Solved! NVMe drive booting in AHCI mode?

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VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
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I think that you are confused. Setting the Native chipset SATA port mode, to either RAID, or AHCI, should only affect SATA M.2 drives (like the 850 EVO), and NOT NVMe drives
(like the 960 EVO), since they are connected to the PCI-Express bus, and not a SATA port.

Any affect on them that those setting have, is a BIOS anomaly / bug.

Edit: There's a reason that these M.2 drives are controlled by an NVMe controller driver in Device Manager, rather than an AHCI driver.
 
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cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Hi Virtual Larry,

One reason I am asking is because I own a HP Z420 Workstation and it can boot PCIe SSD, but not NVMe. However, if you look at the third link in the opening post there is a respondent who claims to have Samsung 950 Pro booting in his/her HP Z420.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Could it be the Samsung 950 Pro has some extra firmware/BIOS/software feature that allows it to boot on boards that don't normally support NVMe?

I thought I read that somewhere (vaguely), but I could be wrong. It does ,however, make some sense to me that could be true as it was one of the first NVMe SSDs.

EDIT: Here is a review using HP Z620 with Samsung 950 Pro. (HP Z620 is from the same workstation generation as HP Z420 and HP Z820)

All consumer SSD benchmarks are conducted with the StorageReview HP Z620 Workstation. We compared 950 PRO with the following drives:

EDIT2: The eighth post on this page has an explanation on what is happening.

‎05-29-2016 08:38 AM

I spent considerable time researching my PCIE NVME SSD to boot on my Z620 so hopefully I can clear up the mis-information posted by folks claiming it cannot boot in NVME as it certainly can, however, only on specific drives. They are correct in stating HP does not support the configuration and will probably not update the BIOS to add the NVME OPROMS necessary to make the zx20 series relevant in this area. This information is from my experience only but I would have liked this posted as it would have saved me time and energy and I hope it helps someone else. That being said here is the high level that worked for me as I am using a PCIE NVME SSD (booted into Windows 10 x64) on a Z620 to type this message.


First, you will need the specific drive capable of being seen by the BIOS. Currently there are only two drives on the market that support the OPROMS needed to boot NVME on the zx20 series. Do not consider the Samsung SM951 NVME (also known as the G2 series) as it will not boot natively. Samsung has an AHCI version of the SM951 that is bootable (not confusing at all) that HP uses in the G1 series should boot without problems. I have not used the AHCI drive but it is supported by HP. I do not think the AHCI version is still available for purchase new anymore, at least as the HP Z Turbo G1 which comes with the nice adapter card and support. This post is for the NVME version as the AHCI does not seem to be an issue for folks but I feel worth mentioning.


Here are the models with the BIOS OPROMS that should boot, I know the 950 pro works and others have had success with Intel's 750 series as they have legacy OPROMS as well. I do not think Intel still sells the 750 series new either so the 950 pro was the only option I perceive to be currently viable if you are interested in purchasing a new drive to boot NVME.

SSD Models
PCIe AHCI:
Samsung SM951 (AHCI version) - Bootable

PCIe NVMe:
Samsung SM951 (NVMe version) - NOT Bootable on zx20 machines

PCIe NVMe (with built-in OPROM):
Samsung 950 Pro - Bootable
Intel 750 Series- Bootable



Second, the drive must be formatted GPT and configured for UEFI boot.



BIOS revision should support UEFI version 2.3.1. My BIOS is revision 3.88 and the revision must be one of the newer versions although I am not sure exactly what BIOS revision added this feature. I did not try any previous BIOS revisions so it is possible an older one works but I cannot speak to any other revision and recommend updated to the latest. I had to change around some settings to get the drive to boot properly. The BIOS is incredibly simple so not many options can be changed. The secure boot options are a possible pain point since they can toggle legacy support so be aware of those features.



