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AB350M Pro4 and Dual M.2

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UncleGamer View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 8:18pm
Couple of quick questions.

1) Are the M.2 slots not cross compatible? It appears an NVME drive will not work in the lower slot and a SATA will not work in the upper slot. Do I need to buy specific drives for each?

2) Does using the dual M.2 drive solution create any kind of compatibility or slow down issues. I have noticed with two working M.2 drives in the slots that the HD activity light never goes out and system feels slightly sluggish.

3) If doing dual M.2 which is better to boot from, the NVME or the SATA slot?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 10:45pm
Originally posted by UncleGamer UncleGamer wrote:

Couple of quick questions.

1) Are the M.2 slots not cross compatible? It appears an NVME drive will not work in the lower slot and a SATA will not work in the upper slot. Do I need to buy specific drives for each?

2) Does using the dual M.2 drive solution create any kind of compatibility or slow down issues. I have noticed with two working M.2 drives in the slots that the HD activity light never goes out and system feels slightly sluggish.

3) If doing dual M.2 which is better to boot from, the NVME or the SATA slot?


An M.2 slot on any mother board may support both NVMe and SATA M.2 SSDs, or just support one or the other. It depends upon the design of the board itself, and how the limited resources available from the board's chipset and processor (number of SATA ports and PCIe lanes available ) are allocated to the various IO interfaces. The connection of multiple interface types (NVMe and SATA) to an M.2 slot, and the detection and switching of the interfaces adds to the cost of the board, and is part of the intent of the board's design goals. The board's specifications will describe the capabilities of its M.2 slots.

The NVMe and SATA interface specs of the AB350M Pro4 are, from the specifications:

4 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support RAID (RAID 0, RAID 1 and RAID 10), NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug*

1 x Ultra M.2 Socket (M2_1), supports M Key type 2242/2260/2280 M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen3 x4 (32 Gb/s) (with Ryzen Series CPU) or Gen3 x2 (16 Gb/s) (with A-Series APU)**

1 x M.2 Socket (M2_2), supports M Key type 2230/2242/2260/2280 M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module**

*M2_2 and SATA3_3 share lanes. If either one of them is in use, the other one will be disabled.

**This feature is only supported with Ryzen Series CPUs (Summit Ridge).

http://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/AB350M%20Pro4/index.asp#Specification

So the M2_1 slot only supports NVMe M.2 SSDs, and its bandwidth capability depends upon the type of AM4 processor being used.

The M2_2 slot only supports SATA M.2 SSDs. Of course we must use the appropriate type of M.2 SSD in each M.2 slot.

Using two M.2 SSDs is no different than using two or more standard SATA SSDs or HDDs regarding compatibility or taxing of resources that might cause reduced performance. I've heard of some SSDs having a firmware issue that causes the HDD LED to remain on constantly whether or not they are doing IO tasks. You could check the Windows Resource Monitor, Disk activity to see if you have some kind of constant IO activity caused by some process.

NVMe SSDs in general have better IO performance than SATA SSDs, but NVMe SSD models vary in performance like any other drive or component. Booting an OS from one M.2 slot or the other is not necessarily better, it's the performance of the SSD that will cause one to be "better" than the other. It also depends on what "better" is. Many users of NVMe SSDs as the OS drive are disappointed when the PC startup or "boot" time is not faster than a SATA SSD, but startup time depends upon many different things, particularly the platform/system being used.

We have no idea which M.2 SSDs you are using, or other system details besides the mother board, so impossible to comment specifically.

If you are using Windows 7, you won't be able to use an NVMe SSD as the OS drive because Windows 7 does not have a built in NVMe driver. That can be fixed but is not a simple process. Windows 8.1 and 10 have a built in NVMe driver, so don't have that issue.






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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UncleGamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 4:41am
I am running a Ryzen 1800X at stock with Kingston HyperX DDR4 2666 using 16GB (2x8) For the SSDS I am running a Crucial MX300 525GB M.2 Type 2280SS for the SATA drive and a Kingston Digital HyperX Predator 240 GB PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2 for the NVME and running the OS from this drive.

I am running the last ASRock BIOS for the board and latest firmware for each drive. When both drives are plugged in the HD activity light is solid. if I unplug one, either will do, the light functions normally. There is no sign of unusual HD activity in the software monitoring.

All of this is on Windows 10.

Edited by UncleGamer - 17 Oct 2017 at 4:42am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 5:48am
Originally posted by UncleGamer UncleGamer wrote:

I am running a Ryzen 1800X at stock with Kingston HyperX DDR4 2666 using 16GB (2x8) For the SSDS I am running a Crucial MX300 525GB M.2 Type 2280SS for the SATA drive and a Kingston Digital HyperX Predator 240 GB PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2 for the NVME and running the OS from this drive.

I am running the last ASRock BIOS for the board and latest firmware for each drive. When both drives are plugged in the HD activity light is solid. if I unplug one, either will do, the light functions normally. There is no sign of unusual HD activity in the software monitoring.

All of this is on Windows 10.


Are those the only two drives connected to the board, not including an empty optical drives?

The good news is the drives are not constantly active for no reason.

I have one NVMe SSD and four standard SATA SSDs connected to my X370 Killer SLI/ac board. It looks like my drive activity LED is on constantly, although that is not something I check or frankly care about. Whether or not that behavior is related to the board or something else, I don't know. I've never noticed the drive activity LED when I only had one drive connected to the board.

We could try changing the polarity of the connection of the drive activity LED to the board. I'm moving my Ryzen board to a different PC case soon, so I'll see if it makes a difference.

On another PC with an Intel Z270 chipset board, three NVMe SSDs, and two SATA SSDs, the drive activity LED just flickers occasionally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UncleGamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 6:11am
Yes these are the only two drives in the system. Was one of the reasons I chose this board was the fact I can run the two drives and still need no cabling for the drives.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote UncleGamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2017 at 1:33am
Okay so found a partial solution. The SATA M.2 slot is located in a bad spot for my build. The video card heat is hitting the SSD in the slot and causing it to have issues. I removed the SSD from that slot and the system stabilized a LOT.

With a blower card this might be less of an issue. My only assumption since the drive works perfect in other systems is the heat was creating an issue.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kluader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2019 at 12:53am
Hi.
I have an AB350M Pro4 with a M2 SSD 256 GB and I want to add one more M2 SSD 512 GB. Is that possible? Are there available slots on the motherboard or I have to buy a 2.5???
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kluader Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2019 at 11:49pm
Anyone?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdillipl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Feb 2019 at 4:09am
There is a second M2 socket, M2_2. It should be located behind PCIE3. Whether or not you can use it for another M@ SSD depends on the SSD. It appears that M2_2 is SATA only, plus it shares resources with connector SATA3_3. Check your user manual or quick installation guide.

Jake
Asrock X370 Killer SLI/ac, Amd Ryzen 7 1700, GSkill FlareX F4-2400C16D-32GFX, RaidMax Thunder V2 735W PS
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