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SM951 as OS boot device information

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Forum Name: Intel Motherboards
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Topic: SM951 as OS boot device information
Posted By: Xaltar
Subject: SM951 as OS boot device information
Date Posted: 24 Jun 2015 at 12:05pm
I have noticed a number of people coming here to the forums inquiring about how to make Samsung SM951 M2 SSDs function as OS boot devices. Rather than repeating the information in every post I will post it here.

Before you read on,? http://www.thessdreview.com/our-reviews/samsung-sm951-m-2-pcie-ssd-review-256gb-nvme-performance/" rel="nofollow - HERE is an interesting article that outlays the reasons some systems cannot use the SM951 as a boot device and provides some other interesting info on the SM951 and its performance.

At this moment, all?many Asrock boards require a BIOS updated in order to support booting from the SM951, particularly older chipsets. The feature required is apparently NVMe support and is only available to the intel 9 series of Asrock products at this time. This situation is due to the new feature-set of the SM951 which needs to be implemented in BIOS.

<span style="line-height: 1.4;">If you have had success with other boards please post up your info here.</span>

[update]?

In theory any BIOS update that adds NVMe support should allow booting from the SM951.

The following boards all list NVMe support with the latest BIOS or are new revisions of boards that do and inherited support from the previous revision:

<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">X99 WS-E
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">X99 OC Formula and /3.1<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">X99 Professional and/3.1<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Fatal1ty X99X Killer and /3.1<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;"><span style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Fatal1ty X99M Killer</span>
X99 WS-E/10G
X99 WS
X99 Extreme11
X99 Extreme6 and /3.1
X99 Extreme6/ac
X99 Extreme4
X99M Extreme4
X99 Extreme3


Uncertain about: X99E-ITX/ac as it is a new board but does not list NVMe support.

I will look through the Z97 list next and update once I have.

[Update]

Z97 Boards that support NVMe (all of them):

Z97 OC Formula
Z97M OC Formula
Z97 Extreme9
Z97 Extreme6/ac
Z97 Extreme6 and /3.1
Z97 Extreme4 and /3.1
Z97 Extreme3
Z97 Pro4
Z97M Pro4
Z97 Anniversary
Z97 Pro3
Z97M-ITX/ac
Z97E-ITX/ac
Fatal1ty Z97 Professional
Fatal1ty Z97X Killer and /3.1
Fatal1ty Z97 Killer and /3.1
Fatal1ty Z97M Killer


H97 boards with NVMe support (again, all):

Fatal1ty H97 Killer
Fatal1ty H97 Performance
H97 Pro4
H97M Pro4
H97 Anniversary
H97M Anniversary
H97M
H97M-ITX/ac

<div style="text-align: left;">_________________________________________________________________

Other boards with unofficial support via beta BIOS:?

<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;"><span style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 15.3999996185303px;">Z77 Extreme4 SM951:</span><span style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 15.3999996185303px;">?</span> http://forum.asrock.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=272&KW=SM951&PID=1141&title=z77-extreme4-sm951-uefi-bios#1141" rel="nofollow - P2.90M ?<span style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">(Provided by Asrock and shared with permission by?dbranger94)</span>
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;"><span style="color: rgb51, 51, 51; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Geneva, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal; : rgb250, 250, 250;">Z87m OC Formula: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0DVm6-IyvdOdUVjYlZlNERiZVU/view" rel="nofollow - 1.83a ?(Provided by Asrock, tested by Gunslinger)</span><div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Download by clicking the BIOS number above.<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Officially supported and tested with latest bios update:<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">Z97 Extreme6 (tested and confirmed by Parsec)<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">

To the best of my knowledge, if you board is not on these lists you will need to contact Asrock Tech Support via email and ask for assistance. I want to thank Asrock_TSD (Tech Support Department) for taking the time to post in the thread and offering to help those who's boards are not on the list. As per their post, these will be the only boards that officially support the SM951 as a boot device via BIOS update. As you can see earlier in the post Asrock have already provided a beta BIOS for a forum user with a Z77 board. So, if you need a BIOS update, hit up Asrock tech support for assistance.

[Update]?

The new "H91" boards listed on Asrock's product page are H91 only in name and in fact use the H81 chipset so likely will not receive native NVMe support.
<div style="text-align: center;">----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[update]?

It has come to my attention (thank you Parsec) that the SM951 is not in fact an NVMe supporting drive, while it was originally claimed by Samsung that it would support the feature the final release product is in fact AHCI not NVMe.?

Boot support for the Z97 Extreme6 is confirmed as being applied in beta bios 2.04 and then in release version 2.10. Interestingly the 2.10 bios revision only notes the addition of NVMe support and not improved M.2 support as stated on the 2.04 beta bios. This did not help my confusion Angry?LOL

So as it stands I can only confirm support on the Z97 Extreme6 with bios version 2.10 and Z77 Extreme4 with the bios download linked here in this thread.

I do however suspect that all boards updated with NVMe support likely also received the same improved M.2 support the Z97 Extreme6 received and as such should support booting from the SM951.
<div style="line-height: 16.7999992370605px;">




















Replies:
Posted By: tobysmiles
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:36pm
Thanks,

I am currently contemplating what hard drive to purchase for my X99 Extreme 3 2011 board.  Just can't seem to look past the sm951 512 GB.  I was hoping that the x99 chipset would offer a streamlined install of the new ultra M.2 drive but I guess it requires the BIOS update.  Any idea on when that will be released? 

Also, this may be a silly question so forgive me for reading way too many forum posts...Should one worry about heat with such a powerful SSD.  I heard one person warning people of their use with workstation builds that will be subjected to large computational loads...3D CAD assemblies in my case.  If it matters I will be using a Corsair Air 540 for this build and it is known to move plenty of air.

Any additional advice for this build is greatly appreciated.  Stability is important to me so I plan to use a 3.5 GHz quad core Xeon processor with 16 GB of DDR4 ECC ram.  For graphics, I like the AMD Firepro W5100 with 4GB of DDR5.  Supposedly it will push 4k at 60 Hz over display port which is important because I plan to use the new BenQ 32" 4k monitor.  Speaking of graphics, will the additional lanes needed by the Ultra M.2 SSD affect the graphics performance at all or does the X99 Extreme 3 have plenty?




Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 12:39pm
Keep an eye on the bios section of the board's product page. Updates could be releases at any time. 

To answer your other questions:

1. It is always advisable to have good airflow in your case so I would go for a solid case with good airflow regardless of whether the SM951 runs hot or not (which it does).
According to some reviews I have read on the SM951 (I do not have one on hand to test myself) the SSD reaches thermal throttling temps pretty quickly under heavy loads. Apparently this problem is easily addressed by having a decent case fan blowing directly onto the SSD. Personally I would pick up some self adhering heat sinks and affix them to the SSD just to be on the safe side but I don't know how that would affect the warranty. I suppose a compromise would be to use a heatsink with thermal pads and find some way to fix it to the SSD that can easily be removed should you need to RMA it or send it for warranty replacement. Bare in mind however that the kind of workloads the drives in question were subjected to were extreme for benchmarking purposes and the simple addition of a 120mm silent fan over the drive was sufficient to drop temps from mid ~80c to high ~50c. That should prove more than adequate under more normal workloads.

2. You will have more than enough PCIE lanes from a Xeon CPU to run the SM951 and almost any GPU config without depriving the GPU/s of lanes.


Posted By: tobysmiles
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 1:09pm
Is this what you are talking about?  If so, the last three updates all have made improvements to M.2 compatibility.  Not sure if it's the improvements everyone seems to be looking for though


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 1:14pm
I am not sure myself, but I am sure that all boards supporting the SM951 and similar drives will likely see an update fairly soon given that Asrock is supplying the 128gb version of the SM951 on their site now.


Posted By: tobysmiles
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 1:26pm
I noticed that too.  Also noticed that the sm951 shows up on the list on compatible hard drives for the X99 Extreme 3.

Once the BIOS update is released and installed, can it be installed as a boot drive easily like any other SSD?  Also, will it be OK to be my only system drive for the time being?  It will be easier to swallow the $400 for the 512 GB if I don't have to buy a second drive as well.


Posted By: tobysmiles
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 2:10pm
This seems like a good solution to the heat problem.  Should increase airflow to the drive and it has a heat sink

http://www.amazon.mk/M2P4A-PCIe-2-0-NGFF-Adapter/dp/B00IPO7YCU






Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 25 Jun 2015 at 2:44pm
That should do the trick nicely Wink


Posted By: ASRock_TSD
Date Posted: 26 Jun 2015 at 10:07pm
Greetings, this is ASRock Technical Supports Department.

Due to we don?t update every BIOS version to website, we recommend user who is using PCIE adapter to use SM951/XP941 to contact our support email box.
We will help for further process. 

http://event.asrock.com/tsd.asp 


Kindest regards,
ASRock TSD



Posted By: Gunslinger
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 6:39am
Probably clutching at straws, but i'd like to know if there will be any support for the SM951 AHCI version used in an adapter on the Z87m OC Formula board ?

I can't get it to boot to it :(

I have sent a tech support request, but don't have a reference number to include.

The adapter i'm using is the Addonics AD3M2SPX4 - (M2 PCIe + 2 M2 SATA on PCIe x4) which supports the full Gen3 x4 speed


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 1:12pm
For any requests regarding booting from the SM951 the feature you need to request is called NVMe support. 

Asrock has no plans to release official support on boards with chipsets older than the intel 9 series. However, as tech support posted in this thread, if you would like assistance with a board not listed for support contact them via:

http://event.asrock.com/tsd.asp" rel="nofollow - http://event.asrock.com/tsd.asp

Asrock have already provided assistance to one forum member here using a z77 board (link to bios update in OP) so you are not without options. Please allow time for Asrock to process your request and get back to you.



Posted By: Gunslinger
Date Posted: 27 Jun 2015 at 5:34pm

Thanks for the Reply. I have dropped them a request for help, but don't have a reference number and am waiting for some reply other than the automated one


The Version i have is NOT the NVMe one, but the AHCI version. I figured that the NVMe support may not be extended back to the z87 boards, but had hoped for support for the AHCI version, given that the boards are hardly obsolete !


I can't remember if i put in the information that it was the AHCI one i have, hopefully someone will be in touch soon, so i know one way or the other, because i can't use the system as it stands, and if i have to buy a different board i will



Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 28 Jun 2015 at 8:17pm
Important update:

It has come to my attention (thank you Parsec) that the SM951 is not in fact an NVMe supporting drive, while it was originally claimed by Samsung that it would support the feature the final release product is in fact AHCI not NVMe. 

