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Z170 Extreme 7+/Samsung 950 PRO Freezing

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ArcaneFeenix View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 10:33pm
First, my setup:
Mobo: ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ (BIOS Version 7.10)
Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5 GHz
HDDs: 1x Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256GB; 1x Intel 320 Series 80GB; 2x 1TB WD Black
Memory: 4x 4GB G.Skill DDR4 3000

I recently purchased the 950 Pro to replace the Intel SSD as my boot drive. Install onto the board went smoothly, booted up into EFI setup and everything looked good (CSM enabled, AHCI mode). Installed Windows 10 (RS1) without any issue. Started to install drivers in audit mode and started getting random freezing (hard freeze, screen frozen, cursor doesn't move). I have tried turning CSM off, changing the SATA mode to RAID, reinstalling RS1 and even installing latest insider build (secure erasing the ssd between each install). The problem is very re-producible (at the moment, trying to install NIC drivers and it freezes before I can click Next for the first time). The interesting thing is the system seems stable if I do any other tasks on it but if I install drivers, it seems to freeze almost every time. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

Brandon
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parsec View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 11:33pm
Originally posted by ArcaneFeenix ArcaneFeenix wrote:

First, my setup:
Mobo: ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ (BIOS Version 7.10)
Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5 GHz
HDDs: 1x Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256GB; 1x Intel 320 Series 80GB; 2x 1TB WD Black
Memory: 4x 4GB G.Skill DDR4 3000

I recently purchased the 950 Pro to replace the Intel SSD as my boot drive. Install onto the board went smoothly, booted up into EFI setup and everything looked good (CSM enabled, AHCI mode). Installed Windows 10 (RS1) without any issue. Started to install drivers in audit mode and started getting random freezing (hard freeze, screen frozen, cursor doesn't move). I have tried turning CSM off, changing the SATA mode to RAID, reinstalling RS1 and even installing latest insider build (secure erasing the ssd between each install). The problem is very re-producible (at the moment, trying to install NIC drivers and it freezes before I can click Next for the first time). The interesting thing is the system seems stable if I do any other tasks on it but if I install drivers, it seems to freeze almost every time. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

Brandon


We have many 950 Pro users with the Z70 Extreme7+ board, including myself. We haven't experienced the freezing you have.

The SATA mode and SATA drivers are not applicable to a 950 Pro, which is an NVMe SSD. NVMe SSDs do not use the board's SATA controller. The NVMe controller is part of the SSD itself, and you'll find separate entries in Device Manager for the NVMe and SATA controllers.

While Windows 10 has an inbox NVMe driver, you should be using the Samsung NMVe driver. No idea if you have installed that or not. Some 950 Pro users report poor write performance when using the inbox Windows NVMe driver.

If you are using the ASMedia SATA ports for your SATA drives, particularly the SSD, move them to the Intel SATA ports. The M.2 slots share resources with the Intel SATA ports, so depending upon which M.2 slot you are using, two of the Intel SATA ports will not be available. The specifications describe which Intel SATA ports are affected by the three M.2 slots.

Not sure if you are using a video card, but if you are and the 950 Pro is in an M.2 slot that is under the video card, you may be experiencing throttling on the 950 Pro due to over heating. That might be the case, since when you are installing drivers, writing to the 950 Pro causes its temperature to rise quickly. This can happen even if you don't have a video card.

The 950 Pro is known to have heat throttling issues, depending upon where it is mounted, and the amount of ventilation the PC case has. You can monitor the temperature of the 950 Pro with HWiNFO64, or AIDA64. Once it reaches 70C, it will begin to throttle its write speed, and at 75C it will almost shut down. Your description of the PC freezing after the Intel network driver installer extracted all the files seems to indicate that might be the case.

