15 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2015 1:23 PM by mikeklar

    M.2 PCIe x4 Technology

    mikeklar Level 1

      Just found out that a motherboard I'm considering buying has a connecter for M.2 memory.  Upon researching this technology I'm embarrassed not having been aware of this earlier.

      I'm curious to find out if anyone has had experience using this technology and how best to utilize the stated performance...?

      The logical answer seems as the System Drive... ?

      Below is a link to a review:

      http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-sm951-m.2-pcie-ssd,4045.html

      Frankly, I'm drooling and it's been a long time since that's happened

      Cheers

        • 1. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
          RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

          the m.2 and pcie ssd are about 4x faster than the regular sata ssd. m.2 is a carry over from laptops. pcie ssd should be more common place moving forward with towers, but that will depend on prices. right now the samsung m.2 has the price advantage.  Intel SSD 750 PCIe SSD Review: NVMe for the Client

           

          the uses can be from os/apps, and/or cache, and/or media. it depends on how large the media files are, if they can fit on the ssd with everything else. as larger versions come out and prices drop, we will see single pcie ssd's holding everything, be more common place. m.2 ssd for os/apps can be tricky from what i've seen, but has been done. the pcie ssd like the intel 750, supposedly are more compatible to boot from. there are guides online for setting up both.

          • 2. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
            Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Is it Mike?

             

            This m.2 PCIe x4 SSD technology is absolutely amazing I refer to my 512 GB SM951 as my "gum stick" SSD.SM951-Wrigleys.jpg

            It is so fast that RAID for speed is not necessary.  I can write to it directly from a Premiere Pro timeline export at 1546 MB/second.  You will have to register at that site to see the results page  This is a real application benchmark, not a phony synthetic benchmark number.  I would not waste it for a boot/applications drive, there a standard ~500 MB/s is adequate.

             

            Be careful  as there are two kinds of M.2 SSD's.  There are standard SATA III M.2 devices and there are PCIe x4  M.2 devices and further some motherboards and some PCIe adapter cards might only be PCIe x2 which severely would hamper its performance.  Also if you get an adapter card and plug it in to a PCIe version 2 (older) board it will also cut the performance, it need a PCIe version 3 x4 (or better) motherboard connector

            • 3. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
              mikeklar Level 1

              Bill - yes it's Mike

              If it hadn't been for you pointing this out to me I'd still be wondering what the M.2 connector was useful for.

              Thanks for that...

              As noted in the other thread, it's on my list

              Cheers

              • 4. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                JKad Level 1

                Mike,

                This new technology is absolutely amazing.  When I read about it, I knew it was time to upgrade my system and go all solid state (almost--I still use external eSATA HDD's for backup and archiving).  My original plan was to have two Samsung 512GB SM951's but my Asus X99-E WS motherboard simply would not run one of the SSD's at full speed on two different PCIe 3 X4 adapters for the PCIe slot that I tried.  I was never able to find anyone who got one to work at full speed with an adapter on this motherboard.  It must have been a BIOS problem but the SSD in the motherboard connector ran fast as advertised.  Asus has since come out with a newer BIOS file but I have no idea if they addressed this issue.  So, I sent one of the Samsung's back and got the Intel 750 1.2TB and it also works as advertised.

                 

                Using CrystalDiskMark, I got 2,229/1,569 read/write for the Samsung and 2,687/1,343 for the Intel.  This compares to 128.7/126.7 for a single hard disk and 227.4/212.6 for an on-board raid hard disk array.

                 

                I use the Samsung as the OS/program drive and the Intel as the data drive.  One thing to be cognizant of is that these SSD's can create a lot of heat.  The Samsung has no heat spreader and in tests I've seen gets hot enough with continuous use to throttle back to a much slower speed.  I was initially concerned that the heat build up could be a problem when editing video.  However, since I now use the Samsung as the OS/program drive, it is used in short bursts and doesn't build up excessive heat.  The Intel Ad-On-Card (AOC) on the other hand is designed with a lot of metal that is used to dissipate the heat and does not get overly hot in continuous use.  The Intel also uses NVMe making it somewhat faster in read speed but the Samsung still beats it in writes.  Samsung has an NVMe variant of the SM951 but it wasn't available to me when I did the build and I hear it is still hard to find.

                 

                This technology isn't cheap but you simply won't believe the difference until you've started up a Win7, 8 or 10 machine in seconds and everything you work with simply flies!  I've not seen this kind of GIANT leap in performance of a component in a very long time.

