/or removing the USB flash drive with the F6 driver to soon. What are you using as the Win 10 installation media?


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