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How To Install Windows On A PCIe SSD

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Ron Hu View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ron Hu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2016 at 7:15am
Hi Parsec,
 
This statement in your main discussion is fiction and you can't prove it.  It is also 100% wrong!  The statement I am referring to is this: "The Windows NVMe driver is known to have write performance issues, which I noticed when installing Windows 10 on a 950 Pro. That installation was much slower (five+ minutes) than installing Windows 10 on an AHCI SM951 (three minutes at most.)
"
 
There are DESIGN differences with the ACHI miniport and NVMe miniport.  ACHI (in-box) doesn't honor FUA (Forced used access (means bypass cache and hit the physical media (flash in this case.))).  NVMe does. 

So the check box in device manager-> disks -> "some disk you select" and then 'properties', then the 2nd tab and then the bottom box (if shown).  Most often there are two boxes.  First one is WCE for the device.  Second is FUA support (unchecked yes, and miniport supported); checked 'FUA' can be ignored.

So I hope  you remove the paragraph now that you have been enlightened.

It just so happens the Samsung has higher write completion latencies (time) when directly writing to the flash.  I guess the firmware really takes advantage of the onboard DRAM cache (the M.2 card) for writes and GC (garbage collection/ wear leveling.)

Also the drive isn't' setup for over-provisioning and per Samsung this can improve performance.  I have not tested that claim.


Edited by Ron Hu - 21 Apr 2016 at 3:49pm
-Ron
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Forez View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Forez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2016 at 6:18am
I have the Asrock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ motherboard

Will I be able to run some kind of a PCI Express drive as a bootable one?



Currently I looking into switching my bootable drive from ADATA XPG SX900 to Samsung 850 120GB [
EVO or maybe PRO version], because I need every extra seconds. But if I would be able to clone my Windows X64 onto even faster PCI-E drive and be able to actually run that OS from it, that would be better or me [although more costly in terms of finance]. But if FM2A88X EXTREME6+ is unable to do so, then I will not wait for some new hypothetical faster SSD drive and just but one of those Samsungs
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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: 22 Apr 2016 at 2:25pm
Originally posted by Ron Hu Ron Hu wrote:

Hi Parsec,
 
This statement in your main discussion is fiction and you can't prove it.  It is also 100% wrong!  The statement I am referring to is this: "The Windows NVMe driver is known to have write performance issues, which I noticed when installing Windows 10 on a 950 Pro. That installation was much slower (five+ minutes) than installing Windows 10 on an AHCI SM951 (three minutes at most.)
"
 
There are DESIGN differences with the ACHI miniport and NVMe miniport.  ACHI (in-box) doesn't honor FUA (Forced used access (means bypass cache and hit the physical media (flash in this case.))).  NVMe does. 

So the check box in device manager-> disks -> "some disk you select" and then 'properties', then the 2nd tab and then the bottom box (if shown).  Most often there are two boxes.  First one is WCE for the device.  Second is FUA support (unchecked yes, and miniport supported); checked 'FUA' can be ignored.

So I hope  you remove the paragraph now that you have been enlightened.

It just so happens the Samsung has higher write completion latencies (time) when directly writing to the flash.  I guess the firmware really takes advantage of the onboard (the M.2 card) for writes and GC (garbage collection/ wear leveling.)


Hi Ron, Thanks for posting your information and thoughts on this topic. I'm always glad to learn something new, assuming it is correct. Wink

I'm not saying your statement is wrong. I've done some research into it and what I found tends to confirm what you said, and I understand it.

But there is a detail or two that needs more explanation, and I need to explain why I wrote what I did about the MSoft NVMe driver.

You may be aware of this, but I certainly did not create the idea that the native Windows NVMe driver has write speed performance issues.

I have read about that in multiple places on the Internet, and was reminded of this when it took longer for Windows 10 to install on an AHCI SM951 than on a 950 Pro. When I seemed to experience this myself, I decided to mention it as motivation for people to install the Samsung NVMe driver.

For example:

http://www.legitreviews.com/samsung-sm951-nvme-m-2-pcie-ssd-review_162219/9

This was apparently prior to a better understanding of how to configure write-cache buffer flushing for NVMe SSDs when used with the MSoft NVMe driver, as you have explained.