Boot support for the Z97 Extreme6 is confirmed as being applied in beta bios 2.04 and then in release version 2.10. Interestingly the 2.10 bios revision only notes the addition of NVMe support and not improved M.2 support as stated on the 2.04 beta bios. This did not help my confusion Angry LOL

So as it stands I can only confirm support on the Z97 Extreme6 with bios version 2.10 and Z77 Extreme4 with the bios download linked here in this thread.

I do however suspect that all boards updated with NVMe support likely also received the same improved M.2 support the Z97 Extreme6 received and as such should support booting from the SM951.


I have added this info to the OP


Posted By: Gunslinger
Date Posted: 28 Jun 2015 at 8:23pm
yeah, the whole m.2 format is a minefield, and then Samsung go and drop 2 different versions of the same SSD with the same model name... lol, typical.

Does the NVMe version also support AHCI ? .... and there goes the can holding all the worms lol


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 28 Jun 2015 at 8:27pm
I set out to provide useful information on the SM951 front with this thread thinking it would be easy to just gather all the useful info from other threads on the matter. Boy was I wrong lol.

Hopefully the info I have provided now will be at least mostly accurate. Thank you to everyone helping out, this thread is designed to be informative to anyone having issues booting from the SM951.


Posted By: Gunslinger
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2015 at 6:06am
I got a new BIOS from Tech Support for my Z87m OC Formula, it's now booting happily off the Samsung SM951 (AHCI) into Windows 7 64bit

Clap


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2015 at 1:25pm
Great news Thumbs Up

Would you mind uploading and sharing the BIOS you were sent for your board so I can put it on the list of boards with custom bios for the SM951?


Posted By: Gunslinger
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2015 at 6:53pm
Eddy from Tech Support has just linked it in this thread here....

http://forums.tweaktown.com/asrock/61077-clutching-straws-sm951-support-z87m-board.html#post499137


note that whilst it is referred to as "L1.83A" there is no "L" in the filename once unpacked from the archive, or referenced in the BIOS after flashing (not that i saw anyway)


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2015 at 8:54pm
Thanks Gunslinger, I'll add it to the OP for any other Z87m OC Formula users.


Posted By: odiebugs
Date Posted: 22 Jul 2015 at 4:25am
Xaltar:  Can you post some info on booting under main for M2, as to any BIOS / UEFI settings, and if the M2 will be seen in drive list in it, and if MBR and GPT both work.  

A nice guide would help as you see there have been questions, and soon will grab one to replace windows boot on RAID.  Thanks.

Maybe you could also cover the difference in M2 as it pertains to one being SSD and one a PCI-e interface on the M2.


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asrocking


Posted By: odiebugs
Date Posted: 22 Jul 2015 at 7:32am
Originally posted by Xaltar Xaltar wrote:

Important update:

It has come to my attention (thank you Parsec) that the SM951 is not in fact an NVMe supporting drive, while it was originally claimed by Samsung that it would support the feature the final release product is in fact AHCI not NVMe. 

Boot support for the Z97 Extreme6 is confirmed as being applied in beta bios 2.04 and then in release version 2.10. Interestingly the 2.10 bios revision only notes the addition of NVMe support and not improved M.2 support as stated on the 2.04 beta bios. This did not help my confusion Angry LOL

So as it stands I can only confirm support on the Z97 Extreme6 with bios version 2.10 and Z77 Extreme4 with the bios download linked here in this thread.

I do however suspect that all boards updated with NVMe support likely also received the same improved M.2 support the Z97 Extreme6 received and as such should support booting from the SM951.


I have added this info to the OP
Offically Samsung has said that the drives are AHCI, but in a few OEM hardware there are NVMe out for testing and the company has tried to hide it because they won't be retail for a while. 
The AHCI version carries the code H in the model number and the NVMe has a V in it.

The AHCI is MZ-HPV xxx0,  and the NVMe is a MZ- VPVxxx0.  Sent out I guess to be tested in a few OEM machines but probably close to no one can get their hands on one until they decide to push them out. 

Kind of guessing, when they first denied they were any NVMe.  I guess it's good they see what can happen before producing for retail and finding problems over time.  They didn't have many happy people with the last EVO problem. 

Lots of the same story about the NVMe, but I see that even Anandtech has run some benches and got their hands on one.

I have followed them for a long time and they are tops among the hardware crowd. 

Even Toms hardware, say they have a NVMe tested. They also have a different story in a way, saying they are close to going to the shelf.

Looking at the bench tests, looks like they are NVMe.


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asrocking


Posted By: odiebugs
Date Posted: 22 Jul 2015 at 10:19am
Xaltar, also on the main post I say you add driver info.

We have all seen what windows AHCI, RST, drivers and the Intel AHCI, RST drivers can do in a per board case.  People seen where the win AHCI beat the Intel AHCI.  

Sometimes  some found the Intel was better, especially in RAID. 

Maybe adding how people should bench both to see what their system will run like with drivers. 

As time goes on we should see many update to the NVMe drivers from Intel and from Windows.

As of now, windows has it's driver using Force Unit Access,  IO writes, which go by the DRAM and write to flash, lowering bandwidth where the Intel doesn't.


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asrocking


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 27 Jul 2015 at 12:43pm
I tried to load the Intel IRST "F6" AHCI driver into my SM951 once, but it did not work, and I was afraid to keep trying.

One odd thing I've found while using the SM951 (AHCI) is the Intel IRST Windows UI will not install when you install the Windows IRST driver and UI package. The IRST installer just hangs at the end, which is the UI installation stage. I must kill the process with Task Manager. The IRST driver was installed, but the IRST Windows UI won't. Even the latest IRST 14.5 version failed to do so.

Fortunately when UEFI booting Win 8/8.1/10, the Ctrl i Intel RAID OROM interface becomes an option in the Advanced section of the UEFI. So I have the basic IRST RAID creation and deletion features, but not the entire IRST Windows UI feature set.

Yet another interesting thing I learned while installing Windows on the SM951, if you don't have at least one drive connected to the Intel SATA ports, you cannot install the Intel IRST driver. Both the F6 and Windows IRST package fails to install until a drive is connected to the Intel SATA ports.

Interesting how the SM951 will choose, or be assigned, the Windows AHCI driver during a Windows installation, while the IRST driver included with Windows could be used. Well, that driver might only be the RAID driver and not the AHCI driver.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 31 Jul 2015 at 12:53am
Originally posted by Gunslinger Gunslinger wrote:

yeah, the whole m.2 format is a minefield, and then Samsung go and drop 2 different versions of the same SSD with the same model name... lol, typical.

Does the NVMe version also support AHCI ? .... and there goes the can holding all the worms lol


NVMe SSDs do not support AHCI AFAIK.

The AHCI and NVMe versions of the SM951 have slightly different model numbers. Both are enthusiast level products that are not plug and play devices (when used as OS drives), and not meant for those that don't understand what they are all about.

The same can be said for M.2, which really only has two versions, SATA and PCIe. IMO that is not a "minefield", but requires more attention than just grabbing an M.2 SSD off a shelf. Wink

Several reasons for that, the main one being the SSD's internal controller must be capable of using the NVMe protocol, which is more than simply driver/software support. The architecture of the SSD controller and the support chips for the controller (memory buffer) must be designed to work with NVMe.

NVMe is a major change in non-volatile storage IO. AHCI was designed to work with the SATA storage hardware that existed at that time (ironically, HDDs), but NVMe was designed independently and cannot be applied to existing storage hardware. NVMe would be worthless for use with HDDs, since they cannot even keep up with what AHCI provides.

While SSD users are still stuck with file systems designed for HDDs, NVMe is a major step beyond AHCI.


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http://valid.x86.fr/48rujh" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: kechlion
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2015 at 1:00am
This appears to be as good a place as any to ask about the SM951. I'm planning on doing a nice clean sweep install for Windows 10 (Win 7 then upgrade). The SSD I'm looking at is (http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-SM951-256GB-AHCI-MZHPV256HDGL-00000/dp/B00VELD92U). I have an ASRock X99 Extreme 4. I would have purchased it last year sometime around Christmas. My understanding is that since that particular SM951 is an AHCI board I won't need to do anything special, right?

I saw someone mention that the new M.2s aren't precisely plug and play, but it seems like it should be fine as an OS drive with no extra effort. Would that be correct?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2015 at 1:14am
At most you will need to update to the latest bios to support booting from the SM951.


Posted By: kechlion
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2015 at 1:17am
Thanks for the quick answer - that's simple and easy enough, I definitely appreciate it.

Since this thread is kind of about the SM951, I thought I'd share the fairly in depth review I saw of that particular SSD. So far it looks pretty nice - http://techreport.com/review/28446/samsung-sm951-pcie-ssd-reviewed

Cheer!


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 10:14am
Having a hard time finding the SM951 NVMe model but definitely holding out till its pointless. Does the Z97M OC Formula have enough PCIe 3.0 for above stated and a  https://pcpartpicker.com/part/powercolor-video-card-axr92852gbd5tdhe" rel="nofollow - PowerColor Radeon R9 285 2GB TurboDuo Video Card  to operate at max potentials?


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 07 Aug 2015 at 10:02pm
An R9 285 will not max out the bandwidth of a PCIE 3.0 x8 slot so even if you end up with only 8 lanes you will not see any performance hit. In fact, the R9 285 shouldn't noticeably bottleneck at x4.


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 08 Aug 2015 at 12:44am
Including the SM951 NVME model installed to PCIE slot? What configurations can I use for the Radeon 285 and SM951 to both be in PCIE 3.0 slots?


Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 14 Aug 2015 at 11:11pm
Hi I am a newbie on the site
I have just recieved a SM951 NVMe 256Gb and cannot get it to boot on my Z97 Extreme6
Pre ordered it after excellent review at http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/7181/samsung-sm951-nvme-2-pcie-256gb-ssd-review/index3.html

I have latest BIOS 2.3 installed - I have set fourcing of M.2 but the BIOS says there is nothing in the slot
Windows 10 sees the card and I have used Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 to clone my old Sansung 840 onto the SM951

Am I missing a setting so that the card shows and I can select it in BIOS as a boot device

I have sent technical support an email and then found this forum
Any help would be much appreciated

Ian


-------------
Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2015 at 12:32am
Hopefully cloning your 840 to the SM951 NVMe will work getting the Win 10 NVMe driver working with the SM951. You'll be one of the first doing that experiment... Thumbs Up

Otherwise, since your 840 Win 10 installation is probably not a UEFI booting Windows installation, with the SM951 formatted in GPT, try this:

In the UEFI, Boot Order screen, scroll down to find the CSM option. Click on that and find the Launch Storage OpROM Policy option. Set that to UEFI Only. Then click Save and Exit in the Exit screen.