If we decide the 950 Pro is not having problems, then you might have a memory compatibility issue, but that is not clear. What is the full model number of your G.SKILL memory?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArcaneFeenix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 2016 at 12:33am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by ArcaneFeenix ArcaneFeenix wrote:

First, my setup:
Mobo: ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ (BIOS Version 7.10)
Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K 3.5 GHz
HDDs: 1x Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256GB; 1x Intel 320 Series 80GB; 2x 1TB WD Black
Memory: 4x 4GB G.Skill DDR4 3000

I recently purchased the 950 Pro to replace the Intel SSD as my boot drive. Install onto the board went smoothly, booted up into EFI setup and everything looked good (CSM enabled, AHCI mode). Installed Windows 10 (RS1) without any issue. Started to install drivers in audit mode and started getting random freezing (hard freeze, screen frozen, cursor doesn't move). I have tried turning CSM off, changing the SATA mode to RAID, reinstalling RS1 and even installing latest insider build (secure erasing the ssd between each install). The problem is very re-producible (at the moment, trying to install NIC drivers and it freezes before I can click Next for the first time). The interesting thing is the system seems stable if I do any other tasks on it but if I install drivers, it seems to freeze almost every time. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

Brandon


We have many 950 Pro users with the Z70 Extreme7+ board, including myself. We haven't experienced the freezing you have.

The SATA mode and SATA drivers are not applicable to a 950 Pro, which is an NVMe SSD. NVMe SSDs do not use the board's SATA controller. The NVMe controller is part of the SSD itself, and you'll find separate entries in Device Manager for the NVMe and SATA controllers.

While Windows 10 has an inbox NVMe driver, you should be using the Samsung NMVe driver. No idea if you have installed that or not. Some 950 Pro users report poor write performance when using the inbox Windows NVMe driver.

If you are using the ASMedia SATA ports for your SATA drives, particularly the SSD, move them to the Intel SATA ports. The M.2 slots share resources with the Intel SATA ports, so depending upon which M.2 slot you are using, two of the Intel SATA ports will not be available. The specifications describe which Intel SATA ports are affected by the three M.2 slots.

Not sure if you are using a video card, but if you are and the 950 Pro is in an M.2 slot that is under the video card, you may be experiencing throttling on the 950 Pro due to over heating. That might be the case, since when you are installing drivers, writing to the 950 Pro causes its temperature to rise quickly. This can happen even if you don't have a video card.

The 950 Pro is known to have heat throttling issues, depending upon where it is mounted, and the amount of ventilation the PC case has. You can monitor the temperature of the 950 Pro with HWiNFO64, or AIDA64. Once it reaches 70C, it will begin to throttle its write speed, and at 75C it will almost shut down. Your description of the PC freezing after the Intel network driver installer extracted all the files seems to indicate that might be the case.

If we decide the 950 Pro is not having problems, then you might have a memory compatibility issue, but that is not clear. What is the full model number of your G.SKILL memory?



Parsec,

Thank you for the clarification on the SATA mode setting in regards to NVME. I have tried with and without the Samsung NVME driver. The system freezes completely which, to me, seems hardware more than software. One thing to note is that the reset button doesn't always work when this happens. More times than not, I have to press and hold the power button to shut it off.

I am not using the ASMedia SATA ports for anything I care about (I have a case with an eSATA port and a xdrive bay - both of those are plugged into the ASMedia ports). I have the 950 Pro installed in the M2_1 port which shares the first two Intel SATA ports. I do not have anything plugged into them. I have tried, for giggles, using a different M.2 port to see if maybe it was a faulty port to no avail.

I go have a graphics card (GeForce GTX 650 Ti) which is in the first x16 slot covering the 2nd M.2 port (which I have not tested).

One thing to note is that I can make the system freeze instantly by opening Samsung Magician. When it pops up stating that it is scanning for devices, it will sit for about 10 seconds then hard freeze. Every. Single. Time. And when I am trying to install the NIC drivers, I haven't even gotten to the point of install - it freezes at the initial "... is preparing the install wizard..."

Per your suggestion, I ran HWiNFO64 and monitored the sensors. At idle, the 950 Pro sits at 46C. When running Samsung Magician, the value does not change and Samsung Magician causes the system to freeze.

Please also note that the system was stable, without any issues, when I was running off the Intel SSD. These problems were only introduced when I started to use the 950 Pro.

My G.Skill memory model number is F4-3000C15-4GRR (x4).

Thanks for the help so far.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArcaneFeenix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 2016 at 2:34am
Fingers crossed, I think I may have fixed it. I failed to load the NVME driver during setup (didn't cross my mind). I tried it with this last install and I am able to open Samsung Magician and was successful in installing all of the drivers without any freezing. 

Brandon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Oct 2016 at 9:33am
Originally posted by ArcaneFeenix ArcaneFeenix wrote:

Fingers crossed, I think I may have fixed it. I failed to load the NVME driver during setup (didn't cross my mind). I tried it with this last install and I am able to open Samsung Magician and was successful in installing all of the drivers without any freezing. 