In addition to the BIOS the OS must have the drivers installed to boot properly. Windows 10 has an NVME driver native that was good enough to boot without custom OS installs for the 950 pro. I have seen posts claiming thier machine needed it pre-installed others did not. I am not sure if the NVME driver is pushed to Windows 7/8 or not but I would imagine a Windows 7 install would require the NVME driver before it would fully boot. That would be something to consider in setting up the configuration.



Finally I am not sure about the Z220, Z420 models but the Z620 and Z820 share similar BIOS functionality and should be just fine. My specific rig has dual E5-2643V2 processors. The booting functionality I believe is in the chipset and BIOS so the Sandy Bridge versions should not make a difference. As noted I am currently booting from a Samsung 950 Pro NVME to Windows 10 x64 and once I found all this information the actual setup time was actually really fast.



I hope this helps.
 
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deustroop

Golden Member
Dec 12, 2010
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I found some evidence that the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe drive can boot in AHCI mode:

Any other NVMe drives that can do this also?

Samsung 960 Pro?
Even if you could, it would not make much sense to run an NVME unit on the AHCI driver. Like VL says, AHCI is a SATA connection. A function of NVME is to bypass SATA ineffecienties and join the SSD to a PCIe port and thus provide for much faster ssd throughput.

A confusion in nomeclature arises from the flexibility of the M2 port. While usuallyused to support an NVME device, like the 950 PRO described in the first sentence of the OP, the M2 will also support a SATA drive on a SATA port. But AFAIK only early M2 devices went that way, e.g., that 850 EVO mentioned in the Storage Review article. Now just about all M2 devices are NVME, i.e., connect to PCIe lanes.

What you must look for in these device descriptions is whether an M2 item is SATA or NVME. It cannot be both but the port does support both.

The article in TenForums you report above has the title

Windows 10: Using an NVME SSD in AHCI vs RAID mode

The user has an M2 device he cannot get recognized as NVME because it is not an NVME drive but a SATA SSD attached to the M2 port.

Here is some information tho elderly.
http://www.overclock.net/t/1489684/ssd-interface-comparison-pci-express-vs-sata
 
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cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Even if you could, it would not make much sense to run an NVME unit on the AHCI driver. Like VL says, AHCI is a SATA connection. A function of NVME is to bypass SATA ineffecienties and join the SSD to a PCIe port and thus provide for much faster ssd throughput.
Well actually the Samsung SM951 was PCIe 3.0 x 4 AHCI. This, in contrast, to other M.2 SSDs that are SATA 6 Gbps.

I am assuming this was done because some boards could not recognize NVMe at the time. (Samsung did eventually release SM951 NVMe after the SM951 AHCI version (which was just called "SM951")).
 
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deustroop

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Dec 12, 2010
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Well actually the Samsung SM951 was PCIe 3.0 x 4 AHCI. This, in contrast, to other M.2 SSDs that are SATA 6 Gbps.

I am assuming this was done because some boards could not recognize NVMe at the time. (Samsung did eventually release SM951 NVMe after the SM951 AHCI version (which was just called "SM951")).
OK, a hybrid-thx for that.
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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On Skylake and newer Intel systems, NVMe devices connected through the chipset rather than through the CPU's PCIe lanes can be affected by Intel's software RAID mechanism. On many systems, this manifests as NVMe drives in the M.2 slot not working properly with standard NVMe drivers when the storage controller is in RAID mode, but working fine when it's in AHCI mode.

Intel took some shortcuts when implementing their NVMe RAID capability: rather than make a general-purpose software RAID layer for Windows that could work with eg. Samsung's NVMe driver, Intel added a feature to the chipset that when RAID is enabled, the NVMe device is remapped so that it can only be accessed through non-standard interfaces on the chipset's AHCI controller and the NVMe device cannot be accessed normally by any standard NVMe driver. This prevents any non-Intel drivers from interacting with the NVMe drive when RAID is in use, but leads to the ridiculous situation that the SATA controller's mode affects PCIe SSDs.

Intel has made approximately zero effort to properly explain this to the public. I suspect they're rightfully embarrassed by how ugly this hack is and the lengths they've gone to in ensuring that Intel RST RAID can remain a product-segmented feature.

