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How To Install Windows On A PCIe SSD

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Topic: How To Install Windows On A PCIe SSD
Posted By: parsec
Subject: How To Install Windows On A PCIe SSD
Date Posted: 14 Nov 2015 at 11:38am
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USING PCIe SSDs AS YOUR WINDOWS OS/BOOT DRIVE

These simple instructions will allow you to install Windows on a PCIe SSD and use it as your OS/Boot drive.

The overview and description of PCIe SSDs is more complex than their configuration for use as an OS drive. Regardless, it is very important that you at least understand the physical and electrical interfaces to some degree to avoid disappointments with performance after your OS installation. If you encounter any issues, they are most likely explained in the PCIe SSD description sections.

UEFI/BIOS CONFIGURATION FOR OS INSTALLATION ON PCIe SSDs

Only one main UEFI option needs configuration to allow you to install Windows on a PCIe SSD. All this configuration does is cause Windows to use the EFI boot loader rather than the Legacy boot loader, which is necessary for a Windows installation on a PCIe SSD. This setting can be used with any SSD or HDD to enhance OS booting performance.

There are two ways to configure this UEFI option. The first one is the easiest and has no other requirements of your PC hardware. The second way requires your video source to be compatible with a protocol called GOP. That's why I don't suggest using the second method unless you know your video source is GOP compatible.

Before you start, check the UEFI version on your board, and then check for the latest version available for your board. If you find any mention of "PCIe SSD" or "NVMe support" in a newer UEFI version, you should update to that version before you install Windows on your PCIe SSD.

METHOD 1

In the UEFI, in the Boot screen at the bottom, is an option called CSM (Compatibility Support Module.) CSM is Enabled by default. Click on CSM to reveal its sub-options.

The sub-option you are looking for is called Launch Storage OpROM Policy. The default setting is Legacy Only. Change the Launch Storage OpROM Policy setting to UEFI Only.

That's the main thing that must be configured. In the Storage Configuration screen, the SATA Mode should be set to either AHCI (default) or RAID. This is really for any SATA drives you will be using, but is also needed for PCIe AHCI SSDs. Those are described in the PCIe SSD description section if you are interested. Why anyone would be using IDE mode with modern mother boards and drives is beyond me, but just in case do NOT use IDE mode!

Once these options are configured, Save and Exit the UEFI, and go right back into the UEFI.

Not quite done yet. Do NOT be worried if your PCIe SSD is not listed in the Storage Configuration screen or Boot order list. That does not matter at all.

What does matter is the entry for your Windows installation media, whether a USB flash drive (the preferred method) or optical disk, in the Boot order.

You should find an entry in the Boot order like this: UEFI: <Installation Media Device Name>.

"Installation Media Device Name" is the name of whatever you are using as the installation media.

You will see another entry with the prefix AHCI. Do NOT select the AHCI entry. You MUST use the entry with the UEFI prefix.

Once you select the UEFI entry, save and exit if everything else is in order, and the Windows installation will begin. There is no need to format your PCIe SSD before the Windows installation. It is much better to allow the Windows Installation program to format your PCIe SSD. It will be GPT formatted and have an EFI System partition, and a Recovery partition.

Once Windows is installed on your PCIe AHCI or NVMe SSD, the entry in the Boot order list appear as "Windows Boot Loader" or "Windows Boot Loader: <SSD name>", depending upon the UEFI version used with your board.

If you are using a PCIe NVMe SSD (any Intel 750 SSD, and any DC P3500 SSD, Samsung 950 Pro SSD) don't forget to install the NVMe driver that the manufactures provide for their NVMe SSDs.

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.)

It is the best practice with ANY Windows installation to only have the target OS drive powered on during the Windows installation. That is true and recommended in this case as well. If you are using an optical drive, that of course may be powered on and won't cause any problem.

NOTE: PCIe NVMe SSDs will NOT be listed in the Storage Configuration screen in the UEFI. They will be shown in the System Browser tool in the UEFI, and of course will be shown in Windows like any other drive.

METHOD 2

This method still requires the the CSM option to be configured. As said above, the default setting of CSM is Enabled. For this method, simply set the CSM option to Disabled. That has the same affect as setting the Launch Storage OpROM Policy setting to UEFI Only.

As said above, this requires the video source of the PC to be GOP compatible. That is necessary because setting the CSM option to Disabled causes the UEFI firmware in your board to be fully utilized. That results in the need for the video source to be GOP compatible, which is an EFI graphics protocol.

The Intel integrated graphics is GOP compatible, as far back as their Sandy Bridge processors, as long as your board's UEFI has the appropriate Intel VBIOS update. ASRock has updated all of their boards at least since the Intel 7 series chipsets with the Intel GOP compatible VBIOS.

I know that EVGA video cards starting with the 7 series are GOP compatible out of the box. EVGA 6 series video cards can be made GOP compatible with a VBIOS update. Otherwise you will need to check with the manufacture of your video card to learn if it is GOP compatible.

Besides setting CSM to Disabled, everything in Method 1 beyond the CSM configuration is the same, and must be the procedure used for installing Windows on your PCIe SSD. Please go over that section which contains important information.

Please feel free to ask any questions or post any problems you have about installing Windows on a PCIe SSD in this thread, or if you have problems with your installation.

WHAT IS A PCIe SSD?

PCIe SSDs do not use the a mother board's SATA chipset interface between the SSD and the Windows file system. They have their own storage controller built into the SSD. The storage controller should not be confused with the standard SSD controller chips that all SSDs use.

The storage controllers used in PCIe SSDs use a driver that is either provided by the OS itself, or one that is provided by the PCIe SSD manufacture, and must be installed by the SSD user.

PCIe SSDs are those SSD types that connect to a mother board in at least one of these ways:
  1. A standard PCIe slot that is at least physically x4.
  2. An M.2 port/slot. NOTE: Not all SSDs with an M.2 interface are PCIe SSDs.
  3. A 2.5" form factor SSD whose interface is PCIe and can be used with a U.2 adapter card and cable that is connected to an M.2 port. U.2 was previously called SFF-8639. A mother board can have an U.2 connector built into the board, that functions the same as an U.2 to M.2 adapter card.
  4. M.2 PCIe SSDs may be used with a M.2 to PCIe slot adapter card.
PCIe SSDs are not SATA drives, although some of them share one aspect with SATA drives.

WHICH PCIe SSDs ARE SUPPORTED?
Intel:
  1. 750 series AIC (Add In Card) in HHHL form factor (Half Height Half Length) PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4.
  2. 750 series 2.5" 15mm PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4.
  3. DC P3500 series AIC HHHL PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4.
Plextor:
  1. M6e series, with PCIe adapter card or M.2 connector PCIe AHCI 2.0 x2.
  2. M6e Black Edition AIC HHHL form factor PCIe AHCI 2.0 x2.

Samsung:
  1. XP941 M.2 PCIe AHCI 2.0 x4.
  2. SM951 M.2 PCIe AHCI 3.0 x4.
  3. SM951 M.2 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4.
  4. 950 Pro M.2 PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4.
WHAT VERSIONS OF WINDOWS ARE SUPPORTED?

You may use Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. Only 64 bit versions may be used. Beyond that there are no further restrictions.

Windows 7 does not have a built in NVMe driver, that is required by PCIe NVMe SSDs. That makes a clean installation of Windows 7 on a PCIe NVMe SSD difficult. There is a Window 7 Hotfix for this situation, and both Intel and Samsung provide NVMe drivers for their products. But those drivers are not the type that can be used in during a Windows installation. This section will be updated when (if) a solution for this issue is available.

WHAT IS PCIe AHCI AND PCIe NVMe?

PCIe SSDs use two types of non-physical interfaces, AHCI and NVMe.

AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) is the same protocol that may be used by SATA SSDs.

The difference in PCIe AHCI SSDs is the AHCI controller is part of the SSD itself. Standard SS

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Replies:
Posted By: Piddeman
Date Posted: 14 Nov 2015 at 6:00pm
Thanks! I save this for my future update :)

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My PC. http://i.imgur.com/x6wZmmz.png


Posted By: ziko
Date Posted: 17 Nov 2015 at 5:49pm
Will ALL X99 boards Support this method?
I own the X99 Extreme4/3.1 with 1.2 BIOS.
Officialy, only the Extreme 4, without USB 3.1 support the NVME SSD.
Its my first Asrock board and i am very disappointed with it.
Today it boot normaly, tomorrow freeze at Asrock logo.
After reset CMOS it boots again.
How long, its a luck of the draw.
Boot time is horrible, CSM disbled and Win 10 x64 fast boot enabled.
My first and last Asrock product, for shure.
Will now try to go along with this board.
My boot drive is a OCZ Revodrive 3 x2 PCIe.
No issue, only the boot problem and overclocking issue from board.
 
Can anyone answer my question about the M2 boot drive on my Extreme 4/3.1?
 


Posted By: mptock
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2015 at 12:39am
Still a little confused. The z170 extreme3 bios does not support NVME? Correct? So my Samsung 950 pro is running off AHCI protocol instead? The support that is does offer is only to be able to boot from a NVME


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2015 at 1:35am
Originally posted by mptock mptock wrote:

Still a little confused. The z170 extreme3 bios does not support NVME? Correct? So my Samsung 950 pro is running off AHCI protocol instead? The support that is does offer is only to be able to boot from a NVME


ALL ASRock Z170 boards support NVMe PCIe SSDs, including the Z170 Extreme3. You can boot an OS from a 950 Pro with your board.

Check the Specifications page of your board, and scroll down to the Slots and Storage information:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170%20Extreme3/?cat=Specifications" rel="nofollow - http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z170%20Extreme3/?cat=Specifications

You won't see any information about adding NVMe support in the UEFI/BIOS version listings of ASRock Z170 boards, simply because they support NVMe out of the box with any UEFI version.

Mother boards that came before the Intel 100 series chipsets will have information about supporting NVMe in their UEFI updates, if that support was added. The older boards, when released, did not have NVMe support out of the box.

An NVMe SSD, like the 950 Pro, cannot use the AHCI protocol, it is programmed within its firmware to use the NVMe protocol, nothing can change that.

Have you installed the Samsung NVMe driver? What OS are you using?

Are you having a problem with your 950 Pro as a boot/OS drive?


