Kingston Predator SSD only performing at half speed!?:(

waynessd

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my PC is new as of early 2015 and I just bought the new Kingston HyperX Predator 480GB PCIe Gen2 x4 M.2 SSD for it, but despite various tweak attempts Ive never seen it get much above ~700mb/s for both read and write, which is approximately half of the rated maximum read speed of 1400 and a fair bit off 1000 write speed.

AS SSD Benchmark screenshot - http://postimg.org/image/5baqwpfar/

MOTHERBOARD is Asus Z97-A (https://www.asus.com/au/Motherboards/Z97A/)
CPU - Intel i7-4790K (Devil's Canyon/Haswell)
RAM - 2x8gb Kingston DDR3 1600mhz
OS - Win7 Ultimate 64bit
HDD - The only other drive is a Western Digital hdd but even when I disconnect its SATA cable and reboot with only the SSD available the benchmark is still the same.


In the Z97-A manual it states "The PCIe x1_1/2 slots share bandwidth with M.2 Socket 3. The M.2 Socket 3 is disabled by default" (but im assuming i successfully enabled it in BIOS as i am able to use the drive, just at half speed)
In Storage the manual also says "The SATA Express port shares bandwidth with M.2 Socket", in regards to the "1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)".
But again even with the HDD unplugged (both power + sataexpress cables) the benchmark is the same.

Im really impressed with the new performance of this SSD, but would love to see it at full performance not half! But ive run out of things to try from all my googling so it seems there's only one place left - Toms!
 
I did some additional research and your benchmarks results are normal.

On ASUS' website the Overview of the Z97-A states that the M.2 slot is PCIe 2.0 up to 10Gb/s. 10Gb/s is x2 bandwidth.

The HyperX Predator is x4. 32Gb/s equals x4 bandwidth.

Your Predator needs to be connect to an x4 slot in order to achieve advertised Read/Write speeds.

I know it's not what you wanted to hear, but at least you know there's nothing wrong with your SSD or your software drivers.
 

waynessd

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yes I unplugged both the power cable (from the hdd) + the SATAExpress cable (from the motherboard), effectively removing the HDD, but am still getting the same half-speed performance
 

waynessd

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what program can I use to see/screenshot the M.2 settings? i dont think my BIOS supports screenshots, but here are the related BIOS settings:

Advanced -> PCH Storage Configuration
_ SATAExpress SRIS Support = AUTO [Auto/Disabled]
_ SATA Mode Selection = AHCI [Disabled/IDE/AHCI/RAID]
_ Aggressive LPM Support = Disabled [Disabled/Enabled]
_ SMART Status Check = ON [On/Off]
then there is SATAG_1, _2 ... up to SATAG_6
_ All are EMPTY (including slot with now-unplugged Western Digital HDD)
_ All are ENABLED [Enabled/Disabled]
_ Hot Plug on all is DISABLED [Enabled/Disabled]

Advanced -> PCH Configuration
_ Intel PCH SKU Name = Z97
_ PCI Express Configuration -> PCI-E Speed = Gen2 [Auto/Gen1/Gen2]
_ Intel Rapid Start Technology = Disabled [Enabled/Disabled]
_ Intel Smart Connect Technology = Disabled [Enabled/Disabled]

Advanced -> Onboard Devices Configuration
_ PCI Express Slot and M.2 Bandwidth = M.2 Mode [PCIeX1 1 and 2 slot at X1 Mode/M.2 Mode]

I also just took a screenshot using CrystalDiskInfo
http://s3.postimg.org/92uw2z3qb/drive.png

the Asus Z97-A manual specifies the M.2 as "1 x M.2 Socket 3 (for M Key, type 2260/2280 storage devices)"

for Expansion Slots it has:
2 x PCI Express 3.0 / 2.0 x16 slots (single at x16 or dual at x8/x8 mode)
1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (max. at x2 mode)
2 x PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots*
2 x PCI slots
* The PCIe x1_1/2 slots share bandwidth with the M.2 Socket 3. The M.2 Socket 3 is disabled by default
 
Your AS SSD benchmark shows msahci - OK, which means that you are using Microsoft's default AHCI driver.

