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X300W DeskMini - SATA Causing Win 11 Issues

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joeschmuckatelli View Drop Down
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    Posted: 26 Nov 2022 at 5:06am
So I just purchased an ASRock X300W DeskMini, installed 64GB RAM, AMD 6500G CPU, the Wraith Cooler, 1TB Samsung NVMe module, I have not yet installed the WiFi module because I ordered a better one today so sometime next week I should have that. I've performed a Clean Install of Windows 11 Pro. All was working fine so I created a backup image of the boot drive so I could revert back if something didn't install correctly.

I installed a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SATA SSD on the SATA1 port and it seamed to work fine yesterday even though I didn't have much time to do anything with it, and I wouldn't have assumed I needed to test it out. The drive showed up and that was good enough for me.

Now things start getting funky. When I reboot everything is extra slow, taking minutes vice seconds. When I remove the SSD then all is good again.

Something else is going on, the BIOS will not always retain it's settings. I have CSM Mode Enabled because I had to boot from an Acronis Boot Disk to create the image backup. But after the SATA drive was attached I can't keep the CSM Mode Enabled, it jumps back to Disabled. I've never have a BIOS just do whatever it feels like.

The BIOS is at version 1.70, the latest, well there is a beta of 1.80 out but that should be addressing a CPU model. I saw nothing about other issues being solved.

So I removed the SSD and the system operated nice again, but it sure is a kick in the groin if I can't use the SATA ports.

A last note: When the SATA drive was connected, I often had to pull the power plug to kill the machine just to get the machine to bootstrap fast again (not at the 5+ minute pace it was doing with a reboot).

With over 50 years of computer experience, I've never encountered this kind of problem. I was definitely swearing at the BIOS.

Why do I want the extra 1TB, well for Virtual Machine hard drives that I build and test out. That was the reason for all the RAM.

Any advice is welcome, besides toss it in the garbage. I might just suck it up and buy another M.2 SSD, not something I really want to do. This is replacing my daily machine that is 12 years of age. It still works great but it felt like time for an upgrade to a significantly faster machine. And without that SATA SSD installed, it is very fast.

Thanks again.
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Gordon D View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2022 at 6:25pm
I have a X300W Deskmini. I don't have as much RAM as you. And I'm running a different model Samsung SATA secondary drive. And I'm running Windows 10.

I don't have any idea why you have been having problems since you fitted the secondary SATA drive. I have not seen any in Windows 10.

But I'm not surprised you are having trouble running Windows 11 and CSM mode. All the tech info I've seen says you shouldn't and probably can't do that. Windows 11 REQUIRES Secure Boot. CSM mode prevents it. I commend the BIOS for having the intelligence to realise, and respond to you enabling it after you install Windows 11 by turning it back off again.

https://deviceadvice.io/2021/06/28/prepare-your-device-for-windows-11-by-enabling-secure-boot-and-firmware-tpm/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2022 at 6:53pm
I'm not into Windows 11 enough to say exactly how, but I'd put money on your slow boot when the SATA drive is fitted being related to you trying to run CSM mode and boot Windows 11, compounded by the BIOS defaulting to trying to boot of the SATA drive not the NVMe drive. The BIOS is trying to boot off the SATA drive first, and getting very confused.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote eccential Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Nov 2022 at 8:22pm
Try a different SATA cable?
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joeschmuckatelli View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote joeschmuckatelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2022 at 12:44am
Thank you both for the responses. I will try the other SATA cable and see what the results are, I'd be happy if that were the issue. I know the SSD is good, it's just bizarre how it all acts.

As for Windows 11 requiring UEFI and Secure Boot, I guess I should have turned that off up front like I did on my current Desktop computer (it does not support Secure Boot or TPM, and I disabled UEFI in the BIOS, I don't like UEFI).

The BIOS is not trying to boot from the SATA port first. The default is the M.2 card and I've also force a bootstrapped to the M.2 card using the F11 button option. The SATA SSD is empty, just a single non-bootable partition. It seems like it's trying to discover the drive.

I will troubleshoot until I either solve it or give up. It may take me a few weeks to give up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2022 at 5:25am
Asrock Deskminis have a unique SATA cable. Its like the ones used on laptops with the standard SATA data and power connectors on the drive end, but a strange connector on the motherboard end. I was afraid when I tried to use it the first time that I might be damaging it by trying to force it into the socket. Then I was afraid that unless I left the spare plugged in, and in the case, that I'd lose track of it and not be able to get a replacement.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon D Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2022 at 5:54am
Off course its bizarre how its acting.

You have installed an operating system that clearly says it REQUIRES UEFI, secure boot and TFM. Then after you've installed it, you've turned them all off. You've down graded it to no longer meeting Windows 11's minimum requirements. Microsoft did provide for people installing Windows 11 on non-compliant PCs, but warned that it would block getting updates.

What is surprising is not that it behaves bizarrely, but that it works at all. If you don't want UEFI, secure boot and the TFM, you should have installed Windows 10.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote joeschmuckatelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Nov 2022 at 9:19am
Um, I'm not sure what Windows 11 UEFI and Secure Boot on my other computers has to do with my issue on the X300. As for my other computers, updates being blocked, nope, I get them on all my Windows 11 computers, using Legacy BIOS, no TPM, and no Secure Boot. I understand the security hole Microsoft is trying to plug, it's a good step in the right direction but you can't force everyone to give up older hardware, hence the option to disable those features.

Back to the issue at hand. Looks like the X300 is not compatible with the Samsung 860 EVO SSD's. I have a Samsung 850 EVO SSD that I connected and all seams fine. I connected another off brand SSD and it worked, and a good old style spinning rust drive, worked as well. And that is for both connectors and both SATA cables. I did move the cables around between the SATA1 and SATA2 connectors. Those little bastards are no fun to remove.

So, maybe there is some BIOS option that I can change to make the SATA ports work better. I plan to write to ASRock Tech Support to report my findings and find out if there is anything I can do to make it work correctly.

When I formatted the 1TB SSD, it took over 10 minutes (I walked out and watched TV for a while) for format a GPT partitioned drive. The drive is recognized now upon bootstrap and I can manipulate files in the partition.

I need to also do some data transfer benchmarks to find out the actual transfer speed rate. For all I know, it's ultra slow.

I will post my final results once I get there. Unfortunately I see a lot of testing in my future to try and diagnose all the symptoms and maybe the solution.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote joeschmuckatelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Nov 2022 at 8:16am
An update: I just performed CrystalDiskMark on both the M.2 drive and the SATA drive. The M.2 drive is normal but the SATA drive is odd. The read speeds are typical (523 MB/s Seq Read) while the write speeds are horrible (0.42 MB/s Seq Write). I've never seen write speeds so slow in my life. Time to search the internet for a reason.

I am suspecting there is a driver issue, or my motherboard is defective.

I have written to Tech Support about the issue.
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