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Trouble with Ultra Fast Z170 OC Formula

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adabo View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 4:22am
Picked up the Z170 OC Formula last week. It's really a nice motherboard. The trouble I'm having is speeding up my boot up.

I have another computer with a Z77 Extreme9 with Ultra fast and the boot time to windows is ~3 seconds.

The confusing part is that the Z170 is using an M.2 950 Pro, which is significantly faster than the Intel SATA SSD on the Z77.

I created the Windows 10 USB installer using RUFUS set to UEFI mode. I installed Windows using the same USB to test both motherboards. I have both motherboards set to Ultra fast. The Z170 stays on the POST screen for about 7 seconds whereas the Z77 just flashes the POST screen in less than 1 second.

I'm just wondering if there's something I can do to tweak the new motherboard. I know a 14 second boot up time is not slow, but compared to the 3 second boot to Windows desktop on the Z77, that's really slow.

Thanks for reading, and any help is apprectiated.

P.S. I noticed in the Advanced Storage configuration in EUFI the M.2 drive does not show up. However I do see it in the NVMe menu.
[code]CPU | i7-6700k
Cool| Corsair Hydro h115i
MB | Z170 OC Formula
RAM | 16GB @ 2133
SSD | Samsung 950 Pro m.2 256gb + Intel 535 480GB
GPU | GTX 1070
PSU | 750W
OS | Windows 10 Pro[/code]
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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 10:14am
Originally posted by adabo adabo wrote:

Picked up the Z170 OC Formula last week. It's really a nice motherboard. The trouble I'm having is speeding up my boot up.

I have another computer with a Z77 Extreme9 with Ultra fast and the boot time to windows is ~3 seconds.

The confusing part is that the Z170 is using an M.2 950 Pro, which is significantly faster than the Intel SATA SSD on the Z77.

I created the Windows 10 USB installer using RUFUS set to UEFI mode. I installed Windows using the same USB to test both motherboards. I have both motherboards set to Ultra fast. The Z170 stays on the POST screen for about 7 seconds whereas the Z77 just flashes the POST screen in less than 1 second.

I'm just wondering if there's something I can do to tweak the new motherboard. I know a 14 second boot up time is not slow, but compared to the 3 second boot to Windows desktop on the Z77, that's really slow.

Thanks for reading, and any help is apprectiated.

P.S. I noticed in the Advanced Storage configuration in EUFI the M.2 drive does not show up. However I do see it in the NVMe menu.


I'm not sure about this since you did not mention it specifically, but the CSM option must be disabled in order for the Ultra Fast boot option to work.

One important thing I must mention first is, the Ultra Fast "Boot" feature is actually causing the POST process to be significantly faster. The actual loading and running of the OS, is really not affected much if at all.

The length of time starting a PC from a shutdown condition is really the sum of the POST time, and the time of the actual OS loading and executing. We tend to combine those two things into the "boot time", but in this case we need to consider the two as the separate, distinct processes that they actually are.

There are two things I can tell you about related to the slower startup time you are asking about. They aren't fixes but simply realities of the situation. I also use a 950 Pro as the OS drive on an ASRock Z170 board.

First, over time owners of NVMe SSDs have noticed that they tend to cause the length of the PC "boot time" to be slower than their SATA III SSDs. The reality of that is the POST time is longer for NVMe SSDs, so the overall startup time of the PC is slower.

The first Intel NVMe SSDs for PCs (750 series) were particularly slow to get started and complete their part of the POST process. Intel has since provided two firmware updates for the 750 SSD to address that situation, the first update more so than the second. This has reduced their length of POST time, but they are still slower than SATA SSDs. Don't forget the POST procedure for a drive is not related to their performance, and their performance has no affect on it.

Owners of Samsung 950 Pro's also noticed this, but most think they are "slow to boot" for some reason. You can read about this in the thread below, in another forum at OCN. The thread is long but about a third of the way into it the complaints about the "slow booting" begin:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1579581/official-samsung-950-pro-owners-club

Samsung, being unable to admit any shortcomings with their products unless they have no choice, have done nothing about it, if it is even possible for them to do so. Sorry, you won't find a fix in that thread.

NVMe is a new protocol, unrelated to SATA. That means it is now a new part of the POST procedure, if you have an NVMe SSD in your PC. It must be done on top of everything else that is already done in POST. Perhaps that process is not yet optimized as the others are.

One thing that likely causes it to be slower is the NVMe controller is part of the NVMe SSD itself. Where is the SATA controller in a PC? It's part of the chipset in the mother board. Both of these controllers are listed as separate devices in Device Manager, and each uses their own drivers.

The second thing to consider is something we don't think about. Again, this is all about the POST process. Why do we expect every PC platform or system to start up (POST) at the same speed, or in the same amount of time? We take it for granted that there is no difference, but there are many reasons why different systems are slower than others.