                • 5. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                  Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  Notice that the Intel devices are optimized for read and I/O operations where the Samsung are optimized for sequential read/write operations  Since editing is read oriented I prefer the Samsung for those and relegate the OS/Applications which after startup are all in RAM to a simple but fast SATA III 6 Gbits/s much lower cost SSD and put my project files, media and exports on my SM951.on my workstation.  My PPBM9 Premiere Pro BenchMarks verify my results.

                   

                  As far as using add-in PCIe boards for running a second SM951 I do have to agree with the above, my Addonics PCIe x4 board slows down the SM951. The PPBM9 Disk I/O score for in the M.2 socket on X99E-WS is 24 seconds (1545 MB/second) and the same device when mounted in the Addonics board takes 44 seconds (843 MB/second) to export that same disk intensive timeline.  I am hoping someone will give us a test score for the export of that same timeline with the Intel 750 product.

                   

                  If you think today's technology is good, look what is coming probably this year form this Samsung chart---5500 MB/second read rates?????Samsung-2015-late.png

                  • 6. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                    SpareWheel Level 2

                    JKad


                    This new technology is absolutely amazing.  When I read about it, I knew it was time to upgrade my system and go all solid state (almost--I still use external eSATA HDD's for backup and archiving).  My original plan was to have two Samsung 512GB SM951's but my Asus X99-E WS motherboard simply would not run one of the SSD's at full speed on two different PCIe 3 X4 adapters for the PCIe slot that I tried.  I was never able to find anyone who got one to work at full speed with an adapter on this motherboard.  It must have been a BIOS problem but the SSD in the motherboard connector ran fast as advertised.  Asus has since come out with a newer BIOS file but I have no idea if they addressed this issue.  So, I sent one of the Samsung's back and got the Intel 750 1.2TB and it also works as advertised.


                    What processor are you running on this MoBo? Thinking about getting this for the 40 lanes of the i7 5930K (up to 2 x16, 1 x8). I have no experience with M.2 but if anyone would like to comment regarding Mobo and CPU - much appreciated.

                    • 7. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                      JKad Level 1

                      I am running a 5960 on the MB.  8 cores is also a thing of beauty when I've been limited to 4 in the past.  This MB is best suited to higher end processors that can take advantage of the 7 PCIe slots at X16.  Of course you can't fill all those slots with X16 video but they give you options for placement of multiple video cards and other components.  I'm pleased with the MB but was disappointed that it wouldn't run an adapter and the SM951 at 3 X4.  Hopefully Asus will address this obvious shortcoming shortly.

                      • 8. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                        SpareWheel Level 2

                        Thanks for that JKad,

                         

                        The i7 5960 8 core looks nice, but a little pricey for me. I am using an old i7 970 hex which has been a good workhorse for my HD stuff over the last 3 years. I now shoot on a Sony FS7 and want (next year) to dip my toe into UHD and 4K. I don't do any 3D rendering.

                        I see the MB has 1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, gray, with M Key, type 2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode) (transfer rate of 32Gb/s). This of no use to you? Or did you want to use a PCI slot rather than the dedicated M2 socket?

                        • 9. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                          JKad Level 1

                          I have an SM951 in the on-board M.2 slot/connecter that works just fine.  I was unable to get an additional/second SM951 to work at its rated speed when connected through a PCIe slot adapter.

                          • 10. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                            Indio22 Level 1

                            I haven't looked closely at Skylake motherboards yet, but up until now there has generally been only one M.2 port on motherboards.  And also you had to be careful with the specs on that M.2 interface, because some were implemented slower than others in terms of the lanes.  Also, some boards disabled one or more SATA ports when an M.2 drive was connected, which could be a problem for persons running multiple drives.  For those reasons I did not take M.2 all that seriously when I was building my Haswell i7 PC last year.

                             

                            A) But what do you see in remained of this year and next?  Will we see multiple fast well implemented M.2 ports on boards, that do not also cannibalize the SATA ports?  (Probably not on the consumer platforms since the lanes have not been increased?)

                             

                            B) Do you think we will see one drive to rule them all for a reasonable price - meaning one large M.2 or PCI-e SSD to host everything (OS/projects/scratch/etc)?

                             

                            C) Should I hang onto my old i7-950/x58 platform since one advantage it has over my Haswell setup is more PCIe lanes (to better accommodate more of these fast SSDs in the PCIe slots)?  I was going to sell that platform because other aspects of it are getting long in the tooth.

                             

                            Thanks for any advice or predictions -  I am intrigued by the lightning fast speeds of some of these current and upcoming drives.

