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Thin Man
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Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:51 pm

Wondering if the Gerbils have thoughts or suggestions on a situation I have that may or may not be abnormal.
My main computer has an i5-6600K mounted on an Asus Z170-Sabertooth board, 16 gb of DDR4-3000, GTX 970 (Working on making that a 1070 soon) on pcie slot #1.

I recently received a 960 EVO NVMe SSD for an early birthday present. So I figure, why not make use of it. I followed advice given here and elsewhere, and disconnected all other drives and, using a Lycom DT-120 M.2 to PCIe adapter card, mounted it in pcie slot #3. Went into UEFI and set it M.2 , set pcie #3 to x4 , and set it to hyper kit mode.

Then rebooted and used gparted to create an NTFS partition on the ssd. All was good at this point. The drive only shows up in UEFI as the boot drive, but I guess this is normal from what others have said. I then did a fresh install of Windows 10 and installed the samsung nvme driver and all other mobo drivers. Then shut down and connected my WD hdd as storage and an Asus optical drive on sata ports 3 and 4 respectively, as I found that when using M.2 setting then sata ports 1 and 2 are unavailable.

So far, so good. All was working fine and CrystalDiskMark 5 gave me good scores on the EVO. However, I have since found that sata ports 5 and 6, which are sata express normally but become plain sata ports when using M.2, are also now unavailable. So I'm down to 2 usable sata ports, out of 6, besides the boot drive.

So this makes me wonder, is this normal or not. I realize that the EVO is new tech and although Asus claims the motherboard can handle NVMe, should it require losing four sata ports to accomplish the task, or have I fuddled it up?
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:10 pm

Any particular reason you're not using the M.2 slot on the board itself?

What's happened is that by forcing PCI-E slot #3 into x4 mode, you've disabled SATA 5 and 6 - take a look at the Asus spec page (https://www.asus.com/uk/Motherboards/SA ... fications/) for the board:

"*1: The PCIe x16_3 slot shares bandwidth with SATA6G_56. The PCIe x16_3 is default set at x2 mode."

The M.2 setting in the BIOS that you reference is used only when using the on-board M.2 slot in SATA mode, not a PCI-E slot based M.2 NVMe module-on-adapter like you are using, from what I can tell (though if anyone else has first-hand experience otherwise, please correct me! I'm just going by the documentation).

My suggestion would be to remove the 960Evo from the Lycom adapter and plug it into the board M.2 slot, and set PCI-E slot #3 back to default (2x) mode to renable SATA 5 and 6. Another option is to disable M.2 mode in the BIOS (disabling the on-board M.2 slot, but not your plug-in adapter).
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Thin Man
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:28 pm

Mentawl wrote:
Any particular reason you're not using the M.2 slot on the board itself?

What's happened is that by forcing PCI-E slot #3 into x4 mode, you've disabled SATA 5 and 6 - take a look at the Asus spec page (https://www.asus.com/uk/Motherboards/SA ... fications/) for the board:

"*1: The PCIe x16_3 slot shares bandwidth with SATA6G_56. The PCIe x16_3 is default set at x2 mode."

The M.2 setting in the BIOS that you reference is used only when using the on-board M.2 slot in SATA mode, not a PCI-E slot based M.2 NVMe module-on-adapter like you are using, from what I can tell (though if anyone else has first-hand experience otherwise, please correct me! I'm just going by the documentation).

My suggestion would be to remove the 960Evo from the Lycom adapter and plug it into the board M.2 slot, and set PCI-E slot #3 back to default (2x) mode to renable SATA 5 and 6. Another option is to disable M.2 mode in the BIOS (disabling the on-board M.2 slot, but not your plug-in adapter).


Thanks for the reply. I understand what your saying and agree, however I found (and probably should have said) that if I plug the EVO into the onboard M.2 slot the board will not go into M.2 mode and will not recognize the drive. It stays in sata express mode. I will try your other suggestion and report back. Part of the difficulty I think is that the manual they include with the board doesn't agree with their later claims.
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
Thin Man
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:23 pm

OK, I believe it's sorted out now. I reset it out of M.2 back to Sata Express and have the use of sata ports 1 and 2 now as well as 3 and 4 , so I'm happy. I found though that if I put the NVMe into the board's M.2 slot it isn't recognized at all, not in the boot menu, not in gparted and not in windows. That's why I used the add in card. And if I set the pcie #3 slot to x2 mode, the NVMe drive runs at a greatly reduced speed.
Thanks a lot for the help Mentawl...
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:25 pm

Lots of TR's reviews include sections about what ports are disabled in various configurations. In fact, Mark seemed surprised when he reviewed the MSI Z170A SLI Plus that it didn't disable any ports. From page 2:
The Z170 chipset provides immense flexibility to motherboard manufacturers, thanks to its 26 multi-purpose, high-speed I/O lanes. Up to twenty of these can be used as PCIe Gen3. In a nice change of pace however, the Z170A SLI Plus has no sharing of lanes between different storage ports. Any port or header you see on the board can be used without limitation. That saves me two paragraphs worth of rather dry writing.

The very next review has another breakdown of how ports get disabled and enabled depending on the storage configuration.

So I'd say that's normal.
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Thin Man
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:50 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Lots of TR's reviews include sections about what ports are disabled in various configurations. In fact, Mark seemed surprised when he reviewed the MSI Z170A SLI Plus that it didn't disable any ports. From page 2:
The Z170 chipset provides immense flexibility to motherboard manufacturers, thanks to its 26 multi-purpose, high-speed I/O lanes. Up to twenty of these can be used as PCIe Gen3. In a nice change of pace however, the Z170A SLI Plus has no sharing of lanes between different storage ports. Any port or header you see on the board can be used without limitation. That saves me two paragraphs worth of rather dry writing.