Have you ever owned an Intel X79 or X99 system? I have an X99 system, and after pressing the power button, I don't hear the POST complete single beep for at least 15 seconds. Why so slow? How about eight DIMM slots to check for memory, and then there may be up to 64GB - 128GB of memory to check. Instead of 16 PCIe lanes on a Skylake processor, the X99 HEDT processors have 28 or 40 PCIe lanes. Plus the X99 chipset is borrowed from the Intel enterprise line of chipsets. Enterprise/professional computers value stability and perfection over a startup time that is less than 10 seconds.

Our Z170 boards have three M.2 slots to check that are connected to the chipset itself, rather than the PCIe lanes of the CPU. Your OC Formula board is more complex than most mother boards, and an older OC Formula board I have is slow to POST. Long story short, all Z170 boards likely take longer to POST too. Z77 boards simply POST much faster.

Nothing can be done by you to "fix" your startup time, unless CSM is not disabled. Change to a SATA III SSD and remove the NVMe SSD. That's not a joke.

The fastest starting PC I have now is the ASRock DeskMini, with an i3-6100 CPU. The mother board has the H110 chipset. No PCIe slots at all. One M.2 slot, two SATA III ports. No OC, memory at 2133. I've tried both the 950 Pro and an Intel 600p in it as the OS drives. The boards are so simple, POST is quick and they both are at the desktop five seconds from pressing the power button. Enable Ultra Fast boot, it's like waking from Windows Sleep. Next is my Z87 Extreme6 board with a Pentium Anniversary CPU, and SATA III SSDs, and no video card. I've learned simple CPUs start up faster too.

Do you have the same version of Windows in both PCs? Same hardware? Everything counts towards the length of POST. The simpler the PC, the faster it can start.

NVMe SSDs do not usually appear in the M.2 slot listed in the Storage Configuration screen. New UEFI versions now show them in that screen. The DeskMini 110 is the first board I've used that listed an NVMe SSD in the Storage Configuration screen. They are of course listed in the NVMe screen, and in the System Browser tool.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adabo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Oct 2016 at 11:24am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

I'm not sure about this since you did not mention it specifically, but the CSM option must be disabled in order for the Ultra Fast boot option to work.

One important thing I must mention first is, the Ultra Fast "Boot" feature is actually causing the POST process to be significantly faster. The actual loading and running of the OS, is really not affected much if at all.

The length of time starting a PC from a shutdown condition is really the sum of the POST time, and the time of the actual OS loading and executing. We tend to combine those two things into the "boot time", but in this case we need to consider the two as the separate, distinct processes that they actually are.

There are two things I can tell you about related to the slower startup time you are asking about. They aren't fixes but simply realities of the situation. I also use a 950 Pro as the OS drive on an ASRock Z170 board.

First, over time owners of NVMe SSDs have noticed that they tend to cause the length of the PC "boot time" to be slower than their SATA III SSDs. The reality of that is the POST time is longer for NVMe SSDs, so the overall startup time of the PC is slower.

The first Intel NVMe SSDs for PCs (750 series) were particularly slow to get started and complete their part of the POST process. Intel has since provided two firmware updates for the 750 SSD to address that situation, the first update more so than the second. This has reduced their length of POST time, but they are still slower than SATA SSDs. Don't forget the POST procedure for a drive is not related to their performance, and their performance has no affect on it.

Owners of Samsung 950 Pro's also noticed this, but most think they are "slow to boot" for some reason. You can read about this in the thread below, in another forum at OCN. The thread is long but about a third of the way into it the complaints about the "slow booting" begin:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1579581/official-samsung-950-pro-owners-club

Samsung, being unable to admit any shortcomings with their products unless they have no choice, have done nothing about it, if it is even possible for them to do so. Sorry, you won't find a fix in that thread.

NVMe is a new protocol, unrelated to SATA. That means it is now a new part of the POST procedure, if you have an NVMe SSD in your PC. It must be done on top of everything else that is already done in POST. Perhaps that process is not yet optimized as the others are.

One thing that likely causes it to be slower is the NVMe controller is part of the NVMe SSD itself. Where is the SATA controller in a PC? It's part of the chipset in the mother board. Both of these controllers are listed as separate devices in Device Manager, and each uses their own drivers.

The second thing to consider is something we don't think about. Again, this is all about the POST process. Why do we expect every PC platform or system to start up (POST) at the same speed, or in the same amount of time? We take it for granted that there is no difference, but there are many reasons why different systems are slower than others.

Have you ever owned an Intel X79 or X99 system? I have an X99 system, and after pressing the power button, I don't hear the POST complete single beep for at least 15 seconds. Why so slow? How about eight DIMM slots to check for memory, and then there may be up to 64GB - 128GB of memory to check. Instead of 16 PCIe lanes on a Skylake processor, the X99 HEDT processors have 28 or 40 PCIe lanes. Plus the X99 chipset is borrowed from the Intel enterprise line of chipsets. Enterprise/professional computers value stability and perfection over a startup time that is less than 10 seconds.

