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Will 950 Pro work on a MSI GUARD-PRO ATX motherboard, and will it affe

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#1
Luke_Higdon

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I want to buy a new M.2. Samsung 950 Pro (256GB model). But my motherboard is a MSI GUARD-PRO ATX with 2 PCIe x16 slots.  One being the video card obviously.
System Specs:
 
CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-4790 3.60 GHz 8MB LGA1150
HDD: (2) 3TB SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM 
SSD: 256GB ADATA SP600
SSD: 512GB MX100
HDD: 250 GB 
MEMORY: 16GB DDR3/1866MHz Dual Channel Memory (Corsair Vengeance)
MOTHERBOARD: MSI GUARD-PRO ATX w/GbLAN, 2 PCIe x16, 4 PCIe x1, 3 PCI, 1 x M.2,    6x SATA 6Gb/s 
OS: Microsoft® Windows 8.1 (64-bit Edition) 
      - Soon to be Microsoft® Windows 10 (64-bit Edition)
VIDEO: AMD Radeon R9 270 2GB GDDR5 PCIe 3.0 x16 Video Card 
      - Soon to be a GTX 980ti
 
The M.2. Samsung 950 Pro needs a PCI-e Gen 3.0 x4. I only have the 2.0 x16 which correct me if I am wrong I can get an adapter for? (To be honest I don’t think my Motherboard can run the x16 at x8 but even if it can I hear that it will affect my graphics card a bit.  This might be a huge problem for me depending on the amount.  Does anyone know if it affects your GPU and if so how much?
 
So if I do plug it into my other x16 slot, will my GPU go down in performance? I realize there's not huge performance drop between x8 and x16 for GPU, but am curious if that is the case or if I can get x4 on one slot and x16 on the other?
 
It will indeed reduce the video card to PCIe 3.0 x8 and I think