New to M.2 SSDs. ASUS Z97-PRO board. Need your advice.

Spitfire7

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Hey guys, I always appreciate the advice.

I have the ASUS Z97-PRO board which can be seen here https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z97PRO/

Here is what it says. "With two native PCI Express 2.0 bandwidth, M.2 supports up to 10Gbit/s data-transfer speeds."

So, we know my board supports it.

Whats the best on the market, second best, and then best for the money budget build?

This will be for video editing, photography editing, and high end games.

I definitely need 1TB at the least.

What are my best options out there?

I am currently looking at the Samsung 1TB 970 EVO NVMe M.2 Internal SSD for $257.99
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1398241-REG/samsung_mz_v7e1t0bw_1tb_970_evo_nvme.html

So far that is a pretty good price compared to Amazon's. Please let me know your knowledge and advice. Thank you.

EDIT:
I did just read this recently from a moderator on here.

"You do realize that the 970 EVO NVMe will only run at about 1/3 its full performance, right?

https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z97PRO_GAMER/
"Z97-PRO GAMER includes an M.2 socket with two native PCI Express 2.0 lanes for data-transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s."

A current x4 m.2 port would allow "up to 32GB/s" with that drive. "

So maybe I am limited to a different SSD. Which would be the absolute best for this Z97-Pro board?



 

Rogue Leader

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Just get a regular SATA SSD, unless you are doing massive file operations you wouldn't see the difference with the M.2, and its certainly not worth the cost for that 970 Pro related to the performance you would get.

And 860 EVO will do the job for you for half the price.
 

Spitfire7

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Thank you for this advice. I will now look into that. On a side note, couldn't I just get one of these PCIe 3.0 adapters and plug into 1 of 3 PCIe 3.0 slots that are on my Z97? https://www.amazon.com/Mailiya-M-2-PCIe-3-0-Adapter/dp/B01N78XZCH/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1546489337&sr=8-5&keywords=M.2+PCIe+adapter

Would it be as simple as that, or am I going to have to update bios, do all this tricky work and be a total pain in the butt just to try to get it to work right?

 

Rogue Leader

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You can do that if you want it to work as a secondary drive, but your board won't boot from it. Also only your GPU slots are PCIe 3.0, and if you put this in your second GPU slot you're robbing performance from your GPU since the lanes split between them. Any other slot and its only PCIe 2.0
 

Spitfire7

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Ahh dang it. Thank you man, you are saving me so much trouble and hassle on down the road. Okay so a Samsung 850 1TB should do the trick? The read and write speeds are so slow though at about 500mb/s compared to the other 3200MB/s wow.

Whats the biggest different from the 850 to the 860? It all looks the same to me on paper.
 

Rogue Leader

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The 850 is discontinued, get the 860. yes the read and write speeds are slower, you will never even notice it gaming or any of the other things you will do. Only if you were doing large file operations would you really feel this file transfer speed
 

Spitfire7

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Okay I will appreciate your help. You seriously saved me probably a month of trying out and sending back and wasting money etc. Thank you so much for your awesome knowledge.
 

Spitfire7

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Can I just bounce a few doubts that have come up off of you?

So I went to my local computer store today and coincidentally the use the Asus Z97 or something very similar and also use the 970EVO M.2 drive. He said with a quick bios update its plug and play.

I shared with him about how I wouldn't be getting the full potential of the drive since my board is not fully 100% set up to run a NVME 3.1 PCIex. He said, even though you won't be getting full potential, you will be preparing to keep this drive for your next board and you will still notice a major different from the Samsun 860 to this 970EVO especially for editing and high end gaming. I also said, some were having a lot of issues matching up the right bios to make this drive and everything working happy together. He reminded me that he's running them on two of his systems without any issues and very quick and easy setup.

I walked out of their slightly doubting myself and our last conversation on here now. This mostly just shows my ignorance and indecisiveness. Did anything he said ring true? Even if I weren't getting full potential of the M.2 970 right now, would it at least still be a huge difference in comparing side by side to the 860 SATA?
 

Spitfire7

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Also, found this which might be helpful since I am running Windows 7.

ASUS Z97 Pro Motherboard. The XP941 will boot and install Windows 8.1 easily in this motherboard in UEFI mode. To get Windows 7 working, it is a bit trickier as of March 2015, but see this comment below for some detailed steps to get Windows 7 installed. Whilst ASUS is working on a BIOS patch to support legacy booting with the XP941, see the ASUS document and instructions above for the Z97 Deluxe for more information. Note, it seems the storage configuration settings relating to M.2 need to be set specifically to [M.2] and not just to [AUTO], in order to be able to boot the Samsung XP941.