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Posted By: mptock
Date Posted: 22 Nov 2015 at 3:06am
I have not installed any driver from Samsung. I am using windows 10. No problems booting or use of this PCIe drive.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 23 Nov 2015 at 2:41am
Originally posted by ziko ziko wrote:

Will ALL X99 boards Support this method?
I own the X99 Extreme4/3.1 with 1.2 BIOS.
Officialy, only the Extreme 4, without USB 3.1 support the NVME SSD.
Its my first Asrock board and i am very disappointed with it.
Today it boot normaly, tomorrow freeze at Asrock logo.
After reset CMOS it boots again.
How long, its a luck of the draw.
Boot time is horrible, CSM disbled and Win 10 x64 fast boot enabled.
My first and last Asrock product, for shure.
Will now try to go along with this board.
My boot drive is a OCZ Revodrive 3 x2 PCIe.
No issue, only the boot problem and overclocking issue from board.
 
Can anyone answer my question about the M2 boot drive on my Extreme 4/3.1?
 


Welcome to the world of X99 boards. Pinch

ALL X99 boards are slow to POST, which is the process that happens before the actual OS loading/boot occurs. Even with CSM Disabled and Fast Boot Enabled.

If you check other forums with threads about other X99 boards, you will find complaints about the "boot time". The startup time of any PC includes BOTH the POST time, followed by the actual OS boot time. It is the POST time on X99 boards that is slower than other chipset boards.

When you hear the single POST Ok beep from the board, that is when the OS boot process begins.

There is a secret about "Fast Boot", it is actually Fast POST. Using Fast Boot causes the POST process to be shorter (or faster), which gives the affect of the overall PC startup process to be faster. Still, X99 boards are slow to POST, my X99 board is also slow to start.

Next, you use an OCZ Revo drive, have you used it with any other board?

Revo drives boot slow because they must load their special driver, which you must have installed, right? Revo drives are one of the non-standard types of PCIe drives, and are not related to the new PCIe SSDs, except for the use of the PCIe interface. They are really SATA SSDs that use the PCIe interface.

Your X99 Extreme4/3.1 board supports using the new PCIe SSDs. I use a Samsung SM951 on my X99 Extreme6/3.1 as the OS drive with Windows 10.

You are wondering about this because you can't find any information in the specifications or UEFI/BIOS versions about adding NVMe support. My X99 board also does not have that information.

The reason why we can't find this information is this: Our X99 boards are the new 3.1 models, that were released after the original ASRock X99 boards. Our X99 boards have ALL of the UEFI/BIOS updates in their FIRST UEFI version that the older X99 boards have had since their release.

Unfortunately, there is no information in our board's specifications or UEFI versions that tell us about this. But I assure you your X99 board will support a PCIe NVMe SSD, and you can use the methods in this thread to install and use one as your boot/OS drive.

I'll be happy to help you if you have any issues with a PCIe NVMe SSD. Thumbs Up


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Posted By: SonOfMore
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2015 at 6:18am
I have a legitimate disc copy of Windows 7 64 bit Pro OEM edition. I used the Windows 7 patcher program provided by ASRock to create an USB stick install of Windows 7. Whenever I've tried to install via that stick, the following error message pops up once the install starts:  "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing". I don't have a CD/DVD drive connected to the computer, so I'm confused as to why this message is appearing.

I've tried switching USB ports as recommended by Microsoft's support community, but that didn't resolve the issue. I've been using the USB 2.0 to insert the thumb drive. Is there any way to install and activate Windows 7 by overcoming this issue? I've double-checked all the settings in this thread recommended above, following it step by step without fail.

I've also downloaded a copy of Windows 10 Pro directly from Microsoft and was able to install it without any issue, but because my Windows 7 key was never able to be activated on this machine, I don't have a "pure" upgrade to Windows 10, and now it is asking for a Windows 10 key which I don't have.

Any ideas?

Thank you!


Posted By: wardog
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2015 at 10:19am
There is no legitimate "copy' of a Windows install disc.

I trust that's not what you meant there.
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Posted By: SonOfMore
Date Posted: 24 Nov 2015 at 10:22am
It means that it is a factory OEM disc, not some random file I downloaded from the internet. I have no reason to believe that my source file is what is causing this problem.


Posted By: SparkFast
Date Posted: 02 Dec 2015 at 11:23am
Will either of these two methods work for the ASRock Extreme9? I have been desperately trying to install windows 10 onto my shiny new Intel 750 Series SSD, but at the first re-boot during the install, the PC boots to the UEFI USB Windows Installation Media and loads up the initial "do you want to install windows" screen all over again.




Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 07 Dec 2015 at 8:32am
What PCIe SSD were you trying to install Windows 7 on?

If it is an NVMe SSD, such as the 950 Pro, Intel 750 or its cousins, or the NVMe version of the SM951, the problem is Win 7 does not have a native NVMe driver.

The error message about "CD/DVD drive..." is a Windows 7 generic error message, most likely related to the missing NVMe driver.

That you were able to install Windows 10 fine hints that you have an NVMe SSD, but we don't really know. Win 8.1 and 10 have a built in generic NVMe driver.

The (IMO poorly done) free upgrade to Win 10 from Win 7, etc, must be done from an existing Win 7, etc, installation. Installing any copy of Win 10 from scratch will request a key, since it was not the free upgrade installation. Only a Win 10 key will work in that case.

Depending upon the PCIe SSD you have, you may be able to find the NVMe driver you can install during the Win 7 installation. That driver has been extracted from the NVMe driver installation program that is normally run in Windows, that is provided by the SSD manufacture.

I can't recall if Win 7 has a hotfix update for NVMe SSDs, since I don't use Win 7. It might exist but I forget the details.

If we knew which PCIe SSD you have, we could possibly help getting Win 7 to install on it.


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Posted By: Masterofnet
Date Posted: 07 Dec 2015 at 6:39pm
Is the Fatal1ty X99M Killer  motherboard compatible with NVMe SSDs as boot disks?  A 750 pro to be exact.
Does the Fatal1ty X99M Killer /3.1 have a better compatibility or is it just the 3.1 USB ports?
 
BTW  -  If you upgrade windows 7 to windows 10 you can clean install windows 10.  However you must upgrade your windows 7 to 10 first.
 
Then you can clean install windows 10.  When it asks for the product key just click ( skip this )
windows 10 will install and activate. 

Both of my computers are clean installs of windows 10 both first upgraded from 7.
 
 


Posted By: SonOfMore
Date Posted: 08 Dec 2015 at 6:17pm
Thank you for the reply parsec. After all the hassle of trying to install Windows 7 on my Samsung 950 drive, I just ended up going on ebay and buying Windows 8, installed it without a hitch, activated and then upgrade to Windows 10. It is resolved now! Thank you!


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 08 Dec 2015 at 11:35pm
Windows 7 won't cooperate even with PCIe AHCI SSDs, depending upon how it is done. The EFI bootloader file is in the wrong folder. Yes that seems crazy but when I found that information and did the fix, it worked Ok. It's should be easy be it isn't, I've had success and failures for some reason.

Regardless, glad you got it working! Thumbs Up


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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 08 Dec 2015 at 11:41pm
Originally posted by SparkFast SparkFast wrote:

Will either of these two methods work for the ASRock Extreme9? I have been desperately trying to install windows 10 onto my shiny new Intel 750 Series SSD, but at the first re-boot during the install, the PC boots to the UEFI USB Windows Installation Media and loads up the initial "do you want to install windows" screen all over again.




Yes either of the methods should work with an Intel 750 and Windows 10. I know of 750 owners that use them as OS drives. I just got a 750, but it is in my Z170 board PC now that uses a 950 Pro. I'll likely do a Win 10 installation on it anyway.

Are you talking about a Z97 Extreme9? If so, you'll need at least UEFI/BIOS version 1.60, and probably best to use 1.90.


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Posted By: edesi56
Date Posted: 09 Dec 2015 at 5:14am
Parsec, your help and advice would be appreciated - I'm stumped - I've submitted a request to Tech Support through UEFI but have had no response from them.
I have a Z170 OC Formula on which I cannot get Windows 10 to install on a RAID0 array using Samsung Pro 950 512GB M.2 NVME drives.  Drives are in M2_1 and M2_2.  UEFI BIOS will recognize a single 950 Pro when both are installed, and seems willing to install Windows on it, but once I build both drives into a RAID0 array I hit a dead end.  I am able to build the array in the Intel Raid utility built into the UEFI: it can recognize both drives, it tells me the array is present and lists it as bootable, but once I go to the boot section of the UEFI I am not offered anything as a boot drive other than my DVD-ROM device.  As an aside, I had to wait several weeks to get my hands on the 950 Pro M.2 drives, so I had originally built the system on a pair of RAID 0 SanDisk 480GB SSDs plugged into Sata 3_4 and Sata 3_5.  I had no trouble building this array in the Intel UEFI and having it appear normally as a RAID_0 boot option in the boot screen.
Back to the original troubleshooting process I have been through:  I followed your instructions and created the RAID array, then booted W10 install from UEFI_USB, tried to load the F4Floppy drivers for Intel RAID and after a long delay am told I have no device on which to install the OS.  Just for giggles, I tried the process using a regular (non UEFI) USB boot, and got a little further, in which the F4 drivers load faster but then I am told i have no BOOTABLE device on which to load the OS.
So, I'm stumped.  Do you have any suggestions, or could this be an issue in which the Intel Raid firmware is not yet supporting NVME RAID?  I did find a thread in which a user of a Z170 extreme-7 seemed to be having the same issue until he installed BIOS 2.1, which also updated his Intel Management Engine Firmware.  I am currently on the latest release BIOS for Z170 OC FOrmula (1.90) but this BIOS did not update the IME Firmware to the same version (.80) that was referred to in the forum post i am referring to (I'm still on .66).  
Thanks and sorry if I am rambling in trying to provide as much background as possible.  You seem to have a fairly deep understanding of this cutting edge tech - any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 09 Dec 2015 at 5:26am
this video may help..

http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/samsung_950_pro_256gb_raid_review,10.html


Posted By: edesi56
Date Posted: 10 Dec 2015 at 1:48am
DooRules - Thanks for the quick response.   Have viewed video, which is great, and think I am doing everything right, most essentially using the very latest RAID floppy drivers from AsRock site.  Am currently on a business trip with only a laptop, will have another go at desktop as soon as I get home for the weekend and post results.  Have also received response from AsRock Tech Support advising essentially the same steps... Again, Thanks for the Help!


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 10 Dec 2015 at 7:52am
Happy to help, hopefully you have it all sorted now.  Best of luck. Thumbs Up


Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 10 Dec 2015 at 11:22pm
I'm trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a pair of Samsung 950 Pro drives in RAID 1. For the life of me, I cannot get past the "Missing Drivers" error. I have the latest Intel NVMe driver, though that doesn't do much good if I cant install the OS. The Windows installation picks up an Intel Rapid Storage RAID driver, from the ASRock CD, but fails to install it. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious here, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate it. 

