Alienware 17R3 and M.2 ports with Samsung 950 Pro report

Discussion in '2015+ Alienware 13 / 15 / 17' started by AvalonTears, Nov 4, 2015.

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  1. NforceRaid

    NforceRaid Notebook Consultant

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    No, I only have to change settings in the BIOS, the two PCIe are not in the raid, the 950pro is Boot, the pm951 is the secondary disk

    Ciao :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2016
  2. Alphaguy

    Alphaguy Newbie

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    @etern4l

    Your benchmarks on the AW 15 R2 with the Samsung 950 pro. Were they done before or after installing the Samsung Magician NVMe drivers?

    The reason I ask is that I just bought an AW 15 R2 Skylake notebook and have been trying to determine whether the motherboard really supports PCIe x4 or not. The AW 15 R2 does have two M.2 connectors inside, however the M.2 can be either PCIe x4 or SATA III (or both) depending on how the motherboard is designed. In a call to Dell Tech Support I was told that their M.2 ports were not PCIe x4 but were Sata III.

    The high speeds seen with the 950 Pro (2200+ seq read) can be realized over a SATA III m.2 using the Samsung Magician NVMe drivers. These drivers cache the SSD in unused RAM.

    To determine whether you are really usiing PCIe from your notebook would require you disabling/removing the Samsung Magician software to see what the actual benchmark speed is without the driver because it caches your SSD in unused RAM. The Magician software can fool the benchmark and make the 950 Pro look like its getting the full speed because you are actually loading files from unused RAM acting as a cache for the 950 Pro when using the Magician driver.

    I don't know whether I can believe the Tech from Dell as to whether the M.2 ports support PCIe or not. He says only SATA III. Do I believe him?

    I can get a 512 Gb Samsung Evo M.2 SATA III SSD for half the price of a 950 Pro 512 Gb. Don't want to pay the 950 Pro price if my M.2 only supports SATA III because you aren't getting the full potential of the SSD through a M.2 supporting only SATA.

    To add more confusion, I noted that Dell's website specs on the AW 15 R2 prior to the holidays did not specifically say that the M.2 was PCIe, but just a couple days ago it does now. So which is it?

    The fact is, reviewing the pinout for an M.2 connector, you can see that it can do either SATA or PCIe, but which it does depends on whether the mother board routes the SSD data over the PCIe lanes on the connector or on the two SATA lines. Dell's specs aren't specific or detailed enough to tell, and I've not had good experience that their tech support are that knowledgeable on the hardware design.

    In addition to motherboard design, your chipset must support PCIe. My AW 15 R2 has the Intel 100 series/C230 chipset and according to Intel's data sheet it is capable of PCIe Gen 1, Gen 2 and Gen 3. But the third thing is that the BIOS must also support data transfers by PCIe, so for true PCIe support, you have to have the motherboard, BIOS, and chipset all supporting it. Can't seem to find out from Dell whether all three support it or not.

    The only other way I know to confirm is to just bite the bullet and buy a 950 pro and test it myself without the Samsung Magician software driver to see if I really get the 2200+ seq. reads with a 950 Pro.

    If the AW 15 R2 Skylake doesn't really do true PCIe, then a 950 Pro is a waste of money since you can get nearly the same performance as 950 Pro with an Evo SATA III when using the Samsung Magician software since it caches the SSD in unused RAM.
     
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  3. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    One M.2 slot is x4, the other is x2. Benchmark results are with the x4 slot. Samsung magician caching option you were refering to were disabled. I actually obtained similar results in RAID mode. There is no question on whether the lane is x4.
     
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  4. NforceRaid

    NforceRaid Notebook Consultant

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    Hello, I can only answer for my new AW17.

    Slot M.2 has only 2
    I put a 950Pro (boot) on slot 1 and goes on X4 X4
    I then PM951 on slot 2 and goes to X2 on X4


    ciao :)
     
  5. pit_ns01

    pit_ns01 Newbie

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    Your post is confusing "Slot M.2 has only 2" and then you go I put a 950Pro (boot) on slot 1 and goes on X4 X4?
    so which one it is 2 or 4 for 950pro?

    I tried to install 950 pro 256 in my Alienware 17 R3 and failed to do it. I used Samsung migration to cloned drives but then got no bootable device detected error and other errors later. Never got it working and load windows.

    Do you have any installation steps that i could use for my alienware? Could you share them here?
     
  6. judal57

    judal57 Notebook Deity

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    someone have a video of his booting speed with the samsung 950 pro ???
    my 850evo let me start with 8-9 seconds
    [​IMG]
     
  7. plainbum

    plainbum Notebook Enthusiast

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  8. NforceRaid

    NforceRaid Notebook Consultant

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    new aw17 have only 2 slots M.2
    photo
    [​IMG]

    in bios, you set raid or ahci?

    for cloning the 950Pro, try looking at this link ,then if you still have any doubt write

    ciao :)
     
  9. NforceRaid

    NforceRaid Notebook Consultant

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    This detail concerning X4 on X4

    950Pro max performance X4 on X4

    [​IMG]

    PM951 X2 on X4
    [​IMG]

    ciao :)
     
  10. pit_ns01

    pit_ns01 Newbie

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    Hi,

    I tried to use ahci, I think otherwise alienware did not see 950 pro. So you installed clean windows 10 right? Where did you get windows key from for that?
     
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