On the restart, go right back into the UEFI, and check the Boot screen. If you then see an entry for the SM951 with the prefix "UEFI:", select that as the first boot device. You may instead find the entry, "Windows Boot Manager". If you do, select that as the first boot device. Then save and exit, and see if you boot into Win 10 with your SM951 NVMe.

If that does not work, remember what you did see in the UEFI about the SM951, and we'll take it from there.


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http://valid.x86.fr/48rujh" rel="nofollow">


Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2015 at 1:07am
Thanks for the reply Parsec
I went back and relooked at the boot screen - No CSM option - but I looked in "Hard Drive BBS Priorities"
The Samsung NVMe drive was in this list - changed to first (sorry should have looked here first pass through)
Rebooted fine from the SM951 NMVe drive - I could tell that its quicker than the 840 drive

However
1 - BIOS is still not showing any device in the M.2 slots
2 - The Samsung SM951 NMVe is using Microsoft drivers and doesn't appear in the Intel Rapid Storage list

Thanks for your help


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Ian


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2015 at 2:52am
Can you post the url where you preordered that NVME please?


Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2015 at 3:26am
I am in the UK and bought my SM951 NVMe 256Gb form the link below
They do post world wide - for the UK I had free next day before 1Pm postage - excellent service

http://www.flexxmemory.co.uk/categories/solid-state-drives-ssd/samsung-sm951-m-2-ngff-pcie-solid-state-drive-ssd/nvme-version.html?sort=pricedesc


-------------
Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 15 Aug 2015 at 12:18pm
Originally posted by IanJM IanJM wrote:

Thanks for the reply Parsec
I went back and relooked at the boot screen - No CSM option - but I looked in "Hard Drive BBS Priorities"
The Samsung NVMe drive was in this list - changed to first (sorry should have looked here first pass through)
Rebooted fine from the SM951 NMVe drive - I could tell that its quicker than the 840 drive

However
1 - BIOS is still not showing any device in the M.2 slots
2 - The Samsung SM951 NMVe is using Microsoft drivers and doesn't appear in the Intel Rapid Storage list

Thanks for your help


The CSM option is at the bottom of the Boot screen, you must scroll down to find it. It is clearly shown in your board's manual. You said you have a Z97 Extreme6, correct?

Regardless, if it boots for you now, that's fine.

It is completely normal for any SM951, whether AHCI or NVMe version, to NOT be shown in the Intel Rapid Storage list of attached drives.

You're using an NVMe SSD, not a SSD connected to a SATA port using the Intel SATA controller with the IRST RAID/AHCI SATA driver.

There is no reason for the IRST software to recognize or list an NVMe SSD. Both versions of the SM951 (AHCI and NVMe) have their own controller built into the SSD. SATA SSDs do not have their own controller, so they must use the Intel SATA controller in the Z97 chipset.

(The controller I'm referring to is not the standard SSD controller found in all SSDs.)

You'll find an independent entry in Device Manager for your SM951, whether AHCI or NVMe. Your SM951 is using the Win 10 native NVMe driver, that is normal. You sure don't want it to be using an AHCI driver, since it is an NVMe device. Not that it could use an AHCI driver.

The AHCI SM951 is also not recognized by the Intel SATA controller for the same general reasons.

Your board also has four SATA ports provided by two ASMedia 1061 SATA controllers. Would any drives connected to those SATA ports be shown in the IRST list of drives? No, they are separate SATA controllers.

The only thing that seems off is the SM951 not being seen in the Ultra M.2 slot. My AHCI SM951 is shown in the UEFI on my Z97 Extreme6 board, so perhaps it is the NVMe aspect of your SM951 that causes that... if that really is the case.




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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 16 Aug 2015 at 3:49am
Thanks for the reply

I have discovered why I cannot see the CSM option
On the Boot screen the Fast Boot option is set to FAST
When this is selected the CSM option disapears
Changing Fast Boot option to "Disabled" the CSM option appears
Since everything is working well I have left the option at FAST

You are correct about the Device managers
Under Storage controllers is a Microsoft Standard NVM Express Controller
Not sure if there is any advantage/disadvantage in keeping Intel Rapid Storage (I wont be using RAID)

Shame Samsung Magician doesnt support SM951 better as it does not show health or usage info

thanks again




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Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 16 Aug 2015 at 11:18am
I keep forgetting that if CSM is Enabled, using Fast Boot will remove the CSM option.

The Intel Rapid Storage package has a SATA driver and the IRST UI that runs in Windows. The IRST driver is both a RAID and AHCI driver, Intel considers AHCI to be a feature subset of RAID. Is your SATA mode set to RAID in the UEFI/BIOS?

If you are using AHCI mode, then the IRST UI does not do much for you, except provide information about your drives. The IRST SATA driver is known to perform better than the standard generic Windows AHCI driver, which is msahci in Win 7, and storahci in Win 8 and beyond.

If you use even one standard SATA drive with that board and PC, keeping the IRST driver will provide better performance. You might have noticed in the Performance option in the IRST UI, the Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DSA) setting, which should also be a setting in the UEFI/BIOS Storage Configuration screen, to enable or disable it. DSA works as a performance and a power saving option. You may find the DSA option useful for power savings most of the time, and to increase storage IO performance at other times. DSA does not affect a SM951.

Samsung does not consider either type of SM951 or the earlier XP941 as standard retail products, and they really aren't. Warranty support for these products is normally the responsibility of the seller rather than Samsung. These SSDs are meant for use in high performance laptop PCs, and the laptop manufacture provides warranty support for them to the customer.

Since these SSDs are not retail products (try and find them among Samsung's SSD information on their website) Samsung does not believe they should be supported by the Magician software. The same goes for Samsung's enterprise SSDs, like the 845DC EVO or 845DC Pro, which are also not supported in the Magician software. The 845DC (Data Center) SSDs have their own software similar to the Magician. But the SM951 and XP941 do not.


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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 16 Aug 2015 at 4:38pm
My Extreme6 is set to AHCI for SATA - I think I will leave the Intel Rapid Storage installed for now

All I would like from the Magician software is health and wear information - I've not found an alternative, but as this is new hardware I'm sure as NVMe use takes off something will become available.

Thanks again parsec


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Ian


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 16 Aug 2015 at 5:04pm
My SM951 (NVMe) is in the mail (thank you to IanJM for the good URL) and now I hope to do a little future proofing and find either a x8 or x16 PCIe 3.0/M.2 adapter card without software bloating or drivers. So far I've just seen x4 with Addonics and Lycom but I figure this tech may have a little more to offer later on than even the current 2150 read speed benches. If you have clocked yours at 2K and have 4,8, or 16 lane M.2 to PCIe 3.0 adapter card I'd love to check that gear. Any opinions or knowledge on this would be cool too. 


Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2015 at 2:29pm
Hi to all,
I am a newbie on this forum and this is my first post. I hope I am in the right thread!
I am gathering components for my new build which will include the new z170 extreme 7+ motherboard. I plan on running 2 x Titan X in sli (WC), i7 6700K CPU, + 2 x Samsung SM951 ACHI pci-e 3 x4 SSD drives. First question is, can I run both Titan x's in sli + 1 or 2 x SM951's pci-e on this motherboard? Secondly, can I run the SM951's in raid 0 as my boot drive?
I appreciate any advice given.


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2015 at 2:44pm
I know the big tech heads are gonna answer your questions but since you mentioned sm951s, I wondered if you are tracking the newer NVMe models incorporate more advanced technology and speed? Model numbers differ by a V instead of H. Google nvme vs ahci, there's tons of reviews right now all over cuz its new stuff kinda to consumers. I have new build myself and just got done with tons of research and where to order.


Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2015 at 5:10pm
Hi Robman1,
Yes, I have also done a bit of research on those drives. Where the nvme excels is in 4k, otherwise they are quite even. Problem is, I already have one of the sm951 (AHCI) drives on the way.  And the nvme card is scarce. I did see one on ebay.ca from Italy for around $700 Canadian + shipping.


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2015 at 5:19pm
Originally posted by IanJM IanJM wrote:

I am in the UK and bought my SM951 NVMe 256Gb form the link below
They do post world wide - for the UK I had free next day before 1Pm postage - excellent service

http://www.flexxmemory.co.uk/categories/solid-state-drives-ssd/samsung-sm951-m-2-ngff-pcie-solid-state-drive-ssd/nvme-version.html?sort=pricedesc

128GB= $120, 256GB=$199-$215


Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 18 Aug 2015 at 5:47pm
Thanks Rob,
I forgot to mention that I have the 512Gb version on the way. I did check out Flexx and they will notify me when they are back in stock. (512Gb version). They are much cheaper than the ones from Italy. Thanks again :-).


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2015 at 2:09pm
Don't worry Smooth, its frustrating at times cuz our questions don't generally get attention on weekends but you have to realize the techs don't really work weekends and have families etc... I'm sure you will get a response during the next five workdays. I am really interested in the motherboard you mentioned and reasons behind your build. Can you tell me about it and why you chose it? Here is my build at pcpartpicker.com - I actually paid $900.76 with rebates and newegg promo codes.
https://pcpartpicker.com/parts/partlist/


Posted By: Xaltar
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2015 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by Smoothhead61 Smoothhead61 wrote:

Hi to all,
I am a newbie on this forum and this is my first post. I hope I am in the right thread!
I am gathering components for my new build which will include the new z170 extreme 7+ motherboard. I plan on running 2 x Titan X in sli (WC), i7 6700K CPU, + 2 x Samsung SM951 ACHI pci-e 3 x4 SSD drives. First question is, can I run both Titan x's in sli + 1 or 2 x SM951's pci-e on this motherboard? Secondly, can I run the SM951's in raid 0 as my boot drive?
I appreciate any advice given.