This is all taking place on an ASRock Z170 Extreme7+, with an i7 6700K. Thanks!


Posted By: edesi56
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2015 at 12:40am
Suggest you follow the link DooRules sent me on June 5th:
http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/samsung_950_pro_256gb_raid_review,10.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/samsung_950_pro_256gb_raid_review,10.html
 
NVMe installation using RAID is definitely convoluted and requires very specific steps, I found that video really helpful in understanding them.  I have not had a chance to try them myself as I'm away from my home office but hope to succeed myself this weekend.
Good Luck!
 


Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2015 at 12:49am
I actually did follow that video. Issue is, they're installing Windows 10 and I'm installing Windows 7. There's an additional issue presenting that I can't get past, namely the "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing" error. This prevents me from getting to the step where they install the RAID controller driver and I can't figure out how to get past it. I'm pretty sure I have the drivers I need, and they're on the USB I'm installing Windows from, but I can't get it to recognize them (or even see that they're there). 


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2015 at 1:36am
There is a hotfix from Microsoft that allows W7 to have native NVMe drivers. Not sure if this would allow the OS install to see the drives and then make a bootable volume. Can't hurt to try me thinks...

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2990941


Posted By: Masterofnet
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2015 at 5:37pm
I was looking over the Bios updates for the x99 boards.  They were updated to support NVMe.
 
If you are installing Windows 10  on a NVMe ssd do you still need to use one of the methods you described on the first page or can you install with the default UEFI?  On some boards you do not need to configure the UEFI.  Is that the case with the x99 boards?
 
As far as people attempting to install windows 7 on a NVMe ssd.  You could install window 7 on a standard HD or SSD  updated it to 10, make sure windows 10 has been activated on the computer and then clean install windows 10 on the NVMe ssd.  When it asks you to enter the product ID click (skip this).  If the windows 10 upgrade has been activated on the computer it will activate when the installation is completed.   
 
 


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 11 Dec 2015 at 5:51pm
Originally posted by thecrimsonchin8 thecrimsonchin8 wrote:

I'm trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a pair of Samsung 950 Pro drives in RAID 1. For the life of me, I cannot get past the "Missing Drivers" error. I have the latest Intel NVMe driver, though that doesn't do much good if I cant install the OS. The Windows installation picks up an Intel Rapid Storage RAID driver, from the ASRock CD, but fails to install it. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious here, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate it. 

This is all taking place on an ASRock Z170 Extreme7+, with an i7 6700K. Thanks!

Just noticed you said you are using the IRST driver from the Asrock CD, I think you need to use 14.6 or newer, 

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25165/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-RAID-Driver


Posted By: edesi56
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2015 at 10:07pm
I just wanted to report back that I was able to follow instructions from DooRules's suggested video and a response from AsRock tech Support which allowed me to install Windows 10 on a pair of RAID 0 Samsung 950 Pro NVME M.2 drives.  Everything went smooth and performance is great.
 
Now, one NEW issue -
It appears that when you pass Samsung drives through the Intel RAID driver, they loose their identity - Samsung Magician software no longer recognizes them as Samsung drives, and the Samsung Windows 10 NVMe driver which is supposed to provide much better performance than the native Windows 10 driver) will not install.  Samsung has nothing more than version 1.0 of the NVMe driver on their website and no technical notes regarding Magician with RAID.  Does anybody have any ideas on this?


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 15 Dec 2015 at 10:39pm
I had to break array, switch back to achi mode and install samsung nvme drivers. I did not have an OS on the array though. Smile

As long as you are in raid i don't think it will matter though, the irst drivers are running the show for you now.

I remember magician showing a really weird name for them, it was like something all jumbled up, lol. 

There is a newer Samsung NVMe driver though...

http://www.win-raid.com/t29f25-Recommended-AHCI-RAID-and-NVMe-Drivers.html

I used this driver and the 1.0 on Samsung site. Not much difference performance wise from one to the other although i did end staying with the 1.4.7.6 version and I am currently using it on both my 950's right now.






Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 2:54am
Originally posted by DooRules DooRules wrote:

Originally posted by thecrimsonchin8 thecrimsonchin8 wrote:

I'm trying to install Windows 7 Pro onto a pair of Samsung 950 Pro drives in RAID 1. For the life of me, I cannot get past the "Missing Drivers" error. I have the latest Intel NVMe driver, though that doesn't do much good if I cant install the OS. The Windows installation picks up an Intel Rapid Storage RAID driver, from the ASRock CD, but fails to install it. I'm sure I'm missing something obvious here, but if anyone has any suggestions I'd really appreciate it. 

This is all taking place on an ASRock Z170 Extreme7+, with an i7 6700K. Thanks!

Just noticed you said you are using the IRST driver from the Asrock CD, I think you need to use 14.6 or newer, 

https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25165/Intel-Rapid-Storage-Technology-Intel-RST-RAID-Driver

That driver seems to require that Windows already be installed. I can't get through the Windows installation because it claims I'm missing a CD/DVD drive driver. 


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 3:10am
I meant that you might need the f6 variant of that driver to load at the windows screen where you pick the drive to install windows on.

Have the f6 irst driver on a usb stick,  and when at window where you would normally pick what drive to install windows on use the load driver tab and install the f6 driver


Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 5:03am
Originally posted by DooRules DooRules wrote:

I meant that you might need the f6 variant of that driver to load at the windows screen where you pick the drive to install windows on.

Have the f6 irst driver on a usb stick,  and when at window where you would normally pick what drive to install windows on use the load driver tab and install the f6 driver

I'm following you, and I do have that variant of the driver. Problem is that I can't GET to that screen. I'm immediately presented with the "A required CD/DVD driver is missing" error when initializing the Windows installer. I can browse to the driver, and tell it to install, but nothing happens. 


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 5:15am
So you get to the point where you would pick an install drive?

You go to load driver and open usb stick with f6 driver?

At this point you cannot install f6 driver?  Is this where the sticking point is?


Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 5:31am
I get stuck prior to that. I get to the Windows installer, select the language to use, click "Next", then click "Install Now". It processes for a bit, then I get a "Load Driver" window with the following message: "A required CD/DVD drive device driver is missing. If you have a driver floppy disk, CD, DVD, or USB flash drive, please insert it now". 

I've seen this before, and usually it means the installation media (most likely when it's a USB) is in a USB 3.0 port, which Windows doesn't natively have drivers for. Unfortunately, that's not the case here as my installation media is plugged directly into one of the USB 2.0 ports on the motherboard. 






Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 5:34am
If trying a uefi install is the usb stick formatted to fat32?


Posted By: thecrimsonchin8
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 8:52pm
Yes, it is. Created using Rufus, the most recent version. The Windows version I'm trying to install is 7 Pro, but it's also an ISO for a volume copy of Windows (I'm doing this setup for work). Would that have any impact on the process?


Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 8:58pm
I don't know if that would make a difference or not. I would tend to think the only difference would come when going to activate it, not so much for install.   I also used rufus to create my install media.

Maybe some more info here...

https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/comments/3rvoop/samsung_950_pro_nvme_ssd_windows_7_64/


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 16 Dec 2015 at 11:55pm
Originally posted by thecrimsonchin8 thecrimsonchin8 wrote:

Yes, it is. Created using Rufus, the most recent version. The Windows version I'm trying to install is 7 Pro, but it's also an ISO for a volume copy of Windows (I'm doing this setup for work). Would that have any impact on the process?


All versions of Windows 7 do NOT have a built in NVMe driver. That of course is your problem.

The error message from the Win 7 installation program is asking for the NVMe driver, but the message is generic and includes the disk request. The NVMe driver should be on a USB flash drive, and is installed using the Custom Installation option.

The problem is the Samsung NVMe driver is contained within its own installation program, and is not normally available as an "F6" type driver. Intel's NVMe driver can be easily found in the F6 style, but cannot be used with the Samsung 950 Pro AFAIK.

I think a few people have extracted the Samsung NVMe driver files into an F6 style package. Try searching on "Samsung F6 NVMe driver", you may be able to find a copy. I don't have time to find it now, sorry... Embarrassed


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Posted By: Endlesspath
Date Posted: 24 Dec 2015 at 9:25am
Check this forum for links to  Samsung F6 NVMe driver for Windows 7 install:

https://www.reddit.com/r/techsupport/comments/3rvoop/samsung_950_pro_nvme_ssd_windows_7_64/


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 24 Dec 2015 at 2:52pm
Intel's NVMe driver installation package for their 750 SSD and related Intel NVMe SSDs contains an F6 type driver set in a Windows folder.

This package also contains a Windows installer program that uses the same NMVe driver files.

Intel provides support for Windows 7 with their NVMe driver package, while Samsung so far has not.


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Posted By: JC-Logger
Date Posted: 12 Jan 2016 at 1:25am
For some strange reason, I chose to build a high end number cruncher with a PCIe M.2 SSD as the one and only storage device.  I found the instructions on how to set it up in this forum to be a lifesaver.  I would still be flailing away had I not read this.  Thanks to Parsec and others for taking the time to document the O/S install. 

The build is up and running.  i7-4790K, 512 Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD, Asrock Z97 Extreme6, EVGA NEC650G PSU, NVidia R8 390, W10...  All good and running like a well oiled machine.  Heck, I might do this again!!!

Thanks.


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Posted By: peroni
Date Posted: 16 Jan 2016 at 12:37am
My scenario was a bit different, hopefully this helps somebody
I had a fully working and customized installation of W10 on a SATA 850 EVO and then decided to add the 950PRO and make it the OS drive.
In no way I was going to reinstall windows.

I plugged the disk and from windows I made a 1:1 copy from the EVO using Samsung own migration tool.
Then disconnected the 850EVO and only left the 950PRO.
Low and behold, the only way to get it to boot was to set CSM to legacy. Once I did that and re-entered UEFI the drive was listed under the boot options.

Note that setting CSM to disabled would prevent the iGPU from displaying anything until windows is booted. Even entering UEFI is not possible anymore. 
So at least on this board, CMS can never be disabled.

Update: The reason why CSM had to be set to legacy was that for some reason my W10 installation was set to legacy bios mode instead of UEFI. 
I followed a https://youtu.be/g1eXD30Fox4" rel="nofollow - guide  to convert from legacy to UEFI and now the instructions on the first post match my experience.
Thanks!