An explanation of this situation from an Internet retailer in response to users of Samsung NVMe SSDs, the NVMe version of the SM951, complaining about its write performance results in some benchmarks, I will include below:

As this is not a SSD problem but NVMe driver policy behaviour.
The low performance was caused by the FUA(Forced Unit Access) command. It was originally blocked by the storage driver in MS Windows OS but the NVMe driver passes that command. And the benchmark tools that recently released invoke a bunch of FUA command so the performance of the SM951 NVMe dramatically goes down. MS is also aware of this issue and they are going to release a technical doc in MSDN near future. By that time, the way to avoid the FUA command is  by checking ?úTurn off write-cache buffer??option (see below) under the device property of the SSD in your Device Manager??


Link to that website and page: http://www.flexxmemory.co.uk/solid-state-drives-ssd/samsung-sm951-256gb-m-2-ngff-pcie-gen3-8gb-s-x4-solid-state-drive-ssd-2280-mzvpv256hdgl-00000-oem-nvme/

I certainly do not, and cannot, lay claim to be the first person to potentially notice this and write about it. My experience installing Windows on the two PCIe SSDs by itself would never have motivated me to include any statement about the performance of the MSoft NVMe driver. I felt it was corroboration of what I had read about before I even owned an NVMe SSD.

A corrected comment about the MSoft NVMe driver would be something like this: When using the MSoft NVMe driver, for optimal write performance, enable the Turn off Windows write-caching buffer flushing on this device.

But that leaves us with the caveat included below this setting:

To prevent data loss, do not select this check box unless the device has a separate power supply that allows the device to flush its buffer in case of a power failure.

So are we forced into the situation of potential data loss during a power failure if we want optimal write performance from the MSoft NVMe driver? Or do you suggest that write caching should not be enabled at all when using the MSoft NVMe driver?

Your own statement about this situation that provides the correct configuration of the Device Manager option seems to ignore the reason it needs to be configured in this way. That is, optimal write performance will be achieved with the MSoft NVMe driver once write-cache buffer flushing is disabled. Or is that statement incorrect?

The default Windows settings of these options in Device Manager, programmed that way by Microsoft, if not changed by the user, will not provide optimal write performance from Microsoft's NVMe driver. That is correct given your statement.

I'll be happy to change my statement, since I want it to be correct. It is unfortunate that the truth about configuring this Device Manager option when using the MSoft NVMe driver was not known by the PC enthusiast community, resulting in false information to be published by PC hardware review websites. It's also unfortunate that MSoft did not explain this as soon as the incomplete descriptions of the situation began to appear on the Internet. I became a "victim" of that misinformation, and regrettably continued to include it in this thread.

Or can you show me where MSoft has released a statement about this?

In the situation of installing Windows on a Samsung NVMe SSD, when using the MSoft NVMe driver, we do not have the capability of turning off write-cache buffer flushing. If that applies to the performance of the MSoft NVMe driver during a Windows installation, and why wouldn't it, that means the less than optimal write speed performance of the MSoft NVMe driver will occur at that time. Do you agree?

I've never tested the MSoft NVMe driver with write caching and buffer flushing enabled or disabled, but that is easy to do. It is strange that the PC hardware review websites that initially published the "information" about the MSoft NVMe driver, did not try the same testing with various configurations of write caching.

Ron, if you are trying to clean up the false information about the MSoft NVMe driver on the Internet, my one paragraph in a forum sticky is but one snow flake on the tip of an iceberg. Stern Smile

On another topic, from your post, you said the "in-box" MSoft AHCI drivers (msahci and storahci) don't honor FUA instructions, correct? If so, that would explain some of the differences in performance between those drivers and others that use write caching.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2016 at 3:35pm
Originally posted by Forez Forez wrote:

I have the Asrock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ motherboard

Will I be able to run some kind of a PCI Express drive as a bootable one?



Currently I looking into switching my bootable drive from ADATA XPG SX900 to Samsung 850 120GB [
EVO or maybe PRO version], because I need every extra seconds. But if I would be able to clone my Windows X64 onto even faster PCI-E drive and be able to actually run that OS from it, that would be better or me [although more costly in terms of finance]. But if FM2A88X EXTREME6+ is unable to do so, then I will not wait for some new hypothetical faster SSD drive and just but one of those Samsungs


As far as I can tell from the specifications, and UEFI/BIOS updates of your and other ASRock FM2A88X chipset boards, they don't support the NVMe protocol. So you cannot use PCIe SSDs like the Samsung 950 Pro or Intel 750 as OS drives.

Support for NVMe drives as OS drives is actually provided by the CPU/chipset manufacture, in your case AMD. They must also provide support for UEFI booting, or using the Windows EFI bootloader, again part of this comes from the CPU/chipset manufacture.