There are no NVMe drives that can be changed into AHCI drives after leaving the factory and there is no way to make a NVMe drive speak AHCI.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Does anyone know if Samsung 960 Pro (a NVMe SSD) supports the legacy OPROM necessary to boot on a system that normally could only boot AHCI PCIe SSD (eg, the original SM951)?

Samsung 950 Pro and Intel 750 (both NVMe SSDs) can do this. See post #4.
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Document/mb_m.2_support_190507.pdf

Contains a lot of M.2 2280 drives and a few of the others as well, seems like a lot of them are BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE for AHCI !

However, there are quite a few drives not listed...

Some in here complained about WHY the interest in AHCI capable 2280 and 2260 and etc. drives, the answer is extremely SIMPLE, there are a lot of motherboards and laptops/notepads which do not have NVMe in them, AND/OR if they do have NVMe ability then that info is MASKED by idiotic manufacturer's refusal to properly document their equipment on their support websites (HP, etc...), manufacturers who do not document their port versions and slot's versions should expect far more angry customers who eat up more support resources entirely due to lack of proper and adequite documented specifications of ports and slots! AHCI was a PCIe interface hack until NVMe came along and made things better.

Sadly a lot of SSD manufacturers are not including backwards compatibility information and specifications in their specs and docs/

Good reference, yet it needs an update, maybe someone should put this up as a group effort for a reference on the net, a reference not affiliated with any manufacturer!

I tried to attach the file, however this system will not accept a PDF file attachment..
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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I think that you are confused. Setting the Native chipset SATA port mode, to either RAID, or AHCI, should only affect SATA M.2 drives (like the 850 EVO), and NOT NVMe drives
(like the 960 EVO), since they are connected to the PCI-Express bus, and not a SATA port.

Any affect on them that those setting have, is a BIOS anomaly / bug.

Edit: There's a reason that these M.2 drives are controlled by an NVMe controller driver in Device Manager, rather than an AHCI driver.
note. BEFORE there was NVMe for PCIe interfaced M.2 SSD's, there was AHCI for PCIe interfaced M.2 SSD's!

http://download.gigabyte.us/FileList/Document/mb_m.2_support_190507.pdf
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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Does anyone know if Samsung 960 Pro (a NVMe SSD) supports the legacy OPROM necessary to boot on a system that normally could only boot AHCI PCIe SSD (eg, the original SM951)?

Samsung 950 Pro and Intel 750 (both NVMe SSDs) can do this. See post #4.
The included johnnylucky.org listing is missing a lot of drives, esp. in the 2260 sized range, and esp. the older models, as well as missing data-points and data fields regarding drive's backwards compatibility for older motherboards... unlike the gigbyte's list. .
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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Something interesting from Dell

https://www.dell.com/community/Laptops-General-Read-Only/Dell-M-2-FAQ-regarding-AHCI-vs-RAID-ON-Storage-Drivers-M-2-Lanes/td-p/5072571

Question:
What is Dell’s scope of support for the Samsung and Toshiba/OZC NVME drivers posted on these Manufacturers’ websites?
Toshiba/OCZ: https://ocz.com/us/download/ (To get the NVME driver select OCZ RD400/400A in the drop down)
Samsung: http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools.html
Note: Samsung’s explanation of what their NVME driver actually does is on page 22 of the following document: http://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/downloads/document/Samsung_SSD_950_PRO_White_paper...
Keep in mind:
• There exists Dell branded OEM Samsung and Dell branded OEM Toshiba M.2 drives as well as non-Dell-branded Samsung and non-Dell-branded Toshiba retail drives
• The drivers in question linked above will load for both Dell OEM drives and retail drives alike
• The Samsung and Toshiba/OZC drivers in question can only be used when running in AHCI mode
• These drivers do not apply when running in RAID ON mode as the M.2 drives will be operating under IRST in RAID on mode
Answer:
Dell does not support the Samsung and Toshiba/OZC drivers for use in AHCI mode. Dell systems with Dell OEM Samsung or Dell OEM Toshiba drives running in AHCI mode will use a Windows inbox driver called stornvme. Stornvme is the driver Dell supports in AHCI mode. Use of the Samsung and Toshiba/OZC drivers will ultimately be decided at end user discretion.