Brandon


The Windows 10 NVMe driver seems to be fine or worthless with the 950 Pro, depending upon the system being used. But I installed the Intel chipset files, and the Intel IME software before installing the Samsung NVMe driver, and did not experience any freezing whatsoever. That was on the same board as yours.

Of course, all the Windows 10 updates that are constantly being forced upon us, can cause who knows what problems. Your 950's temperature is not bad, but I would continue monitoring it.

Never heard of the Magician software freezing the PC before now, with the 950 Pro or any other SSD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArcaneFeenix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jan 2017 at 11:45pm
parsec,

I am back at it. I was having issues with compatibility in Win10 so I decided to go back to Win8.1. I tried the same trick as last time when I installed Win10 (loading the NVMe driver during setup) and that causes the hard freeze as I described before. I also tried not installing anything and immediately tried installing NIC drivers, instant freeze. Another thing I can do to reproduce is to open Device Manager and scan for hardware changes. Instant freeze as well. I am thinking I have a faulty 950. I posted a quick YouTube video of the problem. This is a fresh install (nothing loaded during setup) and am in audit mode. The blue screen at the end occasionally happens but it is still frozen right there. The percentage never climbs and the reset button is unresponsive. 

I have the latest BIOS (7.30 at the time of this reply) and am using a Windows 8.1 ISO from Microsoft. As far as BIOS settings, I have reset to defaults and turned CSM off and Secure Boot on. Nothing else was changed.



Any thoughts?

Brandon
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2017 at 1:14am
First, loading an NVMe driver during the Windows installation, when using Win 10 or 8.1, is NOT necessary. The built in MSoft NVMe driver is fine during the installation. I have two 950 Pros, and now two 960 EVOs, and have installed Win 10 multiple times on all those SSDs, as I move them between PCs, or in and out of RAID arrays. I have never had a freezing problem with my 950s, or the 960 EVOs during the Windows installation. I have never loaded an NVMe driver during a Windows installation. The only driver I load is an Intel RAID driver, but ONLY when I am using a RAID array, otherwise it is not needed. You do not need to load the Intel RAID driver, that will not fix your problem.

Question, what NVMe driver are you loading during the Windows 10 or 8.1 installation? Is it the Samsung NVMe driver we download from Samsung's website? If it is, that driver installation program is not meant to be used during a Windows installation, it is ONLY meant to be used after Window is installed.

Your video of the freezing, or really what I saw in your Device Manager screen, is bothering me. That is, all the bad entries under Other Devices. Unless you did not install ANY of the essential software and drivers yet, you should not have any of those bad entries in Device Manager.

The only trick I use when installing Win 10 is not connecting the PC to the Internet. I keep it that way until I install the main drivers and software. I do not trust Windows to do this correctly. I also do NOT use the Express settings that we are prompted to use when Win 10 is booting for the first time. I disable the software and driver updates via Windows update, although MSoft has changed those options in more recent Win 10 versions, to allow more updates through.

It looks like you need to do the following, which I do religiously and without fail immediately after a Windows installation. You must install two Intel software/driver packages before anything else. Doing this has never failed me.

First, you MUST install the INF driver ver:10.1.1.38 from your board's download page. This installer adds files that identifies the Intel hardware in your board. That is essential for all of the other Intel drivers and software you install later. You will be prompted to restart the PC after the installation is complete, do NOT skip that step.

Next you must install the Intel Management Engine driver ver:11.6.0.1126 software package. If you don't, you'll get the bad entries in Device Manager under Other Devices, which you have. The INF file installer also contributes to fixing those entries.

After that, I install the Samsung NVMe driver, but there is no special sequence of driver installation besides the two above.

Did you run the two installation packages I listed above? Again, which NVMe driver did you load during the Windows installation?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote clubfoot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2017 at 6:48am
I hope I haven't missed anything in your previous posts but,...is there a particular reason you're using audit mode? Are you creating "soft links" during the install process?
If you want to install Windows 10 why not do a clean install with the latest version using the creation tool?
And parsec's suggestion to first install the Intel inf driver FIRST then the IME driver is spot on and should be a sticky!
One more piece of advice. Disconnect ALL other drives if the m.2 is going to be your OS drive BEFORE you install Windows 10. Reconnect after.
I'm also curious as to what ports you have your SSD and HDDs connected to with the m.2 installed?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2017 at 11:07am
clubfoot, thanks for reminding me about the audit mode thing! I keep getting distracted, and forget to ask about it.