Of course mother board manufactures must then provide the NVMe and UEFI support in their products, in the UEFI/BIOS files of their boards.

ASRock has done this with their Intel boards for a while now, almost four years for UEFI booting, and over six months for NVMe.

My point is, if AMD had it available, ASRock would have given it to us. We are missing NVMe support from AMD.

Also, your board does not have an M.2 port for M.2 PCIe SSDs. You can use an adapter for those drives, at a small added cost. The adapter does not solve the lack of NVMe support situation.

There are a few AHCI type PCIe SSDs, the M.2 XP941 and AHCI SM951. Kingston and Plextor have both M.2 and PCIe slot AHCI SSDs. These can be used as OS drives on your board with the correct drivers. Most of these drives are not the equivalent in performance to the 950 or Intel 750, so would not be a big difference in performance.

Frankly, depending upon what you need IO speed for, the PCIe SSDs are not all that different in actual use than the best SATA SSDs.

If I were you I would get a Samsung 850 Pro or EVO, and in a few years get a new board that has the new interfaces like M.2 or U.2 as standard.

You could use an Intel 750 AIC SSD as the data drive for your usage, it is NVMe but does not need to be bootable to work as an application and data drive. You would need an FM2+ CPU to provide PCIe 3.0 support, and be willing to operate your video card at x8, leaving PCIe 3.0 lanes available for the 750.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Arlen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2016 at 12:31am
Motherboard was faulty. A new motherboard fixed the problem.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2016 at 12:32pm
Originally posted by Arlen Arlen wrote:

Hello,
Trying to install Win10 on Kingston M2 Hyperx Predator SSD.
The system hang after reboot and is not able to complete installation.
I tried disabling CSM or setting disk to uefi only both create same result.


Originally posted by Arlen Arlen wrote:

Motherboard was faulty. A new motherboard fixed the problem.


Glad you found the problem. The HyperX Predator should be easier to use as an OS drive than many of the other PCIe SSDs, since it is an AHCI type of M.2 SSD.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Forez Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2016 at 3:27am
Originally posted by Forez Forez wrote:

I have the Asrock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ motherboard

Will I be able to run some kind of a PCI Express drive as a bootable one?
[...]


Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


[...]
ASRock has done this with their Intel boards for a while now, almost four years for UEFI booting, and over six months for NVMe.

UEFI I have; I think

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


My point is, if AMD had it available, ASRock would have given it to us. We are missing NVMe support from AMD.
Also, your board does not have an M.2 port for M.2 PCIe SSDs. You can use an adapter for those drives, at a small added cost. The adapter does not solve the lack of NVMe support situation.

I had no idea, such adapters exists

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


[...]
If I were you I would get a Samsung 850 Pro or EVO, and in a few years get a new board that has the new interfaces like M.2 or U.2 as standard.

That's what I was suspecting the optimal answer to my problem / needs would come too be

I's will be much easier to just wait around 3 years to the time, when my Windows 7 is not supported anymore by Microsoft. And install new system on a new motherboard, in hopes of getting well written drivers for those M.2 drives; and thus not having to deal with compatibility issues

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


You could use an Intel 750 AIC SSD as the data drive for your usage, it is NVMe but does not need to be bootable to work as an application and data drive. You would need an FM2+ CPU to provide PCIe 3.0 support, and be willing to operate your video card at x8, leaving PCIe 3.0 lanes available for the 750.

And as I'm working in Photohop and Corel DRAW, it would be a poor trade off

So for now I'm [pretty much] stuck with regular SSDs. Just like I was stuck with HDDs when operated on Windows XP, which didn't support the usage of them [at all]


Thank you for that quick and elaborate answer of yours
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sohammy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2016 at 9:28am
Hi, I'm in somewhat of a similar situation to Forez.  I have a pretty old motherboard, Asrock z77 pro4 with Win7 running on an also old Crucial M4 SSD.  I was thinking about upgrading to win10 but prior to that upgrading my SSD temporarily for a few years until I build a whole new system.  My hope was to get the best SSD performance my computer could handle in the meantime (If I understand correctly, anything using PCIe 3.0 or NVME is out of the question).  My backup plan is basically the same with the sata samsung 850 evo.

Will a Samsung XP941 AHCI PCIe 2.0 SSD work in my system via a M.2 PCIE adapter card and if so, could I boot win 7/10 from it?

I was looking through method 1 of your guide and my up to date bios (P1.80), can't seem to find any suboption under CSM that says Launch Storage OpROM Policy: Legacy vs UEFI only.