--------------------------------------------

Hmmm, using Dell's StorNVMe driver for AHCI for the M.2 NGFF 2280/2260 drives...
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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Contains a lot of M.2 2280 drives and a few of the others as well, seems like a lot of them are BACKWARDS COMPATIBLE for AHCI !
AHCI was a PCIe interface hack until NVMe came along and made things better.
Hmmm, using Dell's StorNVMe driver for AHCI for the M.2 NGFF 2280/2260 drives...
All of the above is wrong. Please read this thread.

There's no such thing as a NVMe drive that is backwards compatible with AHCI. The closest you can get is a NVMe drive with an option ROM to help it be bootable on motherboards that don't have NVMe support. In those cases, it's still a NVMe drive and the OS still needs a NVMe driver. The drive itself just provides the NVMe driver for the UEFI so that the OS can be found and loaded. This is not necessary for Haswell and newer systems that have NVMe support in the motherboard firmware.

On recent Intel systems (Skylake or newer), "AHCI" is only relevant to the use of NVMe drives because that's the most common name for the motherboard firmware setting that disables the Intel chipset remapping of NVMe drives. Some motherboards these days allow this remapping to be disabled on a per-drive basis even while the SATA controller remains in RAID mode, so that you can have SATA RAID and proper NVMe support at the same time. None of these settings make NVMe drives speak AHCI. None of these settings affect PCIe SSDs that speak AHCI instead of NVMe.
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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NONSENSE!

QUOTE-
Features
  • TRIM Support
  • NVM Express (NVMe)
  • Support Toggle2.0 interface
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • Support Standard AHCI driver
-END-QUOTE

AHCI is NOT ONLY for SATA, it is ALSO for PCIe for those few cards which have it as PCIe AHCI, including SOME NVMe drives!!!

All of the above is wrong. Please read this thread.

There's no such thing as a NVMe drive that is backwards compatible with AHCI. The closest you can get is a NVMe drive with an option ROM to help it be bootable on motherboards that don't have NVMe support. In those cases, it's still a NVMe drive and the OS still needs a NVMe driver. The drive itself just provides the NVMe driver for the UEFI so that the OS can be found and loaded. This is not necessary for Haswell and newer systems that have NVMe support in the motherboard firmware.

On recent Intel systems (Skylake or newer), "AHCI" is only relevant to the use of NVMe drives because that's the most common name for the motherboard firmware setting that disables the Intel chipset remapping of NVMe drives. Some motherboards these days allow this remapping to be disabled on a per-drive basis even while the SATA controller remains in RAID mode, so that you can have SATA RAID and proper NVMe support at the same time. None of these settings make NVMe drives speak AHCI. None of these settings affect PCIe SSDs that speak AHCI instead of NVMe.
Like I said, NONSENSE!
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Like I said, NONSENSE!
:rolleyes:

Always seems that brand-new users sign up to call-out users who know what they are talking about (like the guy who reviews storage products for Anandtech). There's some nonsense going on here for sure.........

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVM_Express

1.jpg

https://www.anandtech.com/show/7843/testing-sata-express-with-asus/4
AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) dates back to 2004 and was designed with hard drives in mind. While that doesn't rule out SSDs, AHCI is more optimized for high latency rotating media than low latency non-volatile storage. As a result AHCI can't take full advantage of SSDs and since the future is in non-volatile storage (like NAND and MRAM), the industry had to develop a software interface that abolishes the limits of AHCI.