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Z170 PRO4
i5 6600
2x8GB Corsair DDR3000
SSD 950 Pro (OS) 850 Evo (data)
GTX 960 4GB
2x LCD


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2016 at 10:32am
Originally posted by JC-Logger JC-Logger wrote:

For some strange reason, I chose to build a high end number cruncher with a PCIe M.2 SSD as the one and only storage device.  I found the instructions on how to set it up in this forum to be a lifesaver.  I would still be flailing away had I not read this.  Thanks to Parsec and others for taking the time to document the O/S install. 

The build is up and running.  i7-4790K, 512 Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD, Asrock Z97 Extreme6, EVGA NEC650G PSU, NVidia R8 390, W10...  All good and running like a well oiled machine.  Heck, I might do this again!!!

Thanks.


Why would it be strange to use a PCIe SSD in your number cruncher? Makes perfect sense to me.

Glad the guide was helpful, thanks for the feedback!


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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2016 at 11:46pm
I decided to try installing Windows 10 on a RAID 0 volume of Samsung 950 Pro PCIe NVMe SSDs. A few ASRock board users seem to be having difficulty with that, so I had to see for myself.



This is on my ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ board, two 256GB Samsung 950 Pros. I had no trouble with the installation itself, and I did not do anything basically different than I described in my procedure at the beginning of this thread. So it is certainly possible to install Windows 10 on a RAID 0 volume of 950 Pros. I'm using that PC now to write this post.

I'm writing up a step by step guide on how to do this, which I will add to this thread soon.


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Posted By: DooRules
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 12:37am
So the IRST CP says 4000 mb/s pcie link speed. Funny that read scaling was so poor at this point with my two in RO. 
Still very early in this game so more to come for sure I think.

As you found parsec I found the install procedure pretty much straight forward. Older boards may present other issues, not sure.

Lets see some numbers Smile


On another matter I see MSI has released beta bios's with Skylake fix from Intel, I would assume the good folks at Asrock won't be far behind.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2016 at 2:45pm
Numbers you say, what was I thinking... let's see what I've got here:



I'm not sure if you had the Sammy NVMe driver installed when you did your RAID 0 testing, but I had a surprise (not really) after I installed Win 10 on this volume. All I did was load the IRST 14.8 F6 driver during the installation, which made the RAID 0 array visible to Windows.

After Win 10 booted and I was installing basic drivers, I ran the Samsung NVMe 1.1 driver installer. "No Samsung NVMe SSDs connected", or close to that message. The usual Samsung non-support of RAID.

So what driver am I using? Only IRST. I have no other entries in Device Manager, such as under Storage Controllers, for the Samsung NVMe driver. I don't see anything that is an entry for the MSoft NVMe driver. Under Disk drives there is the Intel RAID 0 Volume, and nothing else for the 950s.

Since the 950s are in a RAID 0 array, the only places in the UEFI I can see this drive are in the IRST entry in the Advanced screen, and the entry in the Boot screen and Boot Manager. Nothing is shown in System Browser once the 950s are in a RAID array.

I tried the Beta UEFI 2.31 which adds an "NVMe Configuration Item" for the 950 Pro. That UEFI will list the 950(s) as an entry in the Advanced screen, but once they are in a RAID array, that listing is gone.

Another side effect is I don't get a temperature listing for the 950's in HWiNFO once in a RAID array.

Just as you noticed, the Read scaling is poor compared to the Write scaling. Again, the RAID 0 random IOPs are reduced in RAID 0 compared to a single 950 Pro. In use it boots from the POST beep in the usual 2 - 3 seconds, seems like a limit in Windows. The IRST 14.8 Release Notes include listing a bug with poor performance when RST PCIe Storage Remapping is Enabled, as fixed in 14.8. IMO, no, the performance issue has not been fixed.

Anvil results are interesting:









The single 950 Pro high queue depth results are better than two in RAID 0. That was not the case with SATA SSDs. There's an obvious reason IMO why this is true, but I don't see it yet. Confused




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Posted By: Associated
Date Posted: 22 Jan 2016 at 10:12pm
Any ideas if Samsung SM951-NVMe would work on X99X Killer 3.1? And how come there are no BIOS updates for this MOBO Confused


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 24 Jan 2016 at 2:06pm
The 3.1 series of ASRock mother boards have all of the UEFI/BIOS updates that the original/non-3.1 version of the same board has.

You can tell by the date of the initial release UEFI of the 3.1 version of the board, which is newer than the majority if not all of the UEFI versions of the non-3.1 version board.

Your board has a Beta UEFI/BIOS release.

I have an X99 Extreme6/3.1 board, which also has but one UEFI version available, plus two Beta. I use an Intel 750 NVMe SSD as the OS drive with that board.

I'm sure an NVMe SM951 would work with your board, as an OS drive too. You'll need to learn how to install Windows in UEFI booting mode, and you must use Windows 8.1 or 10, since those versions only have a native MSoft NVMe driver. I don't think the 950 Pro's NVMe driver will work with the NVMe SM951, unless something has changed in the new version from Samsung.


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Posted By: hiluke
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 6:08am
Thanks for this guide.
I recently built a Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming itx/ac system with a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512GB boot drive.
I didn't realise with the default UEFI settings that Windows 10 wouldn't give me the option of MBR or GPT, so my initial install of Windows 10 was MBR.
From reading your post, it made it quite straightforward to delete the existing partitions, and then re-partition and re-install Windows 10 (just using the Windows installer) as GPT with UEFI.
Ultra Fast Boot is awesome!

Couple of points which I couldn't find confirmation on prior to switching over to EFI boot:
- I just used the Microsoft tool to create a bootable Windows 10 installer USB, and I used this same USB for both legacy and EFI installs. No need to use Rufus or any other programs to create a specialised UEFI USB like I saw on a lot of other sites.
- I have a few extra HDD's as storage drives. These do not need to be partitioned as GPT for EFI and Ultra Fast Boot to work. I wasn't sure if the MBR formatted drives would register, but they were fine.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 01 Mar 2016 at 10:06am
Originally posted by hiluke hiluke wrote:

Thanks for this guide.
I recently built a Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming itx/ac system with a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe 512GB boot drive.
I didn't realise with the default UEFI settings that Windows 10 wouldn't give me the option of MBR or GPT, so my initial install of Windows 10 was MBR.
From reading your post, it made it quite straightforward to delete the existing partitions, and then re-partition and re-install Windows 10 (just using the Windows installer) as GPT with UEFI.
Ultra Fast Boot is awesome!

Couple of points which I couldn't find confirmation on prior to switching over to EFI boot:
- I just used the Microsoft tool to create a bootable Windows 10 installer USB, and I used this same USB for both legacy and EFI installs. No need to use Rufus or any other programs to create a specialised UEFI USB like I saw on a lot of other sites.
- I have a few extra HDD's as storage drives. These do not need to be partitioned as GPT for EFI and Ultra Fast Boot to work. I wasn't sure if the MBR formatted drives would register, but they were fine.


I'm glad that helped you, thanks for saying so!!

Installing Windows to use the EFI bootloader is really not difficult at all, it is just a few configuration settings before the Windows installation is started. Windows 7 needs a fix in order to use the EFI bootloader, just the location of a file must be corrected. Beyond Win 7 no fix is needed.

I started doing this with SATA SSDs almost four years ago now. There is no downside to doing this, as SATA drives will boot in Legacy (MBR) or EFI (GPT) mode depending upon the CSM configuration. The Windows installer puts BOTH MBR and GPT partitions on the OS drive when the installation is configured to use the EFI bootloader. PCIe SSDs won't boot in Legacy mode, NVMe SSDs in particular. The AHCI SM951 might boot in Legacy mode, I never tested that when I had the chance. Pinch

The default UEFI settings will not allow an EFI booting installation to occur, unless you find an entry in the boot order for your installation media that is: "UEFI: <device name>". Normally you would see entries of, "AHCI: <device name>" or "RAID: <device name>", if you are using RAID mode.

The irony of having UEFI firmware (a standard BIOS is also firmware) as we have for years now is the only feature being used by default that is provided by UEFI firmware is the GUI point and click interface for the firmware options. Otherwise the UEFI firmware is run in emulated BIOS firmware mode by the Compatibility Support Module, or CSM.

That is done for compatibility purposes with older hardware, particularly video cards. Which means by default our POST procedures and UEFI firmware runs in Legacy/BIOS mode, with 16bit addressing, only 1MB of memory available, and all the limitations of BIOS firmware designed in 1998, for the hardware of that time. That is why I advocate disabling CSM completely, but that only works with EFI booting OS installations and video sources that are GOP compatible. (All Intel integrated graphics are GOP compatible since Sandy Bridge, with the appropriate VBIOS, that ASRock has provided at least since their Z77 mother boards.)

Regarding your points:

You are right about NOT needing any special tool to create the USB flash drive installation media for EFI booting. The use of Rufus, etc, while just fine is simply a convenience. Some people format their USB flash drives as NTFS for other purposes, but for creating a Windows installation media, the USB flash drive must be formatted as FAT32. Rufus and other tools prepares the USB flash drive by cleaning it and formatting it as FAT32. That is the only "magic" that Rufus and other tools perform on the USB flash drive. Again, these tools are great by not at all required.

I've created Windows installation USB flash drives by simply mounting an ISO image (selecting all the files and then left click and choose Mount), and then Send To the USB flash drive. You can do that with a Windows installation optical disk too, using the same procedure.

I'll ask you (as a quiz Wink ), what is it that causes an MBR/Legacy or GPT/EFI installation to happen when using the same installation media for both types of installations?

You are right that only the OS drive must have a GPT partition for EFI booting and using the Ultra Fast boot setting of Fast Boot. I don't think I said the other drives did in my guide, if so that is wrong. All the other drives in a PC besides the drive we are booting from are just along for the ride, and contribute nothing to the boot process. That's the key here, only the OS drive is involved in actual boot process, which is obvious really.


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Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2016 at 4:50am
Thanks for this guide.

My trouble started when I tried to add some data drives in a RAID array to what I thought was a successful windows installation. Turns out I had installed in legacy mode (before I found this guide).

Starting over and following the instructions, I had the same trouble as thecrimsonchin with the missing CD/DVD driver. This was not my experience the first time around. That time, I got past "install now" and had to use the "load driver' button to load the NVSe driver. This time I don't get that far as I get "...required CD/DVD driver is missing".

He solved his problem by buying a new OS, I don't want to do that just yet.  Thanks in advancec for any help anyone can provide.

Eric




Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2016 at 9:21am
Point of clarification: I am installing from DVD not USB. When the "missing driver" thing comes up, it does not seem in terested in actually loading one.  I can't get it to look for the driver (the one that worked for the legacy install) on the CD. So I copied it to a USB drive but it made no difference.

