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Question Asus Z170M Plus & M.2 PCIe vs SATA Express

RhoXS

Member
Aug 14, 2010
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I am currently using an Asus Z170M Plus with a Samsung 960 M.2 SSD Windows 10 boot drive. It appears to me the drive is running in "SATA Express" mode rather than the much faster "M.2" NVMe PCIE mode. In the bios Advanced\Onboard Devices I found M.2/SATA Express Mode Configuration in "Auto". I changed "Auto" to "Manual" and then changed "SATA Express" to "M.2" but then the drive would not boot.

So, can I now correctly assume the drive is indeed in SATA mode?

Is the Z170M plus capable of the much faster NVIe PCIE mode?

If it is capable, is there any way of changing modes without first setting the bios to M.2 and reinstalling Windows (which I am not going to do without an upgrade to a Z490 mobo and new CPU)?

There was a day in the past where I regularly kept up with current hardware but life changes and that is now not the case. As a result I am now trying to get up to speed again as I am thinking about eventually upgrading this machine to a Z490 mobo and a new I9-10900K.
 

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
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Get the driver from Samsung for the M.2. Use Samsung Magician to check the drive status.
 

RhoXS

Member
Aug 14, 2010
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0
76
Get the driver from Samsung for the M.2. Use Samsung Magician to check the drive status.
Thanks for that advice. I already did that and Samsung Magician shows the latest Samsung driver installed. It also indicates under "Drive Details" a "PCIe Gen. 3 X 4" Interface. Also, under "Drive Information", it indicates "Samsung SSD 960 Pro 512GB | NVMe". I think both of these just state the drive specification, not the interface the mobo is using. The bios indication I commented on in my starting post makes me think the interface is actually SATA Express and not PCIe. Also, if it was PCIe, I would expect it to ask to specify 4X and it does not.

The Samsung Magician Performance Benchmark scores are:
Sequential (MB/s) Read: 7875
Sequential (MB/s) Write: 1870
Random (IOPS) Read: 326904
Random (IOPS) Write: 238281

I do not have a sufficient feel for these scores to interpret what mode they are indicative of.
 

RLGL

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2013
1,682
187
106
My M.2 drives also show PCIeGen 3X4. Remember the lanes for the M.2 are off the chipset.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
Super Moderator
Sep 28, 2005
18,096
874
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960 can not run in sata express mode.
It will not operate in Sata Express.
Sata Express is limited to mSATA drives, which are 800 series.

900 series is a nVME.
By design requires PCI-E Lanes from your cpu to operate.
 

RhoXS

Member
Aug 14, 2010
160
0
76
960 can not run in sata express mode.
It will not operate in Sata Express.
Sata Express is limited to mSATA drives, which are 800 series.

900 series is a nVME.
By design requires PCI-E Lanes from your cpu to operate.
I did not know that. I incorrectly thought it was backwards compatible from NVMe to SATA. Thanks
 

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