                            • 11. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                              RoninEdits Most Valuable Participant

                              there are some skylake boards with two m.2 slots as well as one with 3x m.2 slots! the skylake chipset (intel z170) is suppose to be alot better with pcie lanes, even though the cpu has a limit of 16. still, the chipset should help better deal with all these m.2 slots and usb 3 connections. the z170 chipset may be the best part of skylake.

                               

                              for people with small projects, its already possible to have one drive for everything. these drives are expensive, but compared to buying two or more sata ssd's, they can make sense for some. intel has already announced 10tb pcie ssd's will be coming, so depending on what happens with m.2 drives, pcie ssd may gain more popularity over the m.2's. that should make 1-2tb pcie ssd's more affordable and those sizes, would be enough for many people to have one drive for everything. there will still be those that need 10, 20, 100 tb+ of space, and they will be running hdd's in raid, nas, san, etc.

                               

                              the i7-950 is about half the speed of 4 core haswell/skylake. it would depend what you are doing with that computer, if its worth upgrading to a faster cpu&mbd or the speed and features from the i7-950/x58 are enough.

                              • 12. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                                Indio22 Level 1

                                Thanks for the advice.  My current rig is a Haswell i7-4770K setup, with one of my sons using my old x58.  We make smaller films such as stop action with Legos - so we kind of follow the small project approach you mentioned, although using multiple smaller than typical SSDs rather than platter drives for the OS/projects/scratch files.  One very fast larger SSD could be an option down the road.

                                 

                                I got burned with that x58 board in terms of Sata III.  It was around the time that Sata III was being introduced, and the board maker placed two Sata III ports on the board using a Marvell controller.  Unfortunately for me, the ports were poorly implemented with not enough lanes, and so the Sata III ports ended up slower than the Sata II.  (Users of that board ended up putting their SSDs on the faster Sata II Intel ports.)  That is a reason I am hesitant and was asking questions about the new faster interfaces such as M.2 and PCIe, because I want to avoid getting burned again with half baked or not ready for prime time storage interface changes.

                                 

                                Interestingly my Haswell i7-4770K Z87 rig has a PCIe slot configuration that allows for one of the slots to run in x4 mode without taking away from the graphics card x16 slot.  I think it disables two of the Sata III ports and maybe some of the x1 slots when a card is placed in the x4 slot.  So even though the board has no dedicated M.2 slot, maybe that x4 slot could accept a card for an M.2 SSD, or a PCIe SSD, and run at full speed - will have to take another look at the board specs.

                                • 13. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                                  mikeklar Level 1

                                  So now I just bought the SM951 MZ-HPV512,. for some reason these are difficult to get in Canada  (Of course the NV series will shortly become available in Canada now, just to punish my impatience) 

                                  That said, how to best utilize it?

                                  I have to transcode a two hour video, the good news it is a single continuous clip and I'm thinking of loading the entire file on this drive and let it and PR do their thing. 

                                  Any recommendations?

                                  Cheers,

                                  Mike

                                  • 14. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                                    mikeklar Level 1

                                    Guess what, the Samsung SM951 MZ-HPV512 has been discontinued -

                                     

                                    http://www.anandtech.com/show/9650/samsung-announces-950-pro-ssd-their-first-consumer-vnan d-nvme-ssd

                                     

                                     

                                    Fortunately my supplier advised me they can no longer get the older model.  So there is good news along with the bad news, I'll just have to be patient

                                    Cheers

                                    • 15. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                                      Bill Gehrke Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Your plans sound good to me!

                                       

                                      From what I can tell there is no advantage of NVME over ACHI for working with sequential files.  The advantages of NVME show up in heavy short I/O tasks like database work.  If you have seen the Intel 750 PCIe plug-in boards which are NVME, they do no better than a non-NVME SM951 on our PPBM Disk I/O test according to one test that test it with our PPBM benchmark.

                                      • 16. Re: M.2 PCIe x4 Technology
                                        mikeklar Level 1

                                        Thanks Bill for responding

                                        Thought you may be interested - I decided to transcode the two  hour long file to MPEG2 and it took less than 25 minutes to complete the entire scene.  The original file (AVCHD 1080P 30fm/sec) was 20GB and the transcoded one is 14GB.  Memory usage climbed to 45GB.  Also, I checked the "Maximum Render Quality"  box

                                        There was no activity in the GPU, but the CPU ran at 100%.  The only concern is this system runs 10 degrees Celsius hotter than I was used to on my old system with an Intel 990x Extreme.  I.e. the temperature averaged around 76 degrees with Core 2 running between 79 and 81 degrees.

                                        I'm assuming this is normal for Haswell CPUs?

                                        Cheers