Hi and welcome to the forums Smile

Some quick research on the subject yielded this:

Quote Aside from DDR4 support, the most exciting improvement to Z170 Express is an increased number of PCIe lanes. Z170 now supports a total of 20 PCI-Express lanes at the PCH in conjunction with the CPU?s 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes for a platform total of 36

http://www.hardocp.com/article/2015/08/12/intel_z170_chipset_summary#.VdQkdfmqpBc" rel="nofollow - Source

If this info is correct you should have plenty of PCIe lanes to support your config. HardOCP is usually fairly reliable with their information so I would suspect that it is.

Let us know how it all works once you have the components set up. It should be an amazingly fast system, good luck with your build! Thumbs Up


Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 19 Aug 2015 at 5:38pm
Thanks to you all for your support, much appreciated,
 
Xaltar,
That is great, 36 lanes. Now I feel a lot better. I am very excited about the build and can hardly wait to get started. Most of the parts have been delivered, just waiting on a few bits and pieces. This is my first Asrock motherboard so that in itself is exciting.
 
Robman1,
I tried looking up your build on pcpartpicker.com but it just brought me to the Parts list page. I would like to see it. The reason I have chosen the Extreme 7+ is that it is a high end board that has many offerings such as 3 x M.2 Ultra slots, 6th generation CPU, USB 3.1 a/c,......and a great looking board. I plan on calling this build 'Black Gold'. Below is the basic rundown.
- Lian Li - PC-O7S Wall mountable case
- Asrock Extreme 7+ Motherboard
- Intel i7 6700K CPU (WC)
- Corsair Plantinum 64gb (4x16) 3000mhz Dual channel memory
- Titan X (SC) x 2 SLI (WC)
- EK Water cooling blocks, pump, reservoir.
- Black Ice Nemesis 360GTS radiator (30mm)
- EK-Vardar F4-120ER - Black (2200rpm) fans x 3
- Noctua NF-A14 PWM 140mm Case Fan for rear x 1
- PETG tubing
- EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 1200W 80 Plus Platinum PSU
- Samsung 512GB SM951 AHCI M.2 SATA III 80mm PCIe x 2 (Raid 0)
- 4TB Black Hard Drive, SATA III w/ 64MB Cache
- Asus PB287Q 28" 4k UHD Monitor
 
I will post again once I've got it built.
Thanks again :-)


Posted By: GuruNot
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2015 at 3:22am
Originally posted by robman1 robman1 wrote:

I know the big tech heads are gonna answer your questions but since you mentioned sm951s, I wondered if you are tracking the newer NVMe models incorporate more advanced technology and speed? Model numbers differ by a V instead of H. Google nvme vs ahci, there's tons of reviews right now all over cuz its new stuff kinda to consumers. I have new build myself and just got done with tons of research and where to order.


Just joined the Forum as I have just bought my first ASRock Board, prior to this I have always been ASUS and Prior to the ABit.

I have just done my new build and can confirm that the 512GB NVMe version of the SM951 , Part Number: MZVPV512HDGL-00000 works fine as a boot drive under Windows 10 on an X99 WS with version 1.70 of the bios.

I (eventually) did a clean build with a Windows 10 USB Pen straight on to it.


Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 20 Aug 2015 at 4:12am
That's great news GuruNot :-), I'm curious if one could run 2 x SM951's in Raid 0 as a boot drive.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 22 Aug 2015 at 12:40pm
Originally posted by Smoothhead61 Smoothhead61 wrote:

That's great news GuruNot :-), I'm curious if one could run 2 x SM951's in Raid 0 as a boot drive.


You're on the leading edge yourself with that question, and configuration. Actually, the bleeding edge may be more appropriate.

We've seen ASRock demonstrate a RAID 0 array of Intel 750 SSDs in RAID 0, but not as a boot drive. There are new UEFI options that must be used and set in order to create the RAID 0 array. That is in the last 1/3 to 1/4 of the video, which I highly suggest you watch to get an idea of how it works:

http://www.asrock.com/news/index.asp?id=2890" rel="nofollow - http://www.asrock.com/news/index.asp?id=2890

The Skylake platform is so new, very few people have experience with it. Add to that combining multiple M.2 PCIe SSDs in the newly available RAID option for that type of SSDs, and we will be asking you if it is possible to boot from a RAID 0 array of M.2 PCIe SSDs.

It worries me a bit that nothing was said about the ability to use an M.2 PCIe SSD RAID array as an OS/boot drive, since we know that will be the first question once the RAID capability is available. Perhaps that is not possible yet, and Intel will add that capability in a future driver update.

In the USA, Skylake processors are difficult to purchase, the only ONE available is the i5-6600K. We won't see i7-6700Ks in the USA until 8/31/15.

Given that, and the fact my favorite local PC component retailer does not have any ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ boards in stock, my Skylake build is on hold for a while. Since many people are waiting for the i7-6700K in the USA, the Skylake user base is still very small. Subtract from that the subset of users that are trying to RAID 0 M.2 PCIe SSDs, that are still not easy to find everywhere, and you are one of the pioneers in that area. Beer

If a RAID 0 array of M.2 AHCI PCIe SSDs functions in the same general manner as SATA SSDs, then the 4K random read speed will be reduced relative to a single M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD. The benchmark shown in the ASRock video supports that theory of mine, as it showed ~34MB/s for three Intel 750 SSDs, which is lower than the best SATA III single SSDs. The Intel 750 is known to have poor 4K random read performance, but the trend in 4K read speed will be the same with the SM951, unless a miracle occurs.

I mention this because you won't be gaining performance in booting Windows. A RAID 0 array of AHCI SM951s will not boot faster than a single SM951, due to the reduction in 4K random read speed normally seen in RAID 0 arrays of SSDs.


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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 22 Aug 2015 at 12:43pm
Originally posted by Smoothhead61 Smoothhead61 wrote:

Hi to all,
I am a newbie on this forum and this is my first post. I hope I am in the right thread!
I am gathering components for my new build which will include the new z170 extreme 7+ motherboard. I plan on running 2 x Titan X in sli (WC), i7 6700K CPU, + 2 x Samsung SM951 ACHI pci-e 3 x4 SSD drives. First question is, can I run both Titan x's in sli + 1 or 2 x SM951's pci-e on this motherboard? Secondly, can I run the SM951's in raid 0 as my boot drive?
I appreciate any advice given.


Yes, with each running in x8 mode.


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Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 22 Aug 2015 at 1:52pm
BitFenix Pandora w/ICON Core Window Micro ATX Case
ASRock Z97M OC Formula Motherboard
intel i5-4690K CPU
G. Skill RipjawsX Series 8gb (2x4gb) DDR3 1866mhz Dual channel memory
PowerColor Radeon R9 285 2gb TurboDuo Video card
DEEPCOOL Gamer Storm GABRIEL 120mm low profile CPU heatsink-modded with Cooler Master Jetflo blue led 120mm PWM CPU cooler fan
BitFenix Spectre  120mm fans (x2) front intake 
Cooler Master Blue LED 120mm fans R4-L2S-122B-GB 39.8 CFM (x2) front intake stacker fans
Cooler Master Jetflo blue led 120mm PWM CPU cooler fan (x1) top air exhaust/exit
EVGA SuperNOVA GS 650W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX PSU
Samsung 128gb SM951 NVMe M.2 SSD
Addonics M.2 to PCIe 3.0 x4 adapter card
APEVIA Case speaker
Total:  $775 (including sales and rebates)

Still need a badass monitor approximately $150 (17 to 24 inches) I had to send back an ASUS that said 1080 but wasn't crisp at all. Also, I have a WIN 8.1 PRO product key from previous PC but unsure how to start a WIN 10 PRO clean install on new build. Can I just connect LAN CAT 6 and download new BIOS without OS installed?



Posted By: Smoothhead61
Date Posted: 22 Aug 2015 at 4:36pm
Great build Rob, especially for that price. You must have been doing some wheeling and dealing :-)


Posted By: robman1
Date Posted: 23 Aug 2015 at 7:30am
Thanx, I had friends get newegg accounts, $25 off $200 orders x3 friends accounts=$75 savings there + $70 in rebates=$145 savings. Every vital component is 5 star reviewed by majority too. 

Just waiting on my SM951 NVMe Addonics M.2 to PCIe 3.0 x4 adapter from Amazon but I'm gonna use the M.2 slot temporarily to try and figure out getting WIN 10 Pro on the machine right now and get functional. If anyone has advice on getting a clean install for WIN 10 Pro on new build with nothing but a WIN 8.1 Pro product key- I would REALLY be appreciative. 


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 23 Aug 2015 at 2:26pm
Originally posted by robman1 robman1 wrote:

Thanx, I had friends get newegg accounts, $25 off $200 orders x3 friends accounts=$75 savings there + $70 in rebates=$145 savings. Every vital component is 5 star reviewed by majority too. 

Just waiting on my SM951 NVMe Addonics M.2 to PCIe 3.0 x4 adapter from Amazon but I'm gonna use the M.2 slot temporarily to try and figure out getting WIN 10 Pro on the machine right now and get functional. If anyone has advice on getting a clean install for WIN 10 Pro on new build with nothing but a WIN 8.1 Pro product key- I would REALLY be appreciative. 


Nothing but a Windows 8.1 product key? As in no Windows 8.1 Pro installation media?

As long as the  8.1 Pro product key is not being used on another PC, you can search the Internet for "Windows 8.1 ISO download". Preferably get the ISO from Microsoft itself, ~4GB download, I've done that several times.

Once you have the download folder, go into the folder and select all the files, left click and choose Mount. Then left click and select Send to... and choose a USB flash drive you have in the PC, no larger than 32GB, no smaller then 8GB. The files will be copied to the USB flash drive and that becomes your installation media which you boot from to install Windows. It then must be activated.

The downside to the Windows 10 "free upgrade" is it costs you the product key from the Windows installation that MUST exist for the upgrade to applied. A special Windows Update must be applied to the Windows (7, 8, or 8.1) installation to schedule the Win 10 upgrade. An icon appears after that update is installed which is used to start the upgrade procedure.

I was disappointed that it is not simply possible to download a Win 10 ISO, and use the product key from a Win 7, 8, or 8.1 disk I have towards a Win 10 installation. The "free" Win 10 upgrade cannot be done any other way. Censored


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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 27 Aug 2015 at 6:31pm
Hi

Its possible to download Windows iso using a generic key to get your download
You will then be able to download the iso - you will need another key to activate
Google "windows 8 generic key"

If you have upgraded to windows 10 its possible to download the iso to install on another machine
I did this a few days ago and had no problem

Ian


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Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 28 Aug 2015 at 12:57am
Originally posted by IanJM IanJM wrote:

Hi

Its possible to download Windows iso using a generic key to get your download
You will then be able to download the iso - you will need another key to activate
Google "windows 8 generic key"

If you have upgraded to windows 10 its possible to download the iso to install on another machine
I did this a few days ago and had no problem

Ian


How did you activate Win 10 on the other PC using the ISO file installation?

