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SM951 as OS boot device information

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Xaltar View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 12:05pm
I have noticed a number of people coming here to the forums inquiring about how to make Samsung SM951 M2 SSDs function as OS boot devices. Rather than repeating the information in every post I will post it here.

Before you read on, HERE is an interesting article that outlays the reasons some systems cannot use the SM951 as a boot device and provides some other interesting info on the SM951 and its performance.

At this moment, all many Asrock boards require a BIOS updated in order to support booting from the SM951, particularly older chipsets. The feature required is apparently NVMe support and is only available to the intel 9 series of Asrock products at this time. This situation is due to the new feature-set of the SM951 which needs to be implemented in BIOS.

If you have had success with other boards please post up your info here.

[update] 

In theory any BIOS update that adds NVMe support should allow booting from the SM951.

The following boards all list NVMe support with the latest BIOS or are new revisions of boards that do and inherited support from the previous revision:

X99 WS-E
X99 OC Formula and /3.1
X99 Professional and/3.1
Fatal1ty X99X Killer and /3.1
Fatal1ty X99M Killer
X99 WS-E/10G
X99 WS
X99 Extreme11
X99 Extreme6 and /3.1
X99 Extreme6/ac
X99 Extreme4
X99M Extreme4
X99 Extreme3


Uncertain about: X99E-ITX/ac as it is a new board but does not list NVMe support.

I will look through the Z97 list next and update once I have.

[Update]

Z97 Boards that support NVMe (all of them):

Z97 OC Formula
Z97M OC Formula
Z97 Extreme9
Z97 Extreme6/ac
Z97 Extreme6 and /3.1
Z97 Extreme4 and /3.1
Z97 Extreme3
Z97 Pro4
Z97M Pro4
Z97 Anniversary
Z97 Pro3
Z97M-ITX/ac
Z97E-ITX/ac
Fatal1ty Z97 Professional
Fatal1ty Z97X Killer and /3.1
Fatal1ty Z97 Killer and /3.1
Fatal1ty Z97M Killer


H97 boards with NVMe support (again, all):

Fatal1ty H97 Killer
Fatal1ty H97 Performance
H97 Pro4
H97M Pro4
H97 Anniversary
H97M Anniversary
H97M
H97M-ITX/ac

_________________________________________________________________

Other boards with unofficial support via beta BIOS: 

Z77 Extreme4 SM951: P2.90M (Provided by Asrock and shared with permission by dbranger94)
Z87m OC Formula: 1.83a (Provided by Asrock, tested by Gunslinger)

Download by clicking the BIOS number above.

Officially supported and tested with latest bios update:

Z97 Extreme6 (tested and confirmed by Parsec)


To the best of my knowledge, if you board is not on these lists you will need to contact Asrock Tech Support via email and ask for assistance. I want to thank Asrock_TSD (Tech Support Department) for taking the time to post in the thread and offering to help those who's boards are not on the list. As per their post, these will be the only boards that officially support the SM951 as a boot device via BIOS update. As you can see earlier in the post Asrock have already provided a beta BIOS for a forum user with a Z77 board. So, if you need a BIOS update, hit up Asrock tech support for assistance.

[Update] 

The new "H91" boards listed on Asrock's product page are H91 only in name and in fact use the H81 chipset so likely will not receive native NVMe support.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[update] 

It has come to my attention (thank you Parsec) that the SM951 is not in fact an NVMe supporting drive, while it was originally claimed by Samsung that it would support the feature the final release product is in fact AHCI not NVMe. 

Boot support for the Z97 Extreme6 is confirmed as being applied in beta bios 2.04 and then in release version 2.10. Interestingly the 2.10 bios revision only notes the addition of NVMe support and not improved M.2 support as stated on the 2.04 beta bios. This did not help my confusion Angry LOL

So as it stands I can only confirm support on the Z97 Extreme6 with bios version 2.10 and Z77 Extreme4 with the bios download linked here in this thread.

I do however suspect that all boards updated with NVMe support likely also received the same improved M.2 support the Z97 Extreme6 received and as such should support booting from the SM951.