Here are the steps to get the 970 M.2 drive to work on windows 7.

I found a good guide for installing win 7 on the XP941 here on thessdreview forums which appears to work well:

http://www.thessdreview.com...

Steps are below:

1. Create your USB UEFI boot media either using the free Windows 7 USB DVD download tool from Microsoft or Rufus etc.
2. Once the USB boot media is created you WILL need to download the Pre-compiled Shell_Full.efi file from https://wiki.archlinux.org/... (I downloaded v1)
3. Save it to your desktop or some place you can easily find it and rename the file you just downloaded to shellx64.efi
4. Download bootx64.efi from www.nextofwindows.com/downl... (bootx64.efi is basically just a renamed bootmgfw.efi file that has been extracted from the install.wim file) and save this to your desktop.
5. Open your USB thumb drive and you will need to actually CREATE a folder called BOOT within the EFI folder so it will look like X:\EFI\BOOT\ (ignore the Microsoft folder in the EFI folder)
6. Copy the shellx64.efi file directly to the root path of your thumb drive X:\shell64.efi and copy the bootx64.efi file to X:\EFI\BOOT folder you just created
7. Now pop that thumb drive in your ASrock Extreme6 motherboard and get into the BIOS's EXIT screen and click the "Launch EFI Shell from Filesystem Device"
8. It will bring you to Shellx64 command script screen. Give it a few seconds for it to give the Shell> prompt then type "Fs0:" without the " (You will get many options here from Fs0: to Blk0 to Blk1 etc. Basically my USB thumb drive was Fs0 and if yours is different then substitute accordingly. Shell> changes to "Fs0:"
9. After the "Fs0:" (or whatever your thumb drive prompt is) type \EFI\BOOT\bootx64.efi
10. Load Windows 7 Home/Pro 64 bit and be a happy camper

Uhhhhh..... what?

All this can be found here. https://www.ramcity.com.au/blog/m.2-ssd-guide-compatibility-list
 

Rogue Leader

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Sounds like hes trying hard to sell you an expensive high end drive.

I have a 960 EVO M.2 PCIe drive and an 860 EVO SSD. I have run games off both. There is no way in the world youd ever really know the difference. The ONLY time youd see a difference in the drives is in heavy file I/O operations, for example, copying large files, loading, and saving large files. The difference you would see? Maybe 2 seconds faster loading a game level. Copying and loading very large files, that would be huge. But what are you doing? Editing? Are you post processing 300 pictures at a time? Are you encoding hour long 4k movies? Are you running a big database? And all these huge differences I mentioned - are in half due to the bus speed.

One thing I'll say is sound, if you buy this drive now, you can re-use it in a new system youd build. But keep in mind, youd format it and reinstall windows anyway.

As for booting from it some Z97 boards can be set up to do that, so I was mistaken there, but not all boards will. You seem to have found the instructions for yours.
 

Spitfire7

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Okay, last question and I think I am 100% decided. I have the option to go with the Samsung 860 SATA or the M.2 SATA. Is there a difference other than ease of installation on my setup? I would prefer the simple plug into the board M.2 SATA version, but please let me know if I will be gaining or losing performance by doing this.

Here are all the specs on the board. Will the 860 M.2 SATA be compatible? https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/Z97PRO/specifications/

Lastly, will I run into issues once again with this board not recognizing the M.2 like others have mentioned for the 970 etc.?
 

Rogue Leader

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Your Board accepts both SATA and PCIe M.2 Drives, so the 860 EVO M.2 would work. No gain or loss in performance, it performs identically to its 2.5 inch plug in by SATA cable counterpart. Usually costs more thats the only disadvantage. Advantage is, as you saw, packaging and size. The system should recognize it like anoy other SATA drive.

I actually wouldn't buy it if you're considering future system upgrades. Reason is not all motherboards have M.2 SATA support. So depending on the board you want in the future you may have a useless drive.
 

USAFRet

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Yes, you could use this drive on your "next PC".
But, by that time...prices for that NVMe will be even lower than they are today.

I'm also on a Z97 board, and (for me) it is absolutely not worth it to spend the extra $$ for an NVMe drive when it won't run to its full potential.
And I say this as a person with ALL SSD's. A combination of Samsung 840, 850, 860 drives, in multiple sizes.

When I have a system that can actually use a 970 to its full potential, sure. That will be one, probably two of them.
But not until then.
 

Spitfire7

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Thank you for this. Good point. I am buying the Samsung 860 SATA right now. Thank you guys.
 

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