Question ROG STRIX X299-E Gaming II M.2 NVME Slot Choice For a Single NVME Drive

Nov 25, 2019
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I've read the M.2 choice questions in other posts, but perhaps I missed any questions about the X299 motherboards. I have a ROG STRIX X299-E Gaming II motherboard, Intel Core i9-9900X CPU, 1 TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus (primary), 2TB Seagate SATA drive (secondary for data), GEFORCE RTX 2070 Super OC (width is about 2 and 1/2 slots); 32 GB RAM. The motherboard has three M.2 slots.

M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 3.0 x 4 and SATA modes M Key design (the board would stick straight up in the air with the required accessory bracket -- seems kind of impractical)

M.2_2 and M.2_3 sockets support PCIe x 4 mode M Key design; The M.2_2 socket has a big heatsink but is located underneath the video card cooler fans -- hard to get to later.

M.2_1 socket supports IRST (Intel Rapid Storage Technology)

M.2_ and M.2_2 sockets support RSTe (Rapid Storage Technology enterprise)

Question 1: What would be the best socket choice for a single NVME boot drive?
Question 2: Do the IRST and RSTe options make any difference if you are not running RAID formation or running a server?
 
Nov 25, 2019
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I've read the M.2 choice questions in other posts, but perhaps I missed any questions about the X299 motherboards. I have a ROG STRIX X299-E Gaming II motherboard, Intel Core i9-9900X CPU, 1 TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus (primary), 2TB Seagate SATA drive (secondary for data), GEFORCE RTX 2070 Super OC (width is about 2 and 1/2 slots); 32 GB RAM. The motherboard has three M.2 slots.

M.2_1 socket supports PCIe 3.0 x 4 and SATA modes M Key design (the board would stick straight up in the air with the required accessory bracket -- seems kind of impractical)

M.2_2 and M.2_3 sockets support PCIe x 4 mode M Key design; The M.2_2 socket has a big heatsink but is located underneath the video card cooler fans -- hard to get to later.

M.2_1 socket supports IRST (Intel Rapid Storage Technology)

M.2_ and M.2_2 sockets support RSTe (Rapid Storage Technology enterprise)

Question 1: What would be the best socket choice for a single NVME boot drive?
Question 2: Do the IRST and RSTe options make any difference if you are not running RAID formation or running a server?
 

Johnpombrio

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Nov 20, 2006
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I have the ASUS ROG Strix Z390-E Gaming mobo which looks very similar to your mobo. Looking at your mobo's user manual, the best place to mount a M.2 NVME drive is the M.2-1 connector. this is exactly the same connector that I used in my mobo. Using any of the other ones may affect your SATA ports by turning off some of them, the same as ADDING another NVME drive. Simply put the NVME drive into the bottom right connector, clone your old boot drive (or do a cold load of windows) and you will be all set. Your BIOS should immediately recognize that you have an NVME drive installed. As for Intel Rapid start, don't bother. I have tried it both ways and didn't feel any different in boot time or running a program. What DID help was replacing my 3 4TB hard drives with SSDs (donno why but it boots faster). I have 4 computers with NVME boot drives and I cannot tell the difference between my pricy Samsung 970 EVO 1TB vs the Intel 660P 1TB I put into the rest of my computers. That said, the price is only $149 for the Samsung these days.
 
Nov 25, 2019
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The ASUS Strix X299 mobo has a heatsink cover over the M.2-1 slot that I recommended the owner to use. A BIG heatsink:
X299 mobo
The ASUS Strix X299 mobo has a heatsink cover over the M.2-1 slot that I recommended the owner to use. A BIG heatsink:
X299 mobo
Thank you for your input, but if you look at page 18 of the manual, it indicates that M.2 connector 1 is next to the DIMM sockets and stands at right angles to the motherboard; Socket 2 is beneath the largest heatsink which is below the video card; and M.2 socket 3 is underneath the smaller motherboard heatsink. After I posted the original question, I contacted ASUS tech support, who told me to plug the EVO 970 Plus into the "stand up" connector 1. When I asked them about why I should used the only socket without the heatsink, they then said that I should use connector 2. In reality, in my case it may be advantageous to use connector 1 since in my case it sits in front of the three front case fans.

I suspect that if you are not accessing the secondary SATA drive, it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference. Thank you again for taking the time to answer my post.
 

Johnpombrio

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Nov 20, 2006
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My bad. there is a difference between the Z299-E gaming and gaming II. On the gaming two mobo it is marked as M.2-3, number 6 on the connector map. It is the one under the included heatsink :) and closest to the SATA ports and the system panel header pins. Again, don't bother with the Intel rapid start. For me, the connectors are on page 15 of this manual:
X299-E gaming 2 manual
I can see how confusing this is tho by looking at the manual. Why IRST is not supported on all of the M.2 slots is beyond me. As far as my mobo is concerned, if I try to use the number 2 M.2 socket, it starts turning off SATA ports, something yours does not do (at least according to the manual). As long as the BIOS recognizes the drive on the 3 slot, you should be fine.
 

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