Again, thanks for the efforts of everyone here.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 19 Mar 2016 at 11:21am
Originally posted by Eric Eric wrote:

Thanks for this guide.

My trouble started when I tried to add some data drives in a RAID array to what I thought was a successful windows installation. Turns out I had installed in legacy mode (before I found this guide).

Starting over and following the instructions, I had the same trouble as thecrimsonchin with the missing CD/DVD driver. This was not my experience the first time around. That time, I got past "install now" and had to use the "load driver' button to load the NVSe driver. This time I don't get that far as I get "...required CD/DVD driver is missing".

He solved his problem by buying a new OS, I don't want to do that just yet.  Thanks in advancec for any help anyone can provide.

Eric




What OS are you using? Would that be Windows 7? It sounds like you are, but you did not specify.

If you are using Windows 7, there are two issues with installing Win 7 in UEFI (non-legacy) mode.

I'll wait for confirmation of that to explain further. It is possible to use Win 7 now with NVMe SSDs in UEFI mode, but it is not a simple task.

A list of your basic hardware, mother board, UEFI version, the drives you are using, and your OS version will make both of our lives easier. Wink

What PCIe SSDs are you using? Are they the ones in the RAID array?

NVMe SSDs used as data drives can be used with legacy Windows installations. UEFI mode is required for NVMe SSDs as the OS/boot drive, or RAID arrays of NVMe SSDs.


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Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2016 at 12:20am
Thanks for responding, and sorry to have posted without giving all the relevant information.

I have a z170 extreme7+ and I am attempting to install Windows7 on a Samsung 950 in M2_1.  I was actually able to do that, incorrectly I think. I located an F6-able NVMe driver at http://www.win-raid.com/t29f25-Recommended-AHCI-RAID-and-NVMe-Drivers.html (sorry I can't seem to create a proper hyperlink here) and provided it at the "where are we installing" step which made the 950 visible. Windows installed and updated.

Then I decided to add a pair of HDDs from my old system. They had been in a RAID 0 array there, so I wanted to see if I could reproduce the array in the new build so I wouldn't have to restore data from backup. I went into UEFI and switched the SATA contoller over to raid, grumbling to myself that I hadn't done that before installing windows. At that point the 950 drive vanished and would not even show up in the system browser in UEFI.

After considerable swearing I was able to get the drive back but nothing I do seems to make the machine able to get back into windows. That's when I came here and realized I had installed windows in legacy mode and shouldn't have done it that way. So no great loss in the previous installation.

So I went with method #2 in your original post, but it froze where windows has the colorful dots that coalesce into a window. So I re-enabled CSM and set the video to legacy; not sure why I should have needed to do that as skylake is definitely post sandy bridge.

Verifying that I had a "UEFI" prefix for my DVD drive, I put the windows disk in and booted. It came up fine. Click "Next". That should have taken me to the "where will we be installing" screen where I would click "load driver" to load the NVMe driver to make the 950 show up like last time. But like thecrimsonchin, I don't get that far. I get the missing CD/DVD driver message.

When that comes up, I click "browse". A "my computer" style window comes up and there are three drives listed -- C:system reserved, D:something I can't remember, and X:Boot. Selecting any of these results in "no driver found". I can browse X, that appears to be the Win7 image in a RAM drive. D: gives me "you must format this drive", and C: appears empty.

Figuring it's not actually a DVD driver that it's looking for, I have the disk in the drive onto which I burned the NVSe driver that worked before, but the installer shows no sign of wanting to go look for it there. Copying the driver to a USB drive doesn't work either, the USB stick lights up but there's no other evidence that anything knows it's there.

So I am stuck. Thanks again for any help you can provide.

Eric


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2016 at 2:10am
Thanks for the information. I figured you were trying to use Windows 7.

Win 7, or really the location of an essential file for a UEFI booting installation, is in the wrong place among all the files used for an installation.

The Win 7 installation program cannot find the EFI bootloader file/program. It expects it to be in a certain folder, but it isn't. That program must be used instead of the legacy bootloader. As you saw, the Win 7 installer cannot find this file, not that the error message being displayed is informative. That is the problem you are having.

The good news it is possible to fix the bug in the location of the EFI bootloader file. The not so good news is it takes some work to fix the location of this file in your installation media.

Below is a link to a guide that describes how to fix the Win 7 installation file layout. This guide works, I've used it myself in the past. It will be far more useful than trying to explain this to you myself:

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/15458-uefi-bootable-usb-flash-drive-create-windows.html" rel="nofollow - http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/15458-uefi-bootable-usb-flash-drive-create-windows.html

Step 11 is the part that describes the fix for the location of the EFI bootloader file. You will need to study the ENTIRE guide since you will be creating the Win 7 installation on a USB flash drive. You cannot fix the Win 7 installation disk, since you cannot write or modify that disk.

This guide covers multiple ways to create the USB flash drive. That means you don't need to do everything explained in the guide. I strongly suggest you read through this guide and know what you will be doing before you start. If you just try to do a "cookbook" type of procedure, following instructions without reading things first, you will likely make mistakes.

There is no other way I am aware of to fix the Win 7 installation media for a UEFI booting installation.

I'll be happy to help you with this if you have questions, etc. One tip you need to know that is not in the guide is don't use a USB flash drive larger than 16GB. A USB flash drive of 8GB or 16GB is the ideal size. The Windows installation program can't deal with a larger flash drive.

Another thing I noticed, about changing to RAID mode. You cannot just change to RAID mode with a Windows installation that was NOT done in RAID mode. If you are installing Win 7 fresh again, then set the SATA mode to RAID before you do the Win 7 installation.

I'm not sure where you plan on doing the Win 7 installation, on your SM951 or the BX200.


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Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2016 at 4:12am
Thanks so much for your help! I could never have found that guide on my own. I will read it, follow it, try not to screw up, and then come back here to let you know how it went. The install will be to the Samsung 950 pro; I dont know what a BX200 is Smile


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 20 Mar 2016 at 11:49am
Great, thanks!

Don't forget to install the Samsung NVMe driver, which is essential even after fixing the Win 7 installation problem. Win 7 does not have an NVMe driver built in.

I see that MSoft now has a "hotfix" for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 that adds an NVMe driver to the installation files. The process to do this looks more complex than fixing the Win 7 EFI bootloader file location. If we can load the NVMe driver during the installation, why not?


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Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2016 at 5:41am
Okay, I read the guide thoroughly as you suggested, and proceeded, using the rufus method -- on about page 25 of the thread someone asked if rufus took care of the "move the file up a directory" step (step 11) for you, and he was assured it did.

The problem I am having is that my USB won't boot. I loaded UEFI defaults, just in case, and went in and changed two things: SATA mode to RAID, and CSR to disabled. When I do that the only bootable device listed is "UEFI: USB generic". So I exit UEFI and let it boot, but after about three mississippis it just goes right back into UEFI.

I can also use F11 to go to the boot menu, and again my only option is "UEFI: USB generic", but that doesn't make any difference.

Googling things like "UEFI USB won't boot" and similar gives lots of results where people were having trouble between UEFI and legacy booting, but so far I haven't seen anything where someone was experiencing what I am.

You mentioned not to go larger than 16Gb; I am using a 16Gb because that's what I found, easily, anyway. Think it'd be worth trying again with a 4Gb drive?


Posted By: Eric
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2016 at 9:49am
I am a dope. Ignore previous post, as I am a dope. Wait, I said that already.

Turns out, Rufus defaults to MBR for the "partition sccheme and target system type" . I did have the presense of mind to change that to GPT, but then when you select an ISO file it puts it back to MBR. So it wasn't bootable.

Re-did rufus with everything set correctly and I am now installing as I type this.

Thanks, parsec, for this guide and your help with it, without which I would have been utterly unable to properly install my OS.

Eric


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 22 Mar 2016 at 1:14pm
Great, thanks, I hope your Win 7 UEFI booting installation works for you! Not to many of those in use. Cool

I've heard about the Rufus situation with MBR and GPT partitioning, which does not make sense to me. I don't use Rufus, and the manual method of creating the USB flash drive does not do anything to cause GPT partitioning of the OS drive. It should be just selecting the "UEFI: <flash drive name>" entry in the boot order. I must be missing something somewhere otherwise... Confused

I let the Windows installation program format my drives, and it always does it correctly.

I must admit I forgot about the problem with Win 7 and doing a UEFI installation... I need to fix my guide and add a section about Win 7, as I described to you. Now who feels like a dope... Wacko


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Posted By: Arlen
Date Posted: 10 Apr 2016 at 4:20pm
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.


Posted By: Ron Hu
Date 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 http://www.dollardays.com/i1458158-wholesale-strike-950-pro-telescope.html?pf=linkshare" rel="nofollow - 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.


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-Ron


Posted By: Forez
Date 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


Posted By: parsec
Date 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 http://www.dollardays.com/i1458158-wholesale-strike-950-pro-telescope.html?pf=linkshare" rel="nofollow - 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" rel="nofollow - 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/" rel="nofollow - 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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Posted By: parsec
Date 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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Posted By: Arlen
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2016 at 12:31am
Motherboard was faulty. A new motherboard fixed the problem.


Posted By: parsec
Date 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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Posted By: Forez
Date 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


Posted By: sohammy
Date 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?


Posted By: parsec
Date 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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Posted By: parsec
Date 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.




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Posted By: sohammy
Date Posted: 26 Apr 2016 at 6:42pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

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.


I handle RAW images a fair amount importing back and forth between lightoom and photoshop (and occasionally a couple other programs).  Would you expect the performance difference between a good SATAIII SSD and a PCIe SSD to be not so obvious for this purpose?  It's so enticing to see some of these benchmarks out there for PCIe SSDs even as old as the XP941 having what looks like twice the speed of the 850 evo ( http://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Samsung-XP941-PCIe-M2-512GB-vs-Samsung-850-Evo-500GB/m4874vs3477" rel="nofollow - http://ssd.userbenchmark.com/Compare/Samsung-XP941-PCIe-M2-512GB-vs-Samsung-850-Evo-500GB/m4874vs3477 ).  Out of curiosity, what's the ballpark difference in startup time between the PCIe SSD and SATAIII SSD?  


Posted By: Airbus480
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2016 at 2:45am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by ziko ziko wrote:

Will ALL X99 boards Support this method?
I own the X99 Extreme4/3.1 with 1.2 BIOS.
Officialy, only the Extreme 4, without USB 3.1 support the NVME SSD.
Its my first Asrock board and i am very disappointed with it.
Today it boot normaly, tomorrow freeze at Asrock logo.
After reset CMOS it boots again.
How long, its a luck of the draw.
Boot time is horrible, CSM disbled and Win 10 x64 fast boot enabled.
My first and last Asrock product, for shure.
Will now try to go along with this board.
My boot drive is a OCZ Revodrive 3 x2 PCIe.
No issue, only the boot problem and overclocking issue from board.
 
Can anyone answer my question about the M2 boot drive on my Extreme 4/3.1?
 


Welcome to the world of X99 boards. Pinch

ALL X99 boards are slow to POST, which is the process that happens before the actual OS loading/boot occurs. Even with CSM Disabled and Fast Boot Enabled.

If you check other forums with threads about other X99 boards, you will find complaints about the "boot time". The startup time of any PC includes BOTH the POST time, followed by the actual OS boot time. It is the POST time on X99 boards that is slower than other chipset boards.

When you hear the single POST Ok beep from the board, that is when the OS boot process begins.

There is a secret about "Fast Boot", it is actually Fast POST. Using Fast Boot causes the POST process to be shorter (or faster), which gives the affect of the overall PC startup process to be faster. Still, X99 boards are slow to POST, my X99 board is also slow to start.


And I thought my X99 WS is the only one having this problem...the Asrock logo takes time to appear is Fast Boot only the solution? Because it gives this warning that the only way to go back UEFI is to Restart to UEFI utility in Windows but I am using Windows 7 x64 and can't find any Restart to UEFI utility under the downloads for Win 7 x64


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 01 May 2016 at 12:36am
Originally posted by Airbus480 Airbus480 wrote:

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by ziko ziko wrote:

Will ALL X99 boards Support this method?
I own the X99 Extreme4/3.1 with 1.2 BIOS.
Officialy, only the Extreme 4, without USB 3.1 support the NVME SSD.
Its my first Asrock board and i am very disappointed with it.
Today it boot normaly, tomorrow freeze at Asrock logo.
After reset CMOS it boots again.
How long, its a luck of the draw.
Boot time is horrible, CSM disbled and Win 10 x64 fast boot enabled.
My first and last Asrock product, for shure.
Will now try to go along with this board.
My boot drive is a OCZ Revodrive 3 x2 PCIe.
No issue, only the boot problem and overclocking issue from board.
 
Can anyone answer my question about the M2 boot drive on my Extreme 4/3.1?
 


Welcome to the world of X99 boards. Pinch

ALL X99 boards are slow to POST, which is the process that happens before the actual OS loading/boot occurs. Even with CSM Disabled and Fast Boot Enabled.

If you check other forums with threads about other X99 boards, you will find complaints about the "boot time". The startup time of any PC includes BOTH the POST time, followed by the actual OS boot time. It is the POST time on X99 boards that is slower than other chipset boards.

When you hear the single POST Ok beep from the board, that is when the OS boot process begins.

There is a secret about "Fast Boot", it is actually Fast POST. Using Fast Boot causes the POST process to be shorter (or faster), which gives the affect of the overall PC startup process to be faster. Still, X99 boards are slow to POST, my X99 board is also slow to start.


And I thought my X99 WS is the only one having this problem...the Asrock logo takes time to appear is Fast Boot only the solution? Because it gives this warning that the only way to go back UEFI is to Restart to UEFI utility in Windows but I am using Windows 7 x64 and can't find any Restart to UEFI utility under the downloads for Win 7 x64


I see now, you are using Win 7. The Restart to UEFI utility uses a new feature introduced in Win 8 that allows you to restart the PC and it will go directly into the UEFI UI. That feature is kinda buried within Win 8 (and all versions of Windows beyond Win 8) but it is there.

The bad news is Win 7 does NOT have that feature, which explains why there is no Restart to UEFI for Win 7 for your or any ASRock board.

If you want to use the Fast Boot option with Win 7, of which you could only use the Fast setting, unless your Win 7 installation is a UEFI booting one, which I highly doubt, there is one work around for getting into the UEFI UI. Not at all elegant, but it works.

What do you do? Anytime you want to get into the UEFI UI with Fast Boot enabled, clear the UEFI/BIOS first.

Of course the PC will start even slower once that is done, and you'll need to have saved at least one UEFI profile to restore your settings quickly. Sorry but that is the only way. Ouch

Don't forget that the X99 chipset is based upon/related to Intel's Enterprise type chipsets. Enterprise boards are not designed for fast start up, which is really caused by a short, abbreviated POST process. Enterprise type boards may take a full minute to POST, since all the board's hardware is thoroughly checked for correct operation.

Our X99 boards currently have UEFI options whose default settings help to shorten the POST process. Such as, the MRC Fast Boot option in the DRAM Configuration screen. When that is enabled, memory tests and memory training are skipped, two things that would never be not done on an Enterprise type system.

Plus you must know that a Revo Drive is slow to get started. The new NVMe SSDs are also slow to get started. The Intel 750 PCIe NVMe SSD has a firmware update to address the complaints by owners about how slow it was to "boot". No, not slow to Boot, slow to POST.

Frankly, we are lucky our X99 boards start up/POST as quickly as they do. Add anything that slows down the POST process, and you'll be waiting longer, sorry to say.


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Posted By: Airbus480
Date Posted: 01 May 2016 at 3:11pm
Yeah, I am using an SSD for boot. Is clearing the UEFI same as clearing the CMOS?
What if I add another SSD and install windows 10 then I restart to UEFI and enable Fast Boot but the BIOS/UEFI installed came from the Windows 7 x64 downloads?
edit: oops sorry I got confused the UEFI/BIOS downloads is separate from the Win 7/8/8.1/10 downloads


Posted By: Airbus480
Date Posted: 15 May 2016 at 3:33am
While exploring A-tuning I saw the Fast boot option and there's an option "Enter UEFI setup on next boot"
So it seems even when fast boot enabled on Windows 7 x64, you can still go to UEFI without even clearing the CMOS? I haven't tested A-tuning "Enter UEFI setup on next boot" though...


Posted By: scajjr2
Date Posted: 30 May 2016 at 7:36am
Took advantage of a newegg sale and ordered a Samsung 950 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD for my Z170 Fatal1ty Gaming K4.

My thinking is install it, use Samsung software to migrate OS (Win 10 Pro x64) over from the 840 EVO that is currently the boot drive, uninstall the 840, change the boot device in the BIOS, boot into Win 10 x64 and then install the Samsung driver.

My main question is do I need to change any setting in the BIOS other than the boot order? Running the latest BIOS (3.10).

Sam


Posted By: user180965
Date Posted: 01 Jun 2016 at 9:39pm
hi
parsecs
Help me don't work 
  ssd THNSN5256gpu7  /THNSN5256gpu7/ Toshiba 256GB XG3 NVME PCIE 3.0
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/toshiba-xg3-ssd-ocz-revodrive-400,4434.html

I used method 1 ok
installed window10 ok
reboot toshiba but not detected in BIOS and Windows 10 does not work
my motherboard
Asrock z97X Killer / bios 2.40



Posted By: user180965
Date Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 5:03pm
hi
my motherboard
Asrock z97X Killer / bios 2.40 don't work toshiba ssd
Please can you update bios??

Help  NOT work this ssd m.2
  ssd THNSN5256gpu7  /THNSN5256gpu7/ Toshiba 256GB XG3 NVME PCIE 3.0
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/toshiba-xg3-ssd-ocz-revodrive-400,4434.html

((I think, and 'equal to this))
http://www.anandtech.com/show/10328/the-toshiba-ocz-rd400-pcie-ssd-review

I used method 1 ok in the forum asrock BUT NOT WORK
http://forum.asrock.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1236&PN=1&title=how-to-install-windows-on-a-pcie-ssd

installed windows10 is ok
reboot but not detected ssd in BIOS and Windows 10 does not work don't start
my motherboard
Asrock z97X Killer / bios 2.40
 tnk


Posted By: user180965
Date Posted: 02 Jun 2016 at 9:45pm
CryCry
i update my  Asrock Z97X Killer with  bios 2.50 ssd not work,  no work  boot Windows 10 with ssd toshiba THNSN5256GPU7/THNSN51T02DU7
Installing Windows 10 is ok but do not have boot departure

Please can you help??
Look my  screen bios

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http://postimg.org/image/cbby9tvaj/" rel="nofollow">

http://postimg.org/image/nl4o4s0bv/" rel="nofollow">

http://postimg.org/image/9l77qdnzf/" rel="nofollow">





Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 23 Jul 2016 at 10:42pm
Originally posted by scajjr2 scajjr2 wrote:

Took advantage of a newegg sale and ordered a Samsung 950 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD for my Z170 Fatal1ty Gaming K4.

My thinking is install it, use Samsung software to migrate OS (Win 10 Pro x64) over from the 840 EVO that is currently the boot drive, uninstall the 840, change the boot device in the BIOS, boot into Win 10 x64 and then install the Samsung driver.

My main question is do I need to change any setting in the BIOS other than the boot order? Running the latest BIOS (3.10).

Sam


Sorry I missed this post... so long ago. Embarrassed

I'm sure you tried to use the migration software, and I imagine it did not work, the result on the 950 Pro would not boot.

As described in this guide, the CSM option, Launch Storage OpROM Policy, must be set to UEFI Only, or an NVMe SSD will not boot.

That is the easiest way. Also, setting CSM to Disabled will work too, but that has another requirement, discussed in the guide.

The Launch Storage OpROM Policy option has been added to the Storage Configuration screen, in the UEFI/BIOS of some ASRock boards. That would be their Z170 boards, but possibly not with the earlier UEFI/BIOS versions. Setting this option in either place will work.

Depending upon which ASRock board you are using, that option may be set automatically if the UEFI/BIOS detects an NVMe SSD in an M.2 slot.

In the case of migrating/cloning an OS installation that was not done with either of the two options set as described above, simply setting either option after running the migration software should not work.

If it did, I would be interested to know that it did.


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Posted By: scajjr2
Date Posted: 23 Jul 2016 at 10:56pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by scajjr2 scajjr2 wrote:

Took advantage of a newegg sale and ordered a Samsung 950 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD for my Z170 Fatal1ty Gaming K4.

My thinking is install it, use Samsung software to migrate OS (Win 10 Pro x64) over from the 840 EVO that is currently the boot drive, uninstall the 840, change the boot device in the BIOS, boot into Win 10 x64 and then install the Samsung driver.

My main question is do I need to change any setting in the BIOS other than the boot order? Running the latest BIOS (3.10).

Sam


Sorry I missed this post... so long ago. Embarrassed

I'm sure you tried to use the migration software, and I imagine it did not work, the result on the 950 Pro would not boot.

As described in this guide, the CSM option, Launch Storage OpROM Policy, must be set to UEFI Only, or an NVMe SSD will not boot.

That is the easiest way. Also, setting CSM to Disabled will work too, but that has another requirement, discussed in the guide.

The Launch Storage OpROM Policy option has been added to the Storage Configuration screen, in the UEFI/BIOS of some ASRock boards. That would be their Z170 boards, but possibly not with the earlier UEFI/BIOS versions. Setting this option in either place will work.

Depending upon which ASRock board you are using, that option may be set automatically if the UEFI/BIOS detects an NVMe SSD in an M.2 slot.

In the case of migrating/cloning an OS installation that was not done with either of the two options set as described above, simply setting either option after running the migration software should not work.

If it did, I would be interested to know that it did.


Actually just using the Samsung Migration software, changing the boot device to the 950 pro and rebooting DID work. Didn't change anything in the BIOS other than the boot device. I didn't install Win 8 using UEFI and did an in place upgrade of Win 10 last July.

 Bootup time is maybe only a second or 2 faster, but programs loaded from the 950 load much faster.

Sam


Posted By: Rehmanpa
Date Posted: 24 Jul 2016 at 3:56am
Hi, I didn't know where to post this but then I found this forum. I was wondering if I could use this SSD as a boot drive with this Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820228166
https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/QPI/5500/X8DTH-iF.cfm

I know it's an older X58 socket but my friends offering me this board for like $50 and I want a workstation anyway. The problem is it has Sata 2 3Gbs ports so i was going to try and bypass with that with a PCI-E SSD (for booting), and this has great performance for the dollar so was wondering if I could use this as the main boot drive? Sorry for rambling ^_^


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 02 Aug 2016 at 10:48pm
Originally posted by Rehmanpa Rehmanpa wrote:

Hi, I didn't know where to post this but then I found this forum. I was wondering if I could use this SSD as a boot drive with this Motherboard:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820228166
https://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/QPI/5500/X8DTH-iF.cfm

I know it's an older X58 socket but my friends offering me this board for like $50 and I want a workstation anyway. The problem is it has Sata 2 3Gbs ports so i was going to try and bypass with that with a PCI-E SSD (for booting), and this has great performance for the dollar so was wondering if I could use this as the main boot drive? Sorry for rambling ^_^


That OCZ PCIe/M.2 NVMe SSD, or any NVMe SSD will not be usable as a boot drive on that mother board.

The reason is that board's BIOS does not provide support for the new NVMe storage protocol used by this type of SSD. A BIOS update would be necessary, if that is even possible for a board using a legacy type BIOS, rather than the new UEFI type firmware.

Another detail is that board and processor platform is a PCIe 2.0 system. For full performance, all NVMe PCIe SSDs require PCIe 3.0.

So sorry, that platform is to old for use with NVMe SSDs as boot drives. It would probably work as a data drive, but at a somewhat reduced performance level.


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Posted By: Rehmanpa
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2016 at 7:30am
Thank you so much for figuring that out. I found this article where someone was able to use an NVMe storage device on an older x58 mobo socket for booting:
http://mrlithium.blogspot.com/2015/12/how-to-boot-nvme-ssd-from-legacy-bios.html

Could I do what this guy did and then use it for booting, or do you think that would only work with an Intel 750 series?

EDIT:
Sorry I just really don't know much about this stuff and I'm not sure what the difference between a Legacy BIO and a UEFI one is. 


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2016 at 11:14am
Originally posted by Rehmanpa Rehmanpa wrote:

Thank you so much for figuring that out. I found this article where someone was able to use an NVMe storage device on an older x58 mobo socket for booting:
http://mrlithium.blogspot.com/2015/12/how-to-boot-nvme-ssd-from-legacy-bios.html

Could I do what this guy did and then use it for booting, or do you think that would only work with an Intel 750 series?

EDIT:
Sorry I just really don't know much about this stuff and I'm not sure what the difference between a Legacy BIO and a UEFI one is. 


I really don't know if that process would work with the RD400 or not. The process itself is complicated, must be done perfectly, and is not just a cookbook, recipe type of procedure. Plus there are a few instructions like this one for example, from that guide:

4. Your'e going to want some kind of MBR master boot sector on this drive I think (I forget how I did this. Maybe bcdboot puts one.).

What would you do at that point? Skip it and hope for the best? Does that inspire confidence about the procedure, or the accuracy of the instructions? One comment on that page included corrections to the instructions.

I want to give this guy credit for doing this, and apparently a few people did get it to work, but he hasn't been answering any questions about it. I don't have the time to try this procedure myself, and I can't help you with it.

A BIOS or a UEFI are both firmware used by a mother board.

BIOS style firmware is the type first used in PCs in the 1990's. It is called legacy or legacy BIOS simply to identify it as not having the features of UEFI firmware. It was designed around the existing PC hardware of the day, which has been left behind for years.

EFI or UEFI firmware is the more advanced replacement for BIOS firmware. It has more features and enhancements compared to BIOS firmware. The differences between the two are huge, although only in the past few years the features available with UEFI firmware are finally being used.

NVMe SSDs require what is called an EFI Option ROM, and to be used as the OS drive, must use the Windows EFI Bootloader. The EFI Option ROM is a module in a board's UEFI firmware. That does not exist in BIOS firmware, and is not compatible with it for several reasons.

That guide is a giant work around for the lack of the EFI Option ROM in BIOS firmware. Enabling the use of that Option ROM in UEFI firmware is done with a click or two.

That work around ignores many of the UEFI booting standards that may have side affects, and cause problems.

Personally, even though the board has a SATA II chipset, I would just get a standard SATA III SSD for that board. If you really work with very large files all the time, you need a modern board to support an NVMe SSD.



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Posted By: bonbonne556
Date Posted: 06 Aug 2016 at 2:04am
do the p45x3 deluxe support PCIe ssd?


Posted By: Rehmanpa
Date Posted: 08 Aug 2016 at 12:27pm
Well i just had another thought. How about instead of going through that guide which would be a pain, could I just install VMWare and just use the pci-e ssd to boot windows through VMware since it's a VM not the physical computer?


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 08 Aug 2016 at 6:41pm
Originally posted by Rehmanpa Rehmanpa wrote:

Well i just had another thought. How about instead of going through that guide which would be a pain, could I just install VMWare and just use the pci-e ssd to boot windows through VMware since it's a VM not the physical computer?


How would running a VM either bypass the need for, or provide NMVe support for an NVMe SSD? That is only one requirement that is missing that a VM would somehow need to provide.

VMs can have limitations that don't exist in standard environments. I don't see what difference it would make. You could try it of course, but I don't think it would help you.

The guide contains more than the procedures and UEFI settings for booting an OS from a PCIe SSD. There are also multiple types of PCIe SSDs that have slightly different requirements.

The requirements are few, but necessary. The board you want to use won't even have the settings in its BIOS to cause the use of the EFI boot loader in a Windows installation. That is the main problem using that board.


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Posted By: Rehmanpa
Date Posted: 09 Aug 2016 at 6:20am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by Rehmanpa Rehmanpa wrote:

Well i just had another thought. How about instead of going through that guide which would be a pain, could I just install VMWare and just use the pci-e ssd to boot windows through VMware since it's a VM not the physical computer?


How would running a VM either bypass the need for, or provide NMVe support for an NVMe SSD? That is only one requirement that is missing that a VM would somehow need to provide.

VMs can have limitations that don't exist in standard environments. I don't see what difference it would make. You could try it of course, but I don't think it would help you.

The guide contains more than the procedures and UEFI settings for booting an OS from a PCIe SSD. There are also multiple types of PCIe SSDs that have slightly different requirements.

The requirements are few, but necessary. The board you want to use won't even have the settings in its BIOS to cause the use of the EFI boot loader in a Windows installation. That is the main problem using that board.

Well thanks for the reply, I guess I'd just kinda thought that since Windows wouldn't be the first thing loaded in the computer (VMWare would) that maybe it being on a VM would allow it to boot off of that drive. 


Posted By: jarablue
Date Posted: 06 Sep 2016 at 2:38pm
So should we disable (check the box) write cache buffer flushing? Because with my Intel 600p nvme ssd, I am seeing increased writes with it disabled.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 06 Sep 2016 at 9:43pm
Originally posted by jarablue jarablue wrote:

So should we disable (check the box) write cache buffer flushing? Because with my Intel 600p nvme ssd, I am seeing increased writes with it disabled.


You can do that with almost any SSD or HDD, and you will see increased write performance in benchmarks, etc.

Whether you should or not is another story. As the description under that option states:

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 power failure.

The Intel 600p series does not have power loss data protection, which is usually implemented with large capacitors on the drive that provide enough power to flush (write) any data in its buffer to permanent storage. Consumer level drives usually do not have power loss data protection.

If the area you live in suffers from AC power losses due to storms, etc, then it may not be a good idea to check that box. If you don't have many AC power loss problems, then you can get away with it being checked, but it is a small gamble of potential data loss.

How do you like your Intel 600p? That's a new model from Intel.




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Posted By: MSuomi
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 9:19pm
Hello!

I have been using Samsung 950 Pro for a while. For some strange reason I got my older system transferred, not knowing about anything of all the hassle behind it (though I had to remove one of my HDD's, because there was no more free sata place for it). Anyway, when I check the drive from Magician, it seems to run on x2 link width and max should be 4. So what stops it from being at that 4?
My setup is as follows:

Asrock Z97 Fatal1ty Pro
i7 4970k
2x R9 290 Tri-x on crossfire
Samsung 950 Pro on M2
4 HDDs and 1 DVD burner

I left Satae1, Sata3_5 and Sata3_4 empty as I understood that they are shared with M2. I think I have something on Sata3_1... Is that the one, that eats one x2 out of 950 Pro's link width?
I guess I have to replace my HDD's with bigger models, so that I can get at least one of them out...


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 19 Sep 2016 at 10:30pm
Originally posted by MSuomi MSuomi wrote:

Hello!

I have been using Samsung 950 Pro for a while. For some strange reason I got my older system transferred, not knowing about anything of all the hassle behind it (though I had to remove one of my HDD's, because there was no more free sata place for it). Anyway, when I check the drive from Magician, it seems to run on x2 link width and max should be 4. So what stops it from being at that 4?
My setup is as follows:

Asrock Z97 Fatal1ty Pro
i7 4970k
2x R9 290 Tri-x on crossfire
Samsung 950 Pro on M2
4 HDDs and 1 DVD burner

I left Satae1, Sata3_5 and Sata3_4 empty as I understood that they are shared with M2. I think I have something on Sata3_1... Is that the one, that eats one x2 out of 950 Pro's link width?
I guess I have to replace my HDD's with bigger models, so that I can get at least one of them out...