The very next review has another breakdown of how ports get disabled and enabled depending on the storage configuration.

So I'd say that's normal.


I see your point. Seems every motherboard released mixes the stew a little differently. Oh well. As it sits now I don't mind as long as I've still go 4 usable ports. Just don't understand why it won't pickup on the drive when I use the boards own M.2 slot as they claim it's compatible. However, it works for me the way it is, so I won't push my luck... :wink:
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
derFunkenstein
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:58 pm

That's really weird. Is there an EFI update?
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Thin Man
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:20 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
That's really weird. Is there an EFI update?



Updated it to the latest one they have when I discovered the behavior. I don't know if it's just the board I have or not. If I get energetic I may wipe all the drives, unplug every thing, reflash the bios and start all over just to see if anything changes.
But at my age, energetic does not visit me as often as it used to. :-?
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
Kougar
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:53 pm

Thin Man wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I understand what your saying and agree, however I found (and probably should have said) that if I plug the EVO into the onboard M.2 slot the board will not go into M.2 mode and will not recognize the drive. It stays in sata express mode.


The manual is confusing and I even understand this stuff, so don't feel bad. :lol: "SATA Mode Configuration" must stay in SATA Express mode for you to use PCIe M.2 devices. If you change it to M.2 mode then the M.2 port will only accept SATA-based M.2 drives. Your Samsung 960 EVO is PCIe-only so you need to keep this set to SATA Express mode and do not plug anything into the SATA Express 1 ports.

Unless I'm mistaken "hyper kit mode" is only for use with an ASUS adapter card (U.2 adapter), which you're not using here. So it should be disabled as well. Though I don't understand what this setting even changes as the U.2 connection should be transparent to the system.
 
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:55 pm

Kougar wrote:
Thin Man wrote:
Thanks for the reply. I understand what your saying and agree, however I found (and probably should have said) that if I plug the EVO into the onboard M.2 slot the board will not go into M.2 mode and will not recognize the drive. It stays in sata express mode.


The manual is confusing and I even understand this stuff, so don't feel bad. :lol: "SATA Mode Configuration" must stay in SATA Express mode for you to use PCIe M.2 devices. If you change it to M.2 mode then the M.2 port will only accept SATA-based M.2 drives. Your Samsung 960 EVO is PCIe-only so you need to keep this set to SATA Express mode and do not plug anything into the SATA Express 1 ports.

Unless I'm mistaken "hyper kit mode" is only for use with an ASUS adapter card (U.2 adapter), which you're not using here. So it should be disabled as well. Though I don't understand what this setting even changes as the U.2 connection should be transparent to the system.


Thanks for the help. I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand it like the engineers do, but I think the problem in this case arose from the fact that the manual that came with my mobo gives a different explanation than the one published online. Not the first time I've seen that happen. However, such is life, and I believe it's all straightened out now. I've got the EVO in the M.2 slot and still have four usable sata ports as it's running thru the sata express as it should.
I believe it's reaching as high a speed as I'm likely to get with this setup. This is what CrystalDiskMark say's;-----------------------------------------------------------------------


CrystalDiskMark 5.2.1 x64 (C) 2007-2017 hiyohiyo
Crystal Dew World : http://crystalmark.info/
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
* MB/s = 1,000,000 bytes/s [SATA/600 = 600,000,000 bytes/s]
* KB = 1000 bytes, KiB = 1024 bytes

Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 3217.634 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 1471.658 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 720.466 MB/s [175895.0 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 488.110 MB/s [119167.5 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 1679.771 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 1466.041 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 44.287 MB/s [ 10812.3 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 228.604 MB/s [ 55811.5 IOPS]

Test : 1024 MiB [C: 12.4% (28.7/232.3 GiB)] (x5) [Interval=5 sec]
Date : 2017/03/23 21:52:07
OS : Windows 10 [10.0 Build 14393] (x64)

Unless I'm reading it wrong too, which is entirely possible... :D
"If you take up a starving dog and feed it, it will not bite you. This is the primary difference between a man and a dog." Mark Twain
 
Kougar
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:25 am

Glad you got it working :) Those read & write performance numbers look fine to me.

It doesn't surprise me to hear the shipped manual differs. The UEFI and CD driver versions are already outdated the day the motherboards ship, so it makes sense the manual revision wouldn't be any better either. Given how confusing the current version is I'd hate to see how bad the original manual had it. Dunno why they don't just use a table to show the various modes. Or explain the hyper kit setting better.
 
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Re: Only 2 ports in the Storm.

Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:36 pm

Thin Man wrote:
I've got the EVO in the M.2 slot and still have four usable sata ports as it's running thru the sata express as it should.




when you installed the m.2 by itself did it show the disabled ports ?, because i'm using a 950pro and all my ports show enabled, where 5&6 should be disabled on the asus z170a, and i can't connect another drive :( or am i missing some magic bios setting, btw, it's my first uefi mobo
InWin 303 - Asus z170a - G.Skill 32GB 2400 - i7-6700k - H60 - EVGA GTX 1070 FTW - EVGA Supernova G2 750w - M.2 950 Pro 256GB - Audioengine A5+ - Sennheiser HD 280pro - Win 10

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