One aspect of using Audit mode is it separates the Windows installation from the specific hardware on a PC. Administrators that apply Windows installations to multiple, different PCs in a business use Audit mode to configure Windows itself in general, and then apply that image to multiple PCs. Normal driver installation is not done in Audit mode. Plus Audit mode is used to install drivers that are only installed during a Windows installation.

Running driver installation programs that are meant to be, and can only be used in a running Windows installation, when in Audit mode, will result in who knows what result. I think you have shown us what happens in the situation, sorry to say.

Otherwise, please help us out regarding why you are using Audit mode to install drivers? I am not aware of anyone that uses Audit mode when installing drivers. I certainly have never done that.

As you said, the driver installation programs are failing every time. Get out of Audit mode and try installing the drivers.

So you've used that method in the past, without problems?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ArcaneFeenix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jan 2017 at 1:59am
Thanks for your replies. I didn't get any emails about them so I apologize for the delay. I want to preface this reply with I have resolved the issue completely and it is a very strange cause. But first, I wanted to follow up with your questions.

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

 Question, what NVMe driver are you loading during the Windows 10 or 8.1 installation? Is it the Samsung NVMe driver we download from Samsung's website? If it is, that driver installation program is not meant to be used during a Windows installation, it is ONLY meant to be used after Window is installed.

I was trying to load the inf that was exacted from that installer. I gave up on installing that driver during installation as I read elsewhere that it doesn't need to be done.

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Your video of the freezing, or really what I saw in your Device Manager screen, is bothering me. That is, all the bad entries under Other Devices. Unless you did not install ANY of the essential software and drivers yet, you should not have any of those bad entries in Device Manager.

That was a fresh install with no drivers or software installed. Learning from Win10 and it's love for installing drivers via WU, I read that the best way to install drivers is via audit mode. Plus I am little anal when it comes to the fact that OOBE doesn't ask you what timezone you are in unless you came from audit mode. Your way also works - just habit.

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Did you run the two installation packages I listed above? Again, which NVMe driver did you load during the Windows installation?

I religiously always install the chipset and ME drivers first, then RST, audio, video and NIC last. It was the latest version from Samsung's site (I don't have the version handy at the moment.

Originally posted by clubfoot clubfoot wrote:

I hope I haven't missed anything in your previous posts but,...is there a particular reason you're using audit mode? Are you creating "soft links" during the install process?

As explained above, just for driver installation and timezone option during OOBE (minor).

Originally posted by clubfoot clubfoot wrote:

I'm also curious as to what ports you have your SSD and HDDs connected to with the m.2 installed?

It was installed in M.2_1 which took SATA_0 and SATA_1 away.

Now onto the resolution. I spent the entire day trying to troubleshoot the problem. With it freezing like that, I knew it had to be hardware. There is no way software could do this (at least with my past knowledge). Since the only driver installer that would cause the crash was the NIC driver, I started by disabling both NICs in the BIOS. Tried to cause the freeze and it didn't freeze up (yes!). So, my idea was that one or both NICs are faulty (unusual but ok - maybe it got a surge). So, I enabled one and tried again. Froze. Both are bad? Left one on for the remainder of my testing.

At this point, I somewhat ruled out the NICs. So, I started unplugging everything - HDDs, optical drives, my USB devices (which is just a webcam and CD printer) and booted with just the M.2. NO FREEZING. Yes!! So, started plugging stuff back in slowly. My friend informed me that he has seen optical drives cause these types of issues. so with everything plugged back in (except the optical drives), I still had no freezing. I plugged one of them in (I have two) and it froze. Ah ha!

Turns out, I caused the issue myself. Because the M.2 takes up two SATA ports, I had to shift everything down and ended up putting both my optical drives in the ASMedia SATA bus. Turns out that the ASMedia SATA bus does not support ATAPI. I have since moved the optical drives back to the Intel SATA ports, re-enabled both NICs and disabled the ASMedia SATA bus and there has been no freezing at all.

What a pain that was and I caused it all myself by trying to keep everything plugged in and making sure that my SSD and HDDs were on the "good" bus.

Thanks for the help and time.

Brandon
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