I know you can do a clean install of Win 10 using the ISO file AFTER the PC has the Win 10 upgrade installation on it, without any problems. But activating the Win 10 ISO installation on another PC, what key do you use?


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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 28 Aug 2015 at 1:26am
You dont need a key if the PC has windows 7 or 8.1 registered on it - its a free update

For a free upgrade to Windows to it must be done on windows 7 or 8.1 and is upto date on updates - part of the update registers the PC's identity with microsoft - no key is required. 

I think you can use the downloaded iso to do the upgrade, but I would do a backup first just in case it fails.  After the PC has been upgraded you can then do a clean install and Microsoft will recognise that the PC is already registered.

If the PC is a new self build or has an older version of windows you will need to buy a licence key - possibly cheaper at present to buy a 7 or 8.1 key but you will need to install 7 or 8.1 before upgrading to 10




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Ian


Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 28 Aug 2015 at 5:41pm
Just a note to say that my SM951 NVMe 256Gb is still realy impressing me

I have now updated from legacy BIOS to UEFI and boot times are now much faster
Update was fairly straight forward - there is several ways shown on the net but I did the simple way.
Clean install of UEFI Windows 10 pro x64 onto the SM951 and then replaced the C partition with my upgraded version from my legacy Samsung 240.

Only downside so far is that the standard rescue boot CDs for Acronis TI 2015 and Paragon HDM 15 dont see the MVMe drives - I had to create Windows PE versions.


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Ian


Posted By: trans am
Date Posted: 01 Sep 2015 at 8:18am
I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



Posted By: crazyb24
Date Posted: 01 Sep 2015 at 10:48am
So just for the heck of it, I am attempting to make 2 SM951 (non nvme) drives work as a bootable RAID0. No success yet, however I have noticed that when the array is set up in the BIOS that it is reported as "Bootable - Yes" in the status screen. The problem starts with attempting to get Windows to install. The RAID0 drive does not appear and attempting to load the Intel IRST driver causes the system to lock up and results in a powder blue screen of OOPS. Kinda frustrating. I would like to see it work.

If anyone has any ideas on what to try next I am open to suggestions!


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 1:10am
Originally posted by crazyb24 crazyb24 wrote:

So just for the heck of it, I am attempting to make 2 SM951 (non nvme) drives work as a bootable RAID0. No success yet, however I have noticed that when the array is set up in the BIOS that it is reported as "Bootable - Yes" in the status screen. The problem starts with attempting to get Windows to install. The RAID0 drive does not appear and attempting to load the Intel IRST driver causes the system to lock up and results in a powder blue screen of OOPS. Kinda frustrating. I would like to see it work.

If anyone has any ideas on what to try next I am open to suggestions!


You must be using an ASRock Z170 board, but which one? Should be the Z170 Extreme7+.

During the Windows installation (which version, 7, 8, 10?) you are loading the IRST driver, but which version?

ASRock does not seem to include the "F6 Floppy" 14.5 driver on the Win 10 download page, but it is listed in the Win 8.1 download page. (I wish Intel would stop using the "F6" and "Floppy" terms for that driver, that is a carry over from the XP days!)

You must use the F6 driver for loading during the Windows installation.

Intel now has IRST version 14.6 available, with the F6 and Windows driver package available. They have removed 14.5, so I highly recommend you use 14.6, available here:

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

You mentioned you used the IRST utility in the UEFI/BIOS to create the RAID 0 array. Do you have CSM disabled? That was required with Z97 and earlier chipset boards to include the utility in the UEFI. That may have changed in the Z170 boards UEFI (I must get one of these!!)

If CSM is enabled, you must set Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only to allow booting from a PCIe M.2 drive, or RAID array.

Sorry, but I have no idea if you know about all this and have already done these things. We are still not 100% certain a RAID 0 array of PCIe M.2 SSD (AHCI or NVMe) can be bootable. I hope it works, we are at the mercy of the Intel IRST driver! Confused





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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 1:36am
Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.


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Posted By: trans am
Date Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 9:14am
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.

THanks Parsec!  That is excatly what I needed from you!  I know its not pcie ssd.  you knew what I meant.   now heres a question.  if i have all 3 m.2 slots populated it says it shares the same bus the other sata ports.  I only need 2 sata ports for my backup 7200. drives.  I have a 3 tb hitachi and a samsung 2tb. 7200 black.  Will i be able to use these still and which sata ports do I need to plug them into?  by the way, thanks again for the quick reply and I am proud to have an asrock motherboard.  I have a z77 mitx asrock board i made for my coworker and she loves it and has never had any issues.  THis is my first actual asrock board for myself and ive heard nothing but great things in the past 5 years.  http://s239.photobucket.com/user/jackalsmith/media/a5bb515a-7d5f-4dbd-92aa-22660d1f9178_zps49gqzdiw.gif.html" rel="nofollow">



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xtremesystems.org USA team member


Posted By: crazyb24
Date Posted: 02 Sep 2015 at 12:41pm
Thanks parsec, I do have the Extreme 7+ and unfortunately I have tried the 14.6 driver from Intel with no luck (F6 package). I did have Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only as you suggested but I do not think I turned off CSM completely. With the Extreme 7+, the option to set up the RAID array is not available until UEFI Only is selected.

I am stumped but am wondering if the current IRST driver is not compatible. The good news is that the BIOS reports that the array is bootable and I am hoping it is just a driver issue.


Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 12:13am
Noticed that ASROCK has a new BIOS available today for the Extreme 7+

On my Z97 Extreme6 Windows 10 SM951 NVMe will work on both Legacy and UEFI BIOS as a boot drive
I have IRST 14.5 installed and it does not see the SM951 - it is using a Windows driver



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Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 1:35am
Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

Originally posted by trans am trans am wrote:

I was going to create a new thread but I am new and I think this is the right place to ask this question:
I just bought an Asrock 170 OC formula.  Does this board support nvme m.2 drives and if not will a future bios update make it capable of nvme?  The reason I ask is because I am still waiting to get my 6770k and havent bought any m.2 drives.  I was looking at the new samsung sm951 nvme drives but I am not sure if the board will support them.  I would rather get them over the sm951 m.2 sata3 drives.  so  kindly let me know so I know what I should purchase.  :)

many thanks! 



The Z170 OC Formula, and all ASRock Z170 boards are compatible with NVMe SSDs out of the box. Clap

IF these boards have NVMe compatibility issues, which I highly doubt, they will have UEFI updates to fix it.

One potential issue for you is the version of Windows you will be using. Windows 10 has a native NVMe driver which is essential if you want to use an NVMe SSD. I can't recall if Win 8.1 has that driver or not. Embarrassed

Another potential issue when using the Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD version, is the Windows NVMe driver. It works, but reviews of the NVMe SM951 found write performance issues caused by that driver. I'm not trying to scare you away from this SSD, just an FYI. Geek

The status of updates to the Windows NVMe driver is unknown to me at this time.

Another FYI, the AHCI SM951 is not a SATA III SSD, it is a PCIe SSD whose speed is far beyond that of any SATA III SSD.

THanks Parsec!  That is excatly what I needed from you!  I know its not pcie ssd.  you knew what I meant.   now heres a question.  if i have all 3 m.2 slots populated it says it shares the same bus the other sata ports.  I only need 2 sata ports for my backup 7200. drives.  I have a 3 tb hitachi and a samsung 2tb. 7200 black.  Will i be able to use these still and which sata ports do I need to plug them into?  by the way, thanks again for the quick reply and I am proud to have an asrock motherboard.  I have a z77 mitx asrock board i made for my coworker and she loves it and has never had any issues.  THis is my first actual asrock board for myself and ive heard nothing but great things in the past 5 years.  http://s239.photobucket.com/user/jackalsmith/media/a5bb515a-7d5f-4dbd-92aa-22660d1f9178_zps49gqzdiw.gif.html" rel="nofollow">



According to the specs for your board, as I think you know, the M2 slots share lanes with the Intel SATA3 ports. So if all the M2 slots are in use, as you are doing, none of the Intel SATA3 ports will be available. Another thought about that shortly...

Your board also has two ASMedia 1061 SATA chips, providing four SATA ports total. You can use those for your backup HDDs. You can install the ASMedia SATA driver for those chipsets, or use the native Windows AHCI driver which should be installed automatically when you install Windows.

Back to the M.2 slots, and some explanation. There are two types of M.2 SSDs, PCIe and SATA. Your SM951 SSDs are the PCIe type. I use a SM951 on my ASRock Z97 Extreme6 board. The Ultra M.2 slot on my Z97 board, when used with a PCIe SSD like the SM951, does not share lanes with the Intel SATA III ports.

That fact, and the specs of the Z170 OC Formula board, leaves me not 100% sure if the Intel SATA ports will not be useable when PCIe SSDs are used in the M.2 slots.

If you had SATA M.2 SSDs in all the M.2 slots, then I would agree that the Intel SATA ports would not be available, due to being shared. It surprises me that (if) PCIe SSDs in the M.2 slots will also use the lanes used by the Intel SATA ports. That could simply be a difference in the design of the Z170 chipset vs the Z97 chipset. The specs for your board say that is the case, but I don't have personal experience with this (I must get one of these boards!!!)

You can easily test this yourself. The Storage Configuration screen in the UEFI might also show what happens when three SM951s are used in the board.

Actually now that I checked the PCIe lane allocation for video cards on your board, I think the specs are correct for both PCIe and SATA M.2 SSDs. The Z97 boards use PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU for the Ultra M.2 slot, the Z170 boards do not share PCIe 3.0 lanes provided by the CPU with the M.2 slots.

So you'll need to use the ASMedia SATA ports for your HDDs, but that's why they are added to your board. Using three SM951s is rather extreme, but the tradeoff is worth it. Thumbs Up


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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 1:42am
Originally posted by IanJM IanJM wrote:

Noticed that ASROCK has a new BIOS available today for the Extreme 7+

On my Z97 Extreme6 Windows 10 SM951 NVMe will work on both Legacy and UEFI BIOS as a boot drive
I have IRST 14.5 installed and it does not see the SM951 - it is using a Windows driver



That is normal for a Z97 board. My AHCI SM951 is the same way on my Z97 board. Both SM951s have their own equivalent of a SATA or NVMe controller in the SSD itself, and the standard Windows drivers will be installed on these SSDs. Since they use a different controller, and are not SATA drives, they don't use the Intel SATA controller and won't be recognized by the IRST driver.