The result is NVMe, short for Non-Volatile Memory Express. It was developed by an industry consortium with over 80 members and the development was directed by giants like Intel, Samsung, and LSI. NVMe is built specifically for SSDs and PCIe and as software interfaces usually live for at least a decade before being replaced, NVMe was designed to be capable of meeting the industry needs as we move to future memory technologies
 

Billy Tallis

Senior member
Aug 4, 2015
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AHCI is NOT ONLY for SATA, it is ALSO for PCIe for those few cards which have it as PCIe AHCI, including SOME NVMe drives!!!
Some PCIe SSD controllers support either NVMe or AHCI. A drive using such a controller will only have firmware implementing one of the two protocols. There has never been a drive on the market that the user could switch from NVMe to AHCI or vice versa. Even when the controller supports both, the decision of which to use is made permanently by the drive manufacturer in the factory.
 
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Raul Almquist

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Jun 23, 2019
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:rolleyes:

Always seems that brand-new users sign up to call-out users who know what they are talking about (like the guy who reviews storage products for Anandtech). There's some nonsense going on here for sure.........

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVM_Express

View attachment 7778

https://www.anandtech.com/show/7843/testing-sata-express-with-asus/4
As well as proving that some people can not get it thru their minds that NVMe is NOT the end all be all, it is MERELY A PROTOCOL, and you CAN have more than ONE PROTOCOL for ANY DEVICE (as long as there is room in the ROM)!

QUOTE-
Features

  • TRIM Support
  • NVM Express (NVMe)
  • Support Toggle2.0 interface
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • Support Standard AHCI driver
-END-QUOTE

FACT: AHCI is NOT ONLY for SATA, it is ALSO for PCIe for those few cards which have it as PCIe AHCI, including SOME NVMe drives!!!
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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Some PCIe SSD controllers support either NVMe or AHCI. A drive using such a controller will only have firmware implementing one of the two protocols. There has never been a drive on the market that the user could switch from NVMe to AHCI or vice versa. Even when the controller supports both, the decision of which to use is made permanently by the drive manufacturer in the factory.
QUOTE-
Features

  • TRIM Support
  • NVM Express (NVMe)
  • Support Toggle2.0 interface
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • Support Standard AHCI driver
-END-QUOTE

The above is for an older model which is in rare availability in the used market and NOT very large capacity.

AHCI is NOT ONLY for SATA, it is ALSO for PCIe for those few cards which have it as PCIe AHCI, including SOME NVMe drives, NVMe is ONLY A PROTOCOL just like AHCI and nothing is written in adamantium that AHCI protocol can not be PCIe!!!

Where there is one model, then there are others, the ONLY THING MISSING IS A LIST OF KNOWN OpROM equipped M.2 PCIe 2280 SSD's!
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,384
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AHCI is NOT ONLY for SATA, it is ALSO for PCIe for those few cards which have it as PCIe AHCI, including SOME NVMe drives!!!
This is ... incorrect.

There's no such thing as a NVMe drive that is backwards compatible with AHCI.
Read the words of the Wise Man, Raul.

just like AHCI and nothing is written in adamantium that AHCI protocol can not be PCIe!!!
Nobody said that there weren't AHCI PCI-E SSDs. I've owned a few. They install on Win7 64-bit, and use the standard in-box AHCI software drivers, even though they're PCI-E.

But that's not what YOU said. You said that NVMe drives COULD BE AHCI.

No such drive exists on the market, to my knowledge, and is ever going to exist.

Edit: Methinks that you are confusing the term "NVMe" with "M.2".

There are M.2 (form-factor) PCI-E drives, and U.2 (form-factor) PCI-E drives. Of those, they can be NVMe protocol, OR AHCI protocol. M.2 drives can also be (wired for) SATA or PCI-E. The SATA ones, AFAIK, HAVE TO be AHCI (protocol), whereas the PCI-E drives, come in both NVMe and AHCI (well, used to, don't think that PCI-E AHCI drives are made anymore, it was sort of a transition product) protocol flavors (BUT NOT BOTH ON THE SAME DEVICE).

But I am unaware of any M.2 devices that can speak BOTH NVMe AND be backwards-compatible with AHCI. Though I might like to see such a thing, I haven't yet. And when Billy Tallis weighs in and says they don't exist, I believe him.
 
