Question for M.2 drive owners

LukeUBN4IT

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May 28, 2016
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If you purchased your Alienware with a M.2 drive, I believe the brand included is Samsung 950 or 951? Is that correct? The reason I ask is that I would like to know if the drive uses all 4 pci lanes or if it only uses two?

If you have an M.2 drive you can find out by downloading Samsung Magician software and it will say under "System information" and pci slot "link width Cur:" followed by x2 or x4.

I recently picked up a Samsung PM961 1TB M.2 SSD but am only getting x2 link speed from that M.2 slot.

Any insight would be appreciated, thanks!
 

aldkiwi

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Just installed Samsung Magician. It reports that my SSD is not a Samsung drive, refers to make as THNSN? The PCI slot box is not populated with any data. Sorry couldn't be of more assistance.
 

LukeUBN4IT

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Thanks for checking, that is really strange, unless it is not a Samsung drive? I assumed it was. Do you mind telling me what NVMe controller driver is loaded under device manager? I'm on my phone and don't have my computer on me at the moment but i know it is further down on the device manager.
 

aldkiwi

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Reports back as "Standard NVM Express Controller". Driver provider = Microsoft, Driver date 21 June 2006 and driver version 10.0.14393.82.
 

LukeUBN4IT

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May 28, 2016
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Thanks for checking that out! It's kind of odd that Alienware chooses to use the standard Microsoft NVMe controller, especially since Samsung has one available. I loaded the Samsung one using "have disk" and forced it to find that controller instead of Microsoft, and my Samsung Magician populates all the data now, like drive temp and all that, but it still only uses two lanes. That m.2 slot should allow for 4 lanes. Maybe Samsung still has not got their controller up to par to use all four lanes? Or possibly the wifi card takes two lanes?
 

aldkiwi

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Interesting. No idea myself. Drop me a line if you find out. It does seem odd to be using a 10 year old driver! If there was some benefit to forcing the system to use a current driver I'd certainly be interested in giving it a go.
 

LukeUBN4IT

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Interesting. No idea myself. Drop me a line if you find out. It does seem odd to be using a 10 year old driver! If there was some benefit to forcing the system to use a current driver I'd certainly be interested in giving it a go.

Thanks for your help aldkiwi!

http://www.overclock.net/t/1603995/samsung-sm961-nvme-thread/90

This thread discusses the pros and cons of using the standard microsoft controller versus the Samsung controller. It still doesn't answer the question I have but it seems that others are getting 4x lanes usability out of either one. This leads me to believe on our X51s, it may either be a hardware limitation, or an Alienware chipset driver issue which is limiting the X51 to 2 lanes.
 

aldkiwi

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Jun 20, 2016
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Good sleuthing. As you say, nothing there to suggest its worthwhile moving from the decade-old MS driver, though they were discussing a different point. Keep me posted if you do come across any further info, always interested in learning more/tweaking sensibly!
 
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