The Z170 chipset adds features that allow it to be used with IRST and RAID.


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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 03 Sep 2015 at 3:05pm
Originally posted by crazyb24 crazyb24 wrote:

Thanks parsec, I do have the Extreme 7+ and unfortunately I have tried the 14.6 driver from Intel with no luck (F6 package). I did have Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only as you suggested but I do not think I turned off CSM completely. With the Extreme 7+, the option to set up the RAID array is not available until UEFI Only is selected.

I am stumped but am wondering if the current IRST driver is not compatible. The good news is that the BIOS reports that the array is bootable and I am hoping it is just a driver issue.


How are you formatting the RAID 0 array? Do you let Windows do it by clicking New on the same screen where you select Load Driver? These are all in the Custom Installation option screen.

I've found, at least with SATA SSDs, non-RAID or RAID 0, and my AHCI SM951, allowing Windows to format the OS volume works.

I use an "EFI Booting" configuration for Windows, where you set CSM to Disabled. You are not required to do this when using PCIe SSDs, but I prefer to install Windows in this way. Using the Launch Storage OpROM Policy set to UEFI Only (CSM Enabled) gives you a similar but not quite identical result.

After loading the F6 driver (do NOT remove the USB drive that has the F6 driver on it until the Windows installation is completely done, meaning booting into Win 10 for the first time) and deleting any existing partitions on the OS volume, click on New to format the volume. You should get one message about formatting the volume, just click Ok. When the format completes you should see something similar to this displayed:



Ignore the Unallocated space, in this example the entire capacity of the volume was not used for the OS installation.

You should see something like this, and the volume will be GPT formatted by the Windows installer, which is essential for it to work. Windows is installed on the Primary Partition.

If you set CSM to Disabled before you start the Windows installation, the OS volume formatting should work automatically by clicking New. But in order to run the PC with CSM disabled, your video source must be (what is called) "GOP" compatible. The Intel iGPU is GOP compatible, but only newer video cards are GOP compatible, and some need a VBIOS update first. What video card/source do you use?

The IRST 14.6 driver is the best we have for working with RAID 0 arrays of PCIe SSDs. ASRock used an earlier version to create a RAID 0 volume of three Intel 750 SSDs. ASRock has a YouTube video about the Z170 boards, and how they created the RAID 0 volume from the '750s. Scroll down to the bottom of this page:

http://www.asrock.com/news/index.us.asp?id=2890" rel="nofollow - http://www.asrock.com/news/index.us.asp?id=2890

I think you are not getting the formatting right and/or removing the USB flash drive with the F6 driver to soon. What are you using as the Win 10 installation media?




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Posted By: crazyb24
Date Posted: 04 Sep 2015 at 8:44am
OK!! I have solved the problem. I have an ASUS optical drive that was connected to the ASMedia SATA port. I did some research and discovered that the optical drive can cause issues with Windows installs and the recommendation was to unplug it. As an experiment, I moved the drive to SATA 3_4 (since M2_3) is not used in my configuration. All my issues cleared up and I was able to use the F6 IRST driver during the install without any issues.

I am now typing this on a fully functioning PC with a RAID0 PCIE drive!!

I hope this experience helps someone else if they run into the same issue. Days of grief over a damn optical drive.


Posted By: markfasrock
Date Posted: 06 Sep 2015 at 11:00pm
I've searched the forum and sorry if I've missed the solution in someone's post. I have a new (yesterday) ASRock Extreme 6/3.1 board, with Intel i7-4790K, and Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD (512GB AHCI MZHPV512HDGL-00000). Setup was straight forward, M.2 installed in the Ultra M.2 connector, Windows 8.1 installed, system boots just fine.  Knowing in advance of the thermal throttling issues (which I have now demonstrated for myself) with the SM951, I also ordered picked up a couple PCIe 3.0 4-Lane adapter cards ("Micro SATA Cables M.2 (NGFF) PCIe SSD M Key to PCIe X4 w/heat sink" and "Addonics M2 PCIe SSD - PCIe 3.0 4-Lane adapter"). The plan is to dedicate a cooling fan to the M.2 SSD.
My issue is that when installing the M.2 in either of the adapter boards the system does not see the M.2 SSD; no boot drive present.  Note, the UEFI Tools, System Browser reports the slot is populated with an "AHCI Controller".
Seeing what looks like success for others with this setup and the Extreme6 board, I installed the latest Extreme 6/3.1 UEFI (version 1.30) from ASRock; no luck.
Anyone have success with this configuration?  Is the UEFI for the Extreme6/3.1 behind what's available in the Extreme6?


Posted By: Potter
Date Posted: 07 Sep 2015 at 12:23am
Hi Guys!
 
First of all, Sorry for my bad English! I have an X99 Extreme4/3.1 motherboard, and i use SM951 (MZHPV....) ssd for os. My question is.: Where i can find in bios that option where i can switch M.2 slot to Gen3 mode? Becuse in win 10 i use ssd-z and that says to me, it running on SATA3. But this device is for PCI express x4 GEN 3.
my bios is the latest version, but i see in the x99 extreme4 edition is have a newer version bios. Can i use that bios for x99 Extreme4/3.1 motherboad? If Not, and if not yet available option to switch Ultra M.2 to Gen3 then when will that bios update coming?

Thanx for the help, and the answere!
Bye
Charles


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2015 at 3:22pm
Originally posted by Potter Potter wrote:

Hi Guys!
 
First of all, Sorry for my bad English! I have an X99 Extreme4/3.1 motherboard, and i use SM951 (MZHPV....) ssd for os. My question is.: Where i can find in bios that option where i can switch M.2 slot to Gen3 mode? Becuse in win 10 i use ssd-z and that says to me, it running on SATA3. But this device is for PCI express x4 GEN 3.
my bios is the latest version, but i see in the x99 extreme4 edition is have a newer version bios. Can i use that bios for x99 Extreme4/3.1 motherboad? If Not, and if not yet available option to switch Ultra M.2 to Gen3 then when will that bios update coming?

Thanx for the help, and the answere!
Bye
Charles


SSD-Z is wrong!  There is no switch needed to change the Ultra M.2 slot to PCIe 3.0, it will run that way automatically when an SM951 is connected to it.

SSD-Z is not able to detect PCIe SSDs correctly, which is true for most if not all hardware monitoring programs.

I have an SM951 in a Z97 Extreme6 board, and there is no switch in the UEFI/BIOS to change from SATA to PCIe for the Ultra M.2 slot. The shape of the part of an M.2 SSD that goes into the M.2 slot is what tells the board if it is a PCIe or SATA SSD.

You can prove that your SM951 is using the PCIe 3.0 x4 connection by running a benchmark test on it, which should perform well above what a SATA SSD can do. For example, my SM951:



This test is CrystalDiskMark, you can download it free here: http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html" rel="nofollow - http://crystalmark.info/download/index-e.html

You cannot trust all the programs you can find, and notice that Windows 10 cannot tell you what type of SSD the SM951 is. I don't know of any program that will identify PCIe SSDs correctly. They are very new, and really not sold like regular SSDs are. Samsung does not show it among their SSDs on their website, and their own Magician software does not work with the SM951.

You have nothing to worry about, your SM951 is not operating as a SATA SSD.



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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 09 Sep 2015 at 3:49pm
Originally posted by markfasrock markfasrock wrote:

I've searched the forum and sorry if I've missed the solution in someone's post. I have a new (yesterday) ASRock Extreme 6/3.1 board, with Intel i7-4790K, and Samsung SM951 M.2 SSD (512GB AHCI MZHPV512HDGL-00000). Setup was straight forward, M.2 installed in the Ultra M.2 connector, Windows 8.1 installed, system boots just fine.  Knowing in advance of the thermal throttling issues (which I have now demonstrated for myself) with the SM951, I also ordered picked up a couple PCIe 3.0 4-Lane adapter cards ("Micro SATA Cables M.2 (NGFF) PCIe SSD M Key to PCIe X4 w/heat sink" and "Addonics M2 PCIe SSD - PCIe 3.0 4-Lane adapter"). The plan is to dedicate a cooling fan to the M.2 SSD.
My issue is that when installing the M.2 in either of the adapter boards the system does not see the M.2 SSD; no boot drive present.  Note, the UEFI Tools, System Browser reports the slot is populated with an "AHCI Controller".
Seeing what looks like success for others with this setup and the Extreme6 board, I installed the latest Extreme 6/3.1 UEFI (version 1.30) from ASRock; no luck.
Anyone have success with this configuration?  Is the UEFI for the Extreme6/3.1 behind what's available in the Extreme6?


It's strange that it does not boot from the those cards, although the Addonics card is the only one I found that was reviewed by a pro site (TweakTown) and they said it was bootable.

If you checked the System Browser when the SM951 is in the M.2 slot, it also is shown as AHCI Controller, that is normal.

I wonder about your comment about a straight forward installation of Windows on your SM951, it normally requires either one of two possible modifications to the default CSM option setting. Unless you are leaving out some details.

Personally I have zero issues with thermal throttling with my SM951. Mines at 34C currently, usually five to eight degrees C above the temperature of 2.5" SATA SSDs. How does yours get to the throttling temperature of 80C?

These SSDs were originally meant for use in laptop PCs, and not sold for desktop usage. Considering the virtually zero ventilation in laptops, Samsung was not concerned with thermal throttling. If it is covered by a video card that exhausts its heat into the PC case, then it will be in a hot environment.




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Posted By: markfasrock
Date Posted: 11 Sep 2015 at 3:19am
Thanks for the reply parsec. Yes, for the install I skipped the details. Looking at tweaktown and elsewhere I've seen reference to success getting a system to boot off the M.2 SSD in an Addonics card in a Z97 Express6 (not Z97 Express6/3.1) board, but only after installing what sounds like a beta bios release.  The Express6 and Express6/3.1 boards do not use the same bios so I'm imagining that I also need an update with similar changes that were made for the Express6 board. Make sense?


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 11 Sep 2015 at 12:28pm
I can't recall which UEFI version I used when I began using my SM951, in the older Z97 Extreme6 board. Why all the improvements for that board would not be adopted for the Z97 Extreme6/3.1 board, I don't know. But they may not have been. Ouch

I was trying to say skip the add on card and just use the ultra M.2 slot.

