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Looking for decent Z170 motherboard for coding

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Veyron View Drop Down
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    Posted: 23 Oct 2015 at 10:32pm
Hi,
Which series of your motherboard, or which exact motherboard, is a good option for a decent high-end programming motherboard?

My primary requirements are: 
  • Intel LAN adapter (though I might never use them)
  • Multiple (ideally 3, but 2 is also ok) M.2 sockets with NVMe support that can support 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes (e.g. suitable for the newly Samsung 950 Pro SSDs)
  • Hardwares support for turning the M.2 SSDs into RAID-0
  • No need for extra Thermal Sensors
  • At least one built-in DP or Mini DP port
  • And all the other good things that come with Z170 (USB 3.1, Type C, etc.)

Thanks in advance Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Xaltar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2015 at 12:03am
The Z170 Extreme 7+ or Z170 OC Formula are probably your best bet if more than one M.2 slot is essential. I would lean more toward the Extreme 7+ personally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2015 at 12:22am
Your need for multiple M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 ports narrows down the selection to two ASRock boards:

Z170 OC Formula: http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170%20OC%20Formula/

Z170 Extreme7+: http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170%20Extreme7+/

Both of these boards are capable of creating RAID 0 arrays with AHCI PCIe SSDs. Doing that with M.2 NVMe PCIe SSDs is something I have not personally done or seen accomplished yet. It has been done with the Intel 750 NVMe SSD, the PCIe slot version and its cousin using the ASRock U.2 adapter which connects the SSD to the M.2 ports.

RAID 0 support for any PCIe SSD is dependent on the Intel RAID software. Official RAID support with PCIe SSDs is very new, only available with the Z170 chipset and one official version of the Intel RAID software at this time. That software will evolve over time, and of course no one has a Samsung 950 yet. I imagine they will be supported for RAID 0, but this is literally a leading edge (bleeding edge IMO) thing.

Both boards have Intel network chips, the Z170 Extreme7+ has two Intel chips that can be combined into a Team.

Both boards have a DP port for the Intel integrated graphics.

I have the Z170 Extreme7+ board, and IMO it is the best mother board I have ever used.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Veyron Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2015 at 9:00am
Hi Parsec,

Thanks for your reply. I did some googling and looks like no Z170 motherboards at the moment can create RAID-0 arrays out of NVMe M.2 SSDs.

One question though: if I, for example, buy a couple of these new Samsung SSD 950 PRO NVMe M.2 SSDs, is it possible to configure them in AHCI mode and then set them up as RAID-0 at the hardware/motherboard level?

Or do I have to buy AHCI M.2 SSDs if I ever want to RAID them using the M.2 slots without occupying any of the PCIe slots?
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