......Is my motherboard just way too old for any of this and need to be put out to pasture, haha?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2016 at 11:20am
Originally posted by Forez Forez wrote:

Originally posted by Forez Forez wrote:

I have the Asrock FM2A88X EXTREME6+ motherboard

Will I be able to run some kind of a PCI Express drive as a bootable one?
[...]


Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


[...]
ASRock has done this with their Intel boards for a while now, almost four years for UEFI booting, and over six months for NVMe.

UEFI I have; I think

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


My point is, if AMD had it available, ASRock would have given it to us. We are missing NVMe support from AMD.
Also, your board does not have an M.2 port for M.2 PCIe SSDs. You can use an adapter for those drives, at a small added cost. The adapter does not solve the lack of NVMe support situation.

I had no idea, such adapters exists

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


[...]
If I were you I would get a Samsung 850 Pro or EVO, and in a few years get a new board that has the new interfaces like M.2 or U.2 as standard.

That's what I was suspecting the optimal answer to my problem / needs would come too be

I's will be much easier to just wait around 3 years to the time, when my Windows 7 is not supported anymore by Microsoft. And install new system on a new motherboard, in hopes of getting well written drivers for those M.2 drives; and thus not having to deal with compatibility issues

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


You could use an Intel 750 AIC SSD as the data drive for your usage, it is NVMe but does not need to be bootable to work as an application and data drive. You would need an FM2+ CPU to provide PCIe 3.0 support, and be willing to operate your video card at x8, leaving PCIe 3.0 lanes available for the 750.

And as I'm working in Photohop and Corel DRAW, it would be a poor trade off

So for now I'm [pretty much] stuck with regular SSDs. Just like I was stuck with HDDs when operated on Windows XP, which didn't support the usage of them [at all]


Thank you for that quick and elaborate answer of yours

Gamers, that are not willing to sacrifice performance, say the difference between PCIe 3.0 X16 and PCIe 3.0 x8 in performance is less than 3%.

As a user of many SSDs for  years, starting when they were still using SATA II, the difference in performance between a good SATA III SSD and the new NVMe SSDs (I have both 950 Pros and Intel 750s) is not anything like the difference between an HDD and a SATA SSD.

If you are working with large files of multiple gigabytes, the new PCIe SSDs would save you only several seconds loading and saving those files. If you were hoping for a big difference using PCIe SSDs over SATA SSDs, you won't get it.

Standard drivers for the PCIe SSDs are not what is missing from AMD, it's a more specialized driver that is a part of the UEFI file, called an Option ROM.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote parsec Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2016 at 11:42am
Originally posted by sohammy sohammy wrote:

Hi, I'm in somewhat of a similar situation to Forez.  I have a pretty old motherboard, Asrock z77 pro4 with Win7 running on an also old Crucial M4 SSD.  I was thinking about upgrading to win10 but prior to that upgrading my SSD temporarily for a few years until I build a whole new system.  My hope was to get the best SSD performance my computer could handle in the meantime (If I understand correctly, anything using PCIe 3.0 or NVME is out of the question).  My backup plan is basically the same with the sata samsung 850 evo.

Will a Samsung XP941 AHCI PCIe 2.0 SSD work in my system via a M.2 PCIE adapter card and if so, could I boot win 7/10 from it?

I was looking through method 1 of your guide and my up to date bios (P1.80), can't seem to find any suboption under CSM that says Launch Storage OpROM Policy: Legacy vs UEFI only.




......Is my motherboard just way too old for any of this and need to be put out to pasture, haha?


An XP941 might be bootable with your board, but I can't tell if your board had the appropriate UEFI/BIOS updates to support using the EFI boot loader that is required with that SSD.

As I've told others, the difference in performance between a good SATA SSD (an M4 is good) and a PCIe SSD is not night and day. Not anything like going from an HDD to a SATA SSD.

You can just disable CSM, as said in my guide, to allow booting from a PCIe SSD. But you then need a GOP compatible video source, and cannot use Windows 7 without a modification of a file location in the installation folders.

Stay with the 850 EVO, it will be somewhat faster than an M4 in real world usage, but not all the time and not a big difference. An 850 EVO is among the few fastest SATA III SSDs, and frankly will be faster when starting a PC from a cold start/shutdown than any current PCIe SSD. PCIe SSDs are slow to complete POST. The startup time of my  Z170 board with all PCIe SSDs is much slower  than my Z87 board using a SATA III SSD.




Edited by parsec - 26 Apr 2016 at 11:43am
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