If you are using the PCIE5 slot for the Addonics card, that uses PCIe 2.0 lanes from the Z97 chipset, is only x2, and won't work as a boot device as  PCIE2 and PCIE4 slots do.


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Posted By: markfasrock
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2015 at 12:32am
Yes, I agree that whatever was done for the Extreme6 should also be applied to the code for the Extreme6/3.1. Anyone from ASRock follow these discussions?
As for slots, I've tried both PCIE2 and PCIE4, no difference; not using PCIE5. For the moment I'm running in the Ultra M.2 (M2_1) slot which is great for performance with the SM951 (except when throttling happens). With the thermal characteristics of the SM951 being what they are, using a card with heatsink / fan is a must, so I cross my fingers that ASRock will help out.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2015 at 1:05am
I really think you are being overly concerned about the SM951 throttling. I've used mine for months in the Ultra M.2 slot and it has never throttled.

I use mine as an OS drive, and it is at 30C as I write this. I have my monitoring program (HWiNFO) set to display its temperature in red when it reaches 50C, and that has never happened. 50C is well below the throttling temperature of 80C, IIRC.

If you are thinking about the Anandtech review, where they run their "Killer" benchmark that takes hours to complete, that is not a realistic example of real world usage.


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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 12 Sep 2015 at 6:18pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

I really think you are being overly concerned about the SM951 throttling. I've used mine for months in the Ultra M.2 slot and it has never throttled.

I use mine as an OS drive, and it is at 30C as I write this. I have my monitoring program (HWiNFO) set to display its temperature in red when it reaches 50C, and that has never happened. 50C is well below the throttling temperature of 80C, IIRC.
Can't say that I have noticed any throttling on my boot NVMe drive.  However I don't have any software at present that will show its temperature.

Downloaded HWiNFO an impressive tool - however it does not show the temperature of my SM951 NVMe  in a ASRock extreme6 - no SMART data is shown and the drive data is minimal.  All the other drives on SATA3 connectors show comprehensive info.  
I also have installed Speedfan and that also does not see the drive at all

Anyone know of another package that might show what temperature my drives at




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Ian


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2015 at 1:12am
HWiNFO shows the temperature of my AHCI SM951, and has done that using any version I've used.

The latest full version, v5.04, claims to have added NVMe support, including SMART data. I can't verify that it works, of course.

The A-Tuning program for my Z97 Extreme6 board shows the AHCI SM951 temperature, but does not recognize two drives I have in a RAID 0 array. HWiNFO can read those drives individually.

If HWiNFO can't read your NVMe SM951, I doubt A-Tuning can, but who knows.


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Posted By: IanJM
Date Posted: 13 Sep 2015 at 10:02pm
A-Tuning shows that the ultra M.2 slot is populated but not what it is
Drive health only shows my two WD drives

HWiNFO is similar - sees the drive is there but only a small amount of info and no temperature or usage info.

Samsung Magician sees the drive but provides no info

I'll just have to hope that better support is available later.


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Ian


Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 1:14pm
Thanks to this thread I was able to install 3 SM951 in RAID0 using UEFI RST as a Windows 10 boot drive in my Z170 OC Formula.  I had to unplug my BD drive from the MB to avoid Windows 10 crashing when I tried to install the RST driver during initial Windows install.  Then I had to disable CSM in the UEFI to enable me to format and use he drive during Windows install.

The problem is now I'm not getting the sustained read performance performance I would expect from a 3 SM951 RAID0 setup.

AS SSD shows:
R:     990 MB/s
W: 1,987 MB/s

ATTO shows:
R:  1,983 MB/s
W: 2,356 MB/s

Samsung Magician shows:
R:  2,153 MB/s
W: 2,550 MB/s

These are all OK number but not great.  I'm running all the latest UEFI, drivers, etc.  I've played with the RST cache settings, no help.

Something strange is that UEFI and RST shows all 3 drives in the RAID the the size of the drive is correct but HWiNFO64 only shows two drives connected.

Suggestions?





Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 2:18pm
Originally posted by Ronzer Ronzer wrote:

Thanks to this thread I was able to install 3 SM951 in RAID0 using UEFI RST as a Windows 10 boot drive in my Z170 OC Formula.  I had to unplug my BD drive from the MB to avoid Windows 10 crashing when I tried to install the RST driver during initial Windows install.  Then I had to disable CSM in the UEFI to enable me to format and use he drive during Windows install.

The problem is now I'm not getting the sustained read performance performance I would expect from a 3 SM951 RAID0 setup.

AS SSD shows:
R:     990 MB/s
W: 1,987 MB/s

ATTO shows:
R:  1,983 MB/s
W: 2,356 MB/s

Samsung Magician shows:
R:  2,153 MB/s
W: 2,550 MB/s

These are all OK number but not great.  I'm running all the latest UEFI, drivers, etc.  I've played with the RST cache settings, no help.

Something strange is that UEFI and RST shows all 3 drives in the RAID the the size of the drive is correct but HWiNFO64 only shows two drives connected.

Suggestions?





First, are those AHCI SM951s, or NVMe? I'm guessing AHCI.

What version of the IRST driver are you using? Either the F6 driver or Windows IRST driver package?

Intel not long ago released IRST 14.6, that includes several highly important bug fixes I assume is in 14.5, although that is not clear in Intel's information. I'll let you read this yourself rather than me paraphrasing:

https://downloadmirror.intel.com/25165/eng/releasenotes_14_6.html" rel="nofollow - https://downloadmirror.intel.com/25165/eng/releasenotes_14_6.html

I literally sounds as if you are affected by at least one of the bugs in 14.5. I'm also concerned about the Option ROM version in your board. Intel has removed IRST 14.5 completely from their download pages, but 14.0 is still there. Here's IRST 14.6 for you to try:

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

Next question, which I should not be needing to ask you (I should know!), but do you have the Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DSA) option in the UEFI/BIOS of your board? I'm not sure if that exists in the Z170 boards with PCIe SSDs.

If you have the DSA option, and it is enabled, you can configure it in the IRST Windows UI.

Let us know if you did not use 14.6, or if you already do and still have this problem.




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Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 3:15pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


First, are those AHCI SM951s, or NVMe? I'm guessing AHCI.

What version of the IRST driver are you using? Either the F6 driver or Windows IRST driver package?

Intel not long ago released IRST 14.6, that includes several highly important bug fixes I assume is in 14.5, although that is not clear in Intel's information. I'll let you read this yourself rather than me paraphrasing:

https://downloadmirror.intel.com/25165/eng/releasenotes_14_6.html" rel="nofollow - https://downloadmirror.intel.com/25165/eng/releasenotes_14_6.html

I literally sounds as if you are affected by at least one of the bugs in 14.5. I'm also concerned about the Option ROM version in your board. Intel has removed IRST 14.5 completely from their download pages, but 14.0 is still there. Here's IRST 14.6 for you to try:

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

Next question, which I should not be needing to ask you (I should know!), but do you have the Dynamic Storage Accelerator (DSA) option in the UEFI/BIOS of your board? I'm not sure if that exists in the Z170 boards with PCIe SSDs.

If you have the DSA option, and it is enabled, you can configure it in the IRST Windows UI.

Let us know if you did not use 14.6, or if you already do and still have this problem.



They are AHCI, I couldn't find NVMe.  Can you order those now?

I used RST 14.6 for the F6 driver install and also for the desktop app once I got Windows running.

I haven't seen DSA in the Z170 UEFI or Windows RST app.




Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 3:39pm
No NVMe SM951s that I'm aware of, plus the Windows NVMe driver causes write issues the the NVMe SM951. Just checking which version you have.

I would not worry about HWiNFO not seeing all the drives in it display. Is that the Sensor Status display, or the System Summary display?

The read speed results are way off what they should be IMO. That might be an IRST bug, seriously. I don't know if 14.0 would work in RAID 0.

What size SM951s are you using?

My single SM951's read speed is much better in AS SSD.

Are you using a video card? Do you know what the PCIe power saving option in your Windows Power Plan is set to? You should check that.

I won't have my RAID 0 of two SM951s running until next week, so can't compare notes on that yet... but I will! Geek


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Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 16 Sep 2015 at 4:07pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:

No NVMe SM951s that I'm aware of, plus the Windows NVMe driver causes write issues the the NVMe SM951. Just checking which version you have.

I would not worry about HWiNFO not seeing all the drives in it display. Is that the Sensor Status display, or the System Summary display?

The read speed results are way off what they should be IMO. That might be an IRST bug, seriously. I don't know if 14.0 would work in RAID 0.

What size SM951s are you using?

My single SM951's read speed is much better in AS SSD.

Are you using a video card? Do you know what the PCIe power saving option in your Windows Power Plan is set to? You should check that.

I won't have my RAID 0 of two SM951s running until next week, so can't compare notes on that yet... but I will! Geek

HWiNFO shows two drives instead of three in both the system summary and the sensor status, though the beta is now crashing my computer.

I checked the UEFI, it's running RST 14.5 instead of 14.6.  I'm running the latest 1.4 BIOS so I guess I have to wait for ASRock to update it, I'm going to contact them about it.

I'm running 3 512GB SM951s and a 980 Ti video card.  1000W PS and water cooling for both the CPU & GPU.

Windows power mode is in "Samsung High Performance" for SSD, I installed it form Samsung Magician.







Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 1:03am
That Samsung power plan will change some things for the better for SSD performance, but it won't do anything for a PCIe SSD as far as I know.

I'm talking about this setting:



The other options are two levels of power savings. Given your video card, you might have this setting set to Off now, but it's worth checking.

Intel SATA Option ROMs can be changed in UEFI/BIOS updates. ASRock has done that for some boards.

I must say that I'm NOT certain that the 14.5 Option ROM is the problem. My SM951 is in a Z97 board with an IRST 13 Option ROM. I'm simply going by what Intel has done with IRST 14.6.

I'll be able to test myself next week, but probably not until Wednesday, 9/23.



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Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 9:55am
Yes, the Link State Power Management is off.

Here is my Crystal Disk Mark results:



Pretty crappy compared to:
http://www.legitreviews.com/samsung-sm951-m2-pcie-ssds-raid0-performance_161753/5


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 3:03pm
Thanks for posting the link to that review, very interesting and informative in many ways beyond just the comparison of your Crystal results to theirs. Several things to discuss.