Edited by Xaltar - 14 Jul 2015 at 3:36am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tobysmiles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:36pm
Thanks,

I am currently contemplating what hard drive to purchase for my X99 Extreme 3 2011 board.  Just can't seem to look past the sm951 512 GB.  I was hoping that the x99 chipset would offer a streamlined install of the new ultra M.2 drive but I guess it requires the BIOS update.  Any idea on when that will be released? 

Also, this may be a silly question so forgive me for reading way too many forum posts...Should one worry about heat with such a powerful SSD.  I heard one person warning people of their use with workstation builds that will be subjected to large computational loads...3D CAD assemblies in my case.  If it matters I will be using a Corsair Air 540 for this build and it is known to move plenty of air.

Any additional advice for this build is greatly appreciated.  Stability is important to me so I plan to use a 3.5 GHz quad core Xeon processor with 16 GB of DDR4 ECC ram.  For graphics, I like the AMD Firepro W5100 with 4GB of DDR5.  Supposedly it will push 4k at 60 Hz over display port which is important because I plan to use the new BenQ 32" 4k monitor.  Speaking of graphics, will the additional lanes needed by the Ultra M.2 SSD affect the graphics performance at all or does the X99 Extreme 3 have plenty?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:39pm
Keep an eye on the bios section of the board's product page. Updates could be releases at any time. 

To answer your other questions:

1. It is always advisable to have good airflow in your case so I would go for a solid case with good airflow regardless of whether the SM951 runs hot or not (which it does).
According to some reviews I have read on the SM951 (I do not have one on hand to test myself) the SSD reaches thermal throttling temps pretty quickly under heavy loads. Apparently this problem is easily addressed by having a decent case fan blowing directly onto the SSD. Personally I would pick up some self adhering heat sinks and affix them to the SSD just to be on the safe side but I don't know how that would affect the warranty. I suppose a compromise would be to use a heatsink with thermal pads and find some way to fix it to the SSD that can easily be removed should you need to RMA it or send it for warranty replacement. Bare in mind however that the kind of workloads the drives in question were subjected to were extreme for benchmarking purposes and the simple addition of a 120mm silent fan over the drive was sufficient to drop temps from mid ~80c to high ~50c. That should prove more than adequate under more normal workloads.

2. You will have more than enough PCIE lanes from a Xeon CPU to run the SM951 and almost any GPU config without depriving the GPU/s of lanes.


Edited by Xaltar - 25 Jun 2015 at 1:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tobysmiles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 1:09pm
Is this what you are talking about?  If so, the last three updates all have made improvements to M.2 compatibility.  Not sure if it's the improvements everyone seems to be looking for though
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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 1:14pm
I am not sure myself, but I am sure that all boards supporting the SM951 and similar drives will likely see an update fairly soon given that Asrock is supplying the 128gb version of the SM951 on their site now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tobysmiles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 1:26pm
I noticed that too.  Also noticed that the sm951 shows up on the list on compatible hard drives for the X99 Extreme 3.

Once the BIOS update is released and installed, can it be installed as a boot drive easily like any other SSD?  Also, will it be OK to be my only system drive for the time being?  It will be easier to swallow the $400 for the 512 GB if I don't have to buy a second drive as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tobysmiles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 2:10pm
This seems like a good solution to the heat problem.  Should increase airflow to the drive and it has a heat sink

http://www.amazon.mk/M2P4A-PCIe-2-0-NGFF-Adapter/dp/B00IPO7YCU




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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 2:44pm
That should do the trick nicely Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ASRock_TSD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 10:07pm
Greetings, this is ASRock Technical Supports Department.

Due to we don?t update every BIOS version to website, we recommend user who is using PCIE adapter to use SM951/XP941 to contact our support email box.
We will help for further process. 

http://event.asrock.com/tsd.asp 


Kindest regards,
ASRock TSD

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gunslinger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 6:39am
Probably clutching at straws, but i'd like to know if there will be any support for the SM951 AHCI version used in an adapter on the Z87m OC Formula board ?

I can't get it to boot to it :(

I have sent a tech support request, but don't have a reference number to include.

The adapter i'm using is the Addonics AD3M2SPX4 - (M2 PCIe + 2 M2 SATA on PCIe x4) which supports the full Gen3 x4 speed
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