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Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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This is ... incorrect.


Read the words of the Wise Man, Raul.


Nobody said that there weren't AHCI PCI-E SSDs. I've owned a few. They install on Win7 64-bit, and use the standard in-box AHCI software drivers, even though they're PCI-E.

But that's not what YOU said. You said that NVMe drives COULD BE AHCI.

No such drive exists on the market, to my knowledge, and is ever going to exist.

Edit: Methinks that you are confusing the term "NVMe" with "M.2".

There are M.2 (form-factor) PCI-E drives, and U.2 (form-factor) PCI-E drives. Of those, they can be NVMe protocol, OR AHCI protocol. M.2 drives can also be (wired for) SATA or PCI-E. The SATA ones, AFAIK, HAVE TO be AHCI (protocol), whereas the PCI-E drives, come in both NVMe and AHCI (well, used to, don't think that PCI-E AHCI drives are made anymore, it was sort of a transition product) protocol flavors (BUT NOT BOTH ON THE SAME DEVICE).

But I am unaware of any M.2 devices that can speak BOTH NVMe AND be backwards-compatible with AHCI. Though I might like to see such a thing, I haven't yet. And when Billy Tallis weighs in and says they don't exist, I believe him.
Samsung XP941, comes in 128gb, 256gb, and 512gb!
Features
  • TRIM Support
  • NVM Express (NVMe)
  • Support Toggle2.0 interface
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • Support Standard AHCI driver
Just because you and some others want to stick your heads in the sand and proclaim your view to be bright and sunny does not mean there is any light where your heads are... join us out in the light! ;)

Like I stated, where there is one there are more, however what is missing is a LIST of KNOWN OpROM m.2 PCIe 2280 drives!!!
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
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Just because you and some others want to stick your heads in the sand and proclaim your view to be bright and sunny does not mean there is any light where your heads are... join us out in the light! ;)
Well, since you just signed up and are so sure they exist, they must exist. Everyone else here is wrong, so all others just move along -nothing left to discuss here.

/end of thread :rolleyes:

Edit: I just realized this thread was a necro bump.
 

Raul Almquist

Junior Member
Jun 23, 2019
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Well, since you just signed up and are so sure they exist, they must exist. Everyone else here is wrong, so all others just move along -nothing left to discuss here.

/end of thread :rolleyes:
None factual!

There are OTHER drives out there, unknown models therefore this thread has validity, except perhaps to some who want to pontificate that they are the fonts of all knowledge in spite of the fact that at least one major corporation (Samsung) has PROVEN OTHERWISE!

So go ahead and close a thread out that STILL HAS VALUE!
 

UsandThem

Elite Member
Super Moderator
May 4, 2000
13,064
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None factual!

There are OTHER drives out there, unknown models therefore this thread has validity, except perhaps to some who want to pontificate that they are the fonts of all knowledge in spite of the fact that at least one major corporation (Samsung) has PROVEN OTHERWISE!

So go ahead and close a thread out that STILL HAS VALUE!
Thanks for giving me your permission, but I'm not closing this thread (a necro thread BTW). I was simply (attempting) participating in it.

However, you're so sure of yourself and your answers, there's no reason for anyone to discuss anything further with you. It would just be a waste of time, more arguing, and that's why I tagged it with the " /end of thread" slogan.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
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Samsung XP941, comes in 128gb, 256gb, and 512gb!
Features
  • TRIM Support
  • NVM Express (NVMe)
  • Support Toggle2.0 interface
  • End-to-End Data Protection
  • Support Standard AHCI driver
Just because you and some others want to stick your heads in the sand and proclaim your view to be bright and sunny does not mean there is any light where your heads are... join us out in the light! ;)

Like I stated, where there is one there are more, however what is missing is a LIST of KNOWN OpROM m.2 PCIe 2280 drives!!!
The Samsung XP941 does not support NVMe. The review of that drive on our front page demonstrates that. You are aggressively posting misinformation which is something we do not allow on our message board.

AT Moderator ElFenix
 
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