Our Z170 boards have three M.2 slots to check that are connected to the chipset itself, rather than the PCIe lanes of the CPU. Your OC Formula board is more complex than most mother boards, and an older OC Formula board I have is slow to POST. Long story short, all Z170 boards likely take longer to POST too. Z77 boards simply POST much faster.

Nothing can be done by you to "fix" your startup time, unless CSM is not disabled. Change to a SATA III SSD and remove the NVMe SSD. That's not a joke.

The fastest starting PC I have now is the ASRock DeskMini, with an i3-6100 CPU. The mother board has the H110 chipset. No PCIe slots at all. One M.2 slot, two SATA III ports. No OC, memory at 2133. I've tried both the 950 Pro and an Intel 600p in it as the OS drives. The boards are so simple, POST is quick and they both are at the desktop five seconds from pressing the power button. Enable Ultra Fast boot, it's like waking from Windows Sleep. Next is my Z87 Extreme6 board with a Pentium Anniversary CPU, and SATA III SSDs, and no video card. I've learned simple CPUs start up faster too.

Do you have the same version of Windows in both PCs? Same hardware? Everything counts towards the length of POST. The simpler the PC, the faster it can start.

NVMe SSDs do not usually appear in the M.2 slot listed in the Storage Configuration screen. New UEFI versions now show them in that screen. The DeskMini 110 is the first board I've used that listed an NVMe SSD in the Storage Configuration screen. They are of course listed in the NVMe screen, and in the System Browser tool.

Thank you for your detailed and informative reply! Everything you said actually made sense to me, despite not knowing a great deal about motherboards.

I'm quite certain I disabled CSM. I read a thread somewhere here that mentioned disabling it for faster boot.

The hardware is not too dissimilar as they are basically a few generations apart. Z77: i3770k, GTX 970, 8GB RAM, Intel 535 SSD. Z710: i6700k, GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, Samsung M.2 ...

Both machines were installed using the same USB with Windows 10 on it.

If it's just a matter of accepting that NVMe is a so new that it's slower, that's fine. I just didn't know if there was anything at fault on my end.

Also, I understand that POST time and Windows Loading are 2 different times. Actually, I'm disappointed that Windows load time on the Samsung M.2 is slower than the SATA drive on the other board. I'll have to look for a way to see what's taking up the time loading Windows on the Z170.

Thanks for your time, parsec!
[code]CPU | i7-6700k
Cool| Corsair Hydro h115i
MB | Z170 OC Formula
RAM | 16GB @ 2133
SSD | Samsung 950 Pro m.2 256gb + Intel 535 480GB
GPU | GTX 1070
PSU | 750W
OS | Windows 10 Pro[/code]
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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 10:26pm
Originally posted by adabo adabo wrote:


Thank you for your detailed and informative reply! Everything you said actually made sense to me, despite not knowing a great deal about motherboards.

I'm quite certain I disabled CSM. I read a thread somewhere here that mentioned disabling it for faster boot.

The hardware is not too dissimilar as they are basically a few generations apart. Z77: i3770k, GTX 970, 8GB RAM, Intel 535 SSD. Z710: i6700k, GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, Samsung M.2 ...

Both machines were installed using the same USB with Windows 10 on it.

If it's just a matter of accepting that NVMe is a so new that it's slower, that's fine. I just didn't know if there was anything at fault on my end.

Also, I understand that POST time and Windows Loading are 2 different times. Actually, I'm disappointed that Windows load time on the Samsung M.2 is slower than the SATA drive on the other board. I'll have to look for a way to see what's taking up the time loading Windows on the Z170.

Thanks for your time, parsec!


Well, I've had those ideas about this topic inside me for a while now, and I've been waiting to get a chance to let it all out. You gave me that opportunity, so thank you for that!

My explanation is not perfect, since some things you mentioned in your comparison between your PCs are not accounted for in what I wrote. They are a good example of why this is still mysterious. POST is one thing, but the actual OS booting is another, and should be different with an NVMe SSD.

For example, the Intel 535 SSD has about one half the 4K/small file random read speed performance of a 950 Pro. Large file read speed is one fourth that of the 950 Pro. Starting Windows is not about just reading one large file. Multiple relatively smaller files are being read, and some larger ones too. So once these SSDs are actually working on running Windows, the 950 Pro should be done much sooner. Plus the NVMe protocol has less overhead so lower latency than SATA does. Yet it seems the SATA SSD is at worst equal to an NVMe SSD, and may actually be quicker starting Windows. As I said, I've seen that myself.

Then include the slower, two core processors I've used with some boards, vs the six core/12 thread CPU I have in the X99 board, with faster DDR4 memory. Yet it seems that makes no difference in the time it takes to get Windows (same version) running. So what's going on?

I'm starting to think that the current NTFS file system, that was really designed when we only had HDDs, is the problem. I've read about file systems designed for use with flash memory, but we don't have that yet in Windows.
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