Install your motherboard manufacturer's latest AHCI drivers (version 13.1.0.1058) and see if that improves your benchmark scores.
https://www.asus.com/au/Motherboards/Z97A/HelpDesk_Download/
 

waynessd

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I notice in one of the successful reviews (ie. not mine!) that the person's AS SSD Benchmark screenshot shows "storahci" instead of my "msahci", so yes maybe i need to change away from this old 2006 MS driver!

I downloaded the 80mb asus driver pack although im pretty sure that was one of the things id already tried (did the "InstAll" again yesterday), and when i ran it it basically said "Setup needs to reboot to continue", and then after reboot it has the options Uninstall or Repair. I chose Repair, but AS SSD Benchmark still shows "msahci" Microsoft.

btw i used Acronis Trueimage to clone the HDD to the SSD so all the ondisk settings are the same.
in Computer Management -> Disk Management - C:\ -> Properties (Kingston SHPM2280P2/480G ATA Device) -> Policies, it has CHECKED "Enable write caching on this device" (when i turned it off it made the drive amazingly slow), and UNCHECKED "Turn off Windows write-cache buffer flushing on the device".

In the Driver tab the Driver Provider = Microsoft, and when I try to Update Driver and point it at the asus driver directory it says the driver is already up to date (even though it says 2006 for Driver Date!). Same when i choose Search Automatically for the driver, "it's up to date". Not sure if i should Uninstall this old Microsoft one? (or will that make the ssd unseeable!?)

I ran the setup.exe that came on the CD with the Asus motherboard and in that it has AHCI/RAID tab, so I go to that tab and the only button is "Intel AHCI/RAID Driver Path"... clicking on that opens Explorer in the CD\Drivers\RAID\IRST\Driver\Disk, with 32bit and 64bit directories, each with 2 x .CAT files, 2 x .INF files, and 2 x .SYS drivers ... right-clicking on either of the INF files -> Install simply gives the errmsg "The INF file you selected does not support this method of installation".
 


Yeah, I was just getting ready to suggest that you try right-clicking on the INF file and select Install.

Sorry, don't know what else to suggest. Somehow you need to update your AHCI driver. Go to ASUS' Support Forum and see if they have any suggestions.

 

waynessd

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I also tried in Device Manager with "Let me pick", but selecting either of the INF's results in errmsg "The folder you specified doesn't contain a compatible software driver for your device. If the folder contains a driver, make sure it is designed to work with Windows for x64-based systems." (im using Win 7 Ultimate 64, as Admin for all this, and obviously selecting the 64bit directory for the infs)
 

waynessd

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scroll back for my earlier reply please :)
"what program can I use to see/screenshot the M.2 settings? i dont think my BIOS supports screenshots, but here are the related BIOS settings:" -snip-
 
I did some additional research and your benchmarks results are normal.

On ASUS' website the Overview of the Z97-A states that the M.2 slot is PCIe 2.0 up to 10Gb/s. 10Gb/s is x2 bandwidth.

The HyperX Predator is x4. 32Gb/s equals x4 bandwidth.

Your Predator needs to be connect to an x4 slot in order to achieve advertised Read/Write speeds.

I know it's not what you wanted to hear, but at least you know there's nothing wrong with your SSD or your software drivers.
 

waynessd

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dang! i only bought the motherboard a few months ago :(
Thankyou very much Derek for finding what appears to be/im assuming is the main problem!
so what do I need to buy to bring the Predator up to top speed on the Z97-A, or do i need a new(er) motherboard? (and i'd like to plug the Western Digital hdd back in, hopefully at its top speed also!). What are my option(s)!?
Many thanks to everyone for their help so far! :)
 

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