Jumping ahead, take a look at page 2 of the review and the version of the IRST driver they used, in the second paragraph:

http://www.legitreviews.com/samsung-sm951-m2-pcie-ssds-raid0-performance_161753/2" rel="nofollow - http://www.legitreviews.com/samsung-sm951-m2-pcie-ssds-raid0-performance_161753/2

To quote: "We used Intel RST storage drivers, the exact version was 13.1.0.1058".

That shocked me initially, until I discovered their RAID 0 array was not an OS drive, it is the D: drive.

When I tried to install the F6 IRST driver during my Windows 8.1 installation on my SM951 used in my ASRock Z97 Extreme6 board, it would not install. That's when I learned you cannot install the IRST driver (at least a 13.x version) unless a SATA drive is connected to one of the Intel SATA ports.

I'm still surprised by their ability to create a RAID 0 array from the two SM951s. Where did they do it, in the Legacy IRST utility invoked with Ctrl I during POST? The UEFI IRST utility in the UEFI? Or in the IRST Windows program? Can't find that information in the review.

Back to my starting point, the test platform they used is utterly different than yours (and soon to be my own too.) An Asus X99 board with PCIe M.2 adapter cards in the PCIe slots. I suspect this might be a difference beyond the obvious, in the way the Z170 board is allocating resources versus an X99 board. No more details on that until I see my results on a Z170 board.

Did you ever run a benchmark on a single SM951? I doubt it, since you just jumped into creating the RAID 0 array and installing Windows, right? Makes sense but I wish we had that test. I'll be doing that myself, testing a single SM951 first.

My SM951 on my Z97 board, although a 256GB model,  is very close to their single drive results. I posted that in this thread on page 8, you may have seen that.

I could go on but not much point for now. I would suggest trying the other IRST driver, IRST 13.1.0.1058 is available on the Intel IRST download page. That still seems... bizarre IMO.

One thing I am very curious about is hard to explain, but I see it in the review with the AS SSD results. There is a lot that is unexplained and does not make sense. Also note the ATTO results were strange, I'm wondering the these benchmarks are not working correctly. You saw that yourself in your testing.

I'll give you a taste of the strangeness, AS SSD reports the driver being used in the information area on the left where it shows the test volume's capacity. The driver is storahci. That's the Microsoft generic AHCI driver. That is normal for a single SM951, it won't use the IRST driver which is a perfectly fine AHCI driver too.  But three in RAID 0 is still storahci? It would normally be iaStorA, the Intel IRST driver's name, iaStorA.sys, for any RAID array of SATA SSDs.

When I get my Z170 Extreme7+ system next week, we'll see what happens. I spent over an hour writing this post and checking things. Your results are driving me crazy... Wacko



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Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 4:21pm
The only version of Intel RST that shows as compatible with Windows 10 is 14.6, even if I try to manually install 13.1 on Windows 10 it wont take it.

I was never able to run benchmarks on a single SM951 as I didn't want to have to re-install Windows just to do that.

My CrystalDiskInfo only shows 2 SM951 drives (just like HWiNFO) instead of the 3 I have. The Legitreviews CrystalDiskInfo screenshot only shows 1 SM951 instead of the 2 they had installed.

I wonder if having 3 SM951 drives is screwing something up.  The problem is to that that I have to completely reinstall Windows.






Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 17 Sep 2015 at 11:50pm
I successfully installed Intel RST 13.1 on Windows 10, I had been trying to update the Disk Driver instead of the Storage Controller Driver.  Now Windows wont boot and I'm having to re-install.

I've got an issue open with ASRock.  

Appreciate all the help Parsec!


Posted By: TimH
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 3:00am
Ok looks like there are 2 of us doing this now. 

Since Ronzer is going the Windows 10 route. I will try Windows 7 and we can compare our benchmarks. Maybe something is broken in 10. 

My build is:
Asrock z170 OC Formula
i7 6700
3xSamsung951s 256GB (Raid 0 OS Boot)
32 gigs Ripjaws 4



Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 3:08am
Looking forward to seeing if it is just me :)


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 12:12pm
Originally posted by Ronzer Ronzer wrote:

I successfully installed Intel RST 13.1 on Windows 10, I had been trying to update the Disk Driver instead of the Storage Controller Driver.  Now Windows wont boot and I'm having to re-install.

I've got an issue open with ASRock.  

Appreciate all the help Parsec!


Thanks for the help but you must now reinstall Windows again?!?! Ouch  Dead

Earlier today I was thinking what if something like that happens. Sorry that happened, and I know you did that at your own risk... right... right?? Pinch Wink

As I told someone else that asked about using two SM951s, we are among the first to do this, and at the mercy of the hardware and software available. When I say that I'm referring to Intel, the manufacture of the Chipset, CPU, and IRST software.

I received my Skylake CPU, CPU cooler, and DDR4 memory today. Tomorrow I should have the Z170 Extreme7+ board and my second SM951. Knowing me I'll have that PC running by Sunday at the latest, if nothing goes wrong. I'm prepping the PC case and ready to mount the board.

For your technical reading pleasure, a few quotes from the IRST 14.6 Release Notes, specifically from the KNOWN ISSUES section, and my comments:

Intel RST driver v14.5.0.1059 cause BSOD Critical_Process_DIED during Sx (Windows 10-64)

Nuke Dead Clap

RAID0 created using legacy OROM missing metadata on one of the drives (Windows 8.1-46)

*** Metadata is data about data, or in this case it is either the data about the drive itself, or the RAID metadata needed to create the RAID array when the PC boots. This is a scary one. Did you keep the CSM Launch UEFI Storage OPROM Policy setting like this? Or did you install Windows 10 with CSM Disabled? I'm wondering if this is affecting you. ***

PCIe NVMe SSD 2DR0 (2-disk RAID 0) performance lower than pass-through single SSD

*** Yes it states NVMe and two disk RAID 0, but sounds familiar? As IRST beta testers Shocked apparently, if this is only a driver problem or Windows installation configuration problem, I'll be relieved!! ***



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Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 12:19pm
Originally posted by TimH TimH wrote:

Ok looks like there are 2 of us doing this now. 

Since Ronzer is going the Windows 10 route. I will try Windows 7 and we can compare our benchmarks. Maybe something is broken in 10. 

My build is:
Asrock z170 OC Formula
i7 6700
3xSamsung951s 256GB (Raid 0 OS Boot)
32 gigs Ripjaws 4



If you have problems installing Win 7, let us know.

If you are using CSM Enabled, do you know you need to set the CSM option, Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only, and maintain that setting just like maintaining the SATA mode as RAID?

Or if you are going the CSM Disabled route, you must perform a small hack on the Windows 7 installation files configuration to get the EFI boot loader in the right place?


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Posted By: TimH
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 1:10pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:



If you have problems installing Win 7, let us know.

If you are using CSM Enabled, do you know you need to set the CSM option, Launch Storage OpROM Policy to UEFI Only, and maintain that setting just like maintaining the SATA mode as RAID?

Or if you are going the CSM Disabled route, you must perform a small hack on the Windows 7 installation files configuration to get the EFI boot loader in the right place?

I gave up trying to install windows 7. I have a windows 7 pro upgrade dvd but in order to install that I have to first install the original version of Windows XP I have then once it sees that on the disk the windows 7 will install. Obviously with the USB driver issue I'm not even sure I would be able to install Windows XP and it's sure isn't something I want to trouble shoot for the week it would probably take. So I am going right to windows 10.


Posted By: Ronzer
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 1:49pm
Originally posted by parsec parsec wrote:


Thanks for the help but you must now reinstall Windows again?!?! Ouch  Dead

No problem, I knew this might happen.  

You know, I think I had CSM enabled when I created the raid and then disabled it when I installed Windows 10 to get the drive initialization to work.

In the mean time I'm installing Windows 10 on a 4th regular HDD so I can run benchmarks on all 3 SM951s individually then create the raid and benchmark that without having to reinstall.  I'll post my results when I'm done.


Posted By: parsec
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 3:09pm
I'm glad you understand, and am not surprised you do.

Sounds like a good idea installing Windows on a SATA drive and then testing the SM951s. If each of them seem to run fine individually, you could then try a two SM951 RAID 0 array and test that also.

Speaking of using a SATA drive, and just checking, but you know you must use the ASMedia SATA ports for the SATA drive. When three M.2 drives are used, none of the Intel SATA ports will be usable, since the resources they use are shared.

The M2_1 port is shared with Intel SATA3 ports 0 and 1, M2_2 port is shared with Intel SATA3 ports 2 and 3, and M2_3 port is shared with Intel SATA3 ports 4 and 5.

Although the Z97 boards had only two M.2 ports, only one was an Ultra port, PCIe 3.0 x4. The Ultra port did not use any SATA resources. The non-Ultra port is PCIe 2.0 x2, and is shared with two Intel SATA3 ports.

That is a major difference between the Z97 and Z170 chipset. The downside to the Z97 configuration was the loss of PCIe 3.0 lanes for video cards when the Ultra M.2 slot is used. Both Haswell and Skylake processors provide 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes. While PCIe 3.0 x8 is plenty for a single high end video card, there is no SLI on Z97 boards if the Ultra M.2 port is used. That would only leave two slots at x8 and x4, not enough for SLI.

Imagine 12 PCIe lanes used for three Ultra M.2 ports, leaving one x4 slot for a video card. Personally I would not choose a board like that for gaming anyway, but a manufacture cannot make a product that "niche" without loosing sales. I would buy it but others would not.

Intel went to 20 PCIe 3.0 lanes in the Z170 chipset, and now has "DMI3" or Direct Media Interface version 3 for the SATA resources. As we know now, those are the resources used for the Ultra M.2 ports.

That should be an improvement for SATA bandwidth for multiple SATA drive RAID arrays, but the question is, is it the same for PCIe M.2 drives as the PCIe lanes from the CPU. That is what we will be learning once all the smoke clears from our testing.


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Posted By: TimH
Date Posted: 18 Sep 2015 at 3:15pm
i noticed that about the need to use certain SATA PORTS in the manual. However I'm stuck somewhere else.

I setup the 3 m.2 cards as a raid array of 3. Raid 0

I created the volume and rebooted, but it will not give me the option to run the intel Raid setup and hit Ctrl - i. I can begin to install windows 10 but when I get to the screen to chose the drive to install to it says it cannot install on that drive. It sees the full drive but there is no boot partition.

Not sure Why I'm not getting the option to hit CNTROL I

Anyone run into this?



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