On your board, a 950 Pro or any PCIe M.2 SSD will operate at PCIe 2.0 x2. Your configuration/use of the SATA III ports is correct.

If we check the specs of the Z97 Fatal1ty Pro, you'll find that the M.2 slot is rated like this:

1 x M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen2 x2 (10 Gb/s)

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97%20Professional/?cat=Specifications" rel="nofollow - http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97%20Professional/?cat=Specifications

The M.2 slot is not designed as an Ultra M.2 slot, which is PCIe 3.0 x4, sorry to say. The information you get from the Magician software is correct.

You are not the first person to be surprised by this. It's simply a reality of the board's design and the allocation of the resources available.

Intel "Mainstream and Performance" processors, like those that can be used with your board, provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Those PCIe 3.0 lanes can be shared with other devices, besides video cards.

On the Z97 chipset platform, the chipset resources are DMI2, which is equal in speed to PCIe 2.0.

A Z97 board can be designed to share the PCIe 3.0 lanes with the M.2 slot, but that will reduce the number of PCIe 3.0 lanes available for video cards. In this case a video card will operate at PCIe 3.0 x8 when the Ultra M.2 slot is in use. An example of this is the Z97 Extreme6 board.

Or a Z97 board can be designed to share the chipset's DMI2 resources with an M.2 slot, leaving all the PCIe 3.0 lanes available for video cards, etc. Your board is an example of this design.

Given the amount of resources available on a processor and chipset system, a compromise must be made in favor of one thing or another. Your board does not share the PCIe 3.0 resources with the M.2 slot, so is more a gaming type board. The Z97 platform was one of the first that could support PCIe M.2 SSDs.

M.2 slots and PCIe SSDs are new things, and we must be careful that we understand how they work and that we can meet their requirements. Intel added DMI3 to the Z170 chipset, which is equal to PCIe 3.0, but that is the first chipset that has that feature.

You could run your 950 Pro on your board at PCIe 3.0 x4, if you get an M.2 to PCIe adapter card, and use one of the PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. In that case your video card would run at PCIe 3.0 x8, and you could not SLI two video cards, or do more than a two card Crossfire. Another example of the compromise of resource usage.










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Posted By: MSuomi
Date Posted: 20 Sep 2016 at 5:52am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:



On your board, a 950 Pro or any PCIe M.2 SSD will operate at PCIe 2.0 x2. Your configuration/use of the SATA III ports is correct.

If we check the specs of the Z97 Fatal1ty Pro, you'll find that the M.2 slot is rated like this:

1 x M.2_SSD (NGFF) Socket 3, supports M.2 SATA3 6.0 Gb/s module and M.2 PCI Express module up to Gen2 x2 (10 Gb/s)

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97%20Professional/?cat=Specifications" rel="nofollow - http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20Z97%20Professional/?cat=Specifications

You could run your 950 Pro on your board at PCIe 3.0 x4, if you get an M.2 to PCIe adapter card, and use one of the PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. In that case your video card would run at PCIe 3.0 x8, and you could not SLI two video cards, or do more than a two card Crossfire. Another example of the compromise of resource usage.


It seems I missed that part of the specification (even though I have looked at it). The thing, that made me think otherwise was that the Magician informed the max width was x4 ;)

Anyway, I knew when I was buying 950 Pro, that I would not get all speed out of it. But it's good to be sure, that I have installed and configured it properly.

As having those 290's on crossfire is difficult enough to keep them cool enough as is, I'm not going to temp the gods of computing, by throwing anything more there now :)

I might upgrade to Z170 one day... Or maybe to Zen, but deciding that is sometime next year.

Thank you, for the very clear answer. Good to know more about the underlying thingies!


Posted By: egoshman
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2016 at 2:50am
Hello Mr. parsec!

I have an Asrock X99 Extreme4 MB.

I tried installing the Samsung driver for a 950 Pro M.2 SSD a few times but when I check the driver in device manager, it says it's a Microsoft driver from 2006.

I get no error messages during install, but it says the Samsung driver is already installed, do I want to re-install? I say yes, but it still shows Microsoft.

Help! Thanks.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 08 Oct 2016 at 1:05pm
Originally posted by egoshman egoshman wrote:

Hello Mr. parsec!

I have an Asrock X99 Extreme4 MB.

I tried installing the Samsung driver for a 950 Pro M.2 SSD a few times but when I check the driver in device manager, it says it's a Microsoft driver from 2006.

I get no error messages during install, but it says the Samsung driver is already installed, do I want to re-install? I say yes, but it still shows Microsoft.

Help! Thanks.


When you installed the Samsung NVMe driver, did the installation display a message that i failed to install? I do not think it failed at all. Notice it asked you if you want to replace it.

I think you are making a common mistake about where you are looking for the Samsung NVMe driver.

In Device Manager, you are looking at the Samsung 950 Pro entry in the Disk drives list, right?

That is the wrong place to look!

In Device Manager, find the Storage controllers entry, almost at the bottom. Open that one up and I think you'll find what you are looking for.



Any storage driver, RAID or AHCI for a SATA SSD, or NVMe for a PCIe NVMe SSD, is used for the SATA or NVMe controller. Those controllers are devices that are separate from the drive, although for an NVMe SSD, the storage controller is actually on the SSD itself.

You can see some other storage controllers in this picture. The Intel SATA RAID controller, that is in the board's chipset. Or the Samsung NVMe Controller, that is part of the 950 SSD.

The Device manager Disk drive entries never have a driver update. The driver you see there is not important for performance, and nothing to replace it exists.


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Posted By: egoshman
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2016 at 8:56am
You're correct, that's exactly what I did! Sorry, I checked under storage controllers now and it's all good, thanks.

The only remaining issue is that the performance of the 950 Pro doesn't look right. I don't have anything in the PCI5 slot so that's not the problem....could anything else be slowing the SSD down or do these numbers look normal?



Thanks.




Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 09 Oct 2016 at 10:40am
There is a problem there, that is clear. Your board's M.2 slot meets the 950 Pro's requirement of PCIe 3.0 x4. You thought the driver was the problem, but that is not the case.

The only other caveat when using the M.2 slot on your board is this:

S_SATA3_2 connector is shared with Ultra M.2 Socket.

Given your benchmark results, I don't think that is the problem. Let's look at those results.

The sequential write speed is perfect, slightly over spec. Sequential read speed is about 1/3 of what it should be. The random write IOPs are off by 2/3, and the random read IOPs are way off.

My guess is, your 950 Pro is over heating, and thermal throttling. The 950 Pro runs hot when stressed by benchmark testing, writing to the drive causes the most heat. The 950 Pro has become infamous for thermal throttling, depending upon certain conditions.

The way the Samsung benchmark test works is, first the sequential write test is run, and the data written is then read in the sequential read test. Your 950 Pro made it through the sequential write test fine, but by that time it must have been just at the verge of the throttling temperature, which is 70C. At 75C, the SSD throttles itself to 10% of its normal performance.

The sequential read test result was affected by throttling. Next was the Random write test, not as intensive as the sequential write, but the SSD at that point was already over the throttling threshold temperature, and had no chance to cool off. By the time the Random read test started, who knows what the temperature was.

Let me guess, your video card is in the PCIE1 slot, completely covering the 950 Pro? That is the worst case situation for this SSD. No fresh air flow across it, and the heat from the video card also affects its temperature. 950 Pro owners soon found out about this situation, as that is a common location for mounting an M.2 drive.

Unlike SATA SSDs, M.2 SSD have no metal case to act as heat sink for the SSD controller, and the NAND chips. We took that for granted until we began using M.2 SSDs. I noticed this myself with my 950 Pros, and have changed the PC's hardware configuration to compensate for this.

Download (free) and run HWiNFO64, here: https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php" rel="nofollow - https://www.hwinfo.com/download.php

Run the Sensor display, and scroll way down toward the bottom of the long list of items, and you'll find your 950 Pro. AIDA64's system stress test will also show its temperature, in a graph, without running the CPU stress test.

Have either of those running, and check the idle temperature of your 959 Pro. Then start the Samsung benchmark test again. If I'm wrong about the temperature reaching 70C+, let me know.





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Posted By: egoshman
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2016 at 7:06am
Don't think it's temperature, but you're right about the location of the m.2 card under the graphics card. I haven't checked the SATA port you mentioned though, I thought it didn't matter since the 950 isn't a SATA device.

Here's the sensor printout:



The numbers below have improved a little today although I haven't changed anything:




What else could it be?

Thanks.



Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 10 Oct 2016 at 10:34am
As I said, the 950 Pro is known to thermal throttle its performance under certain circumstances, but it is not a given that it will do that all the time. I wanted you to be aware of that, and to check if that is what the cause of your performance loss is. I'm not sure yet if you have this problem or not.

It usually only over heats during benchmark tests, and if you were copying many multi-gigabyte folders onto a 950 Pro, that would take several minutes to complete. Some users have installed small heat sinks on the SSD controller and NAND chips on their 950's, and I've even seen some chipset water cooling blocks attached to them.

On the main "Disk Drive" page of the Magician software, the one displayed when you run it. What do you see in the box labeled "PCIe Slot"? It shows the Link Speed and Link Width, which is what I want you to check.

Your HWiNFO screenshot shows your 950 Pro over a 2:05 (two minutes, five seconds) time period. You can see in just two minutes, its temperature varied from 31C to 34C. Was that during the benchmark test you ran? If it was, I'm very surprised it stayed that cool. What video card are you using?

If HWiNFO was not running during the Samsung benchmark test, you did not see what temperature it reached while the test was running. Have HWiNFO running while you run the test. You must have the sensor window open during the test, it only reads the sensors if it is displayed.

It does not matter that the 950 Pro is not a SATA device, that SATA port will still be disabled if the M.2 slot is being used. Some of the system resources are shared between the M.2 slot and the S_SATA3_2 port. If you had a drive connected to the S_SATA3_2, the drive would not be recognized, and it should not affect the performance the SSD in the M.2 slot. But strange things can happen sometimes.

We need to check the temperature while you run the Samsung benchmark, and what the PCIe information is in the Magician software. If it is not thermal throttling, that is a strange benchmark result.

Another benchmark you can try is called Crystal Disk Mark (free), I'd be interested to see your results running it. You want to download CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 - Disk Benchmark:

http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html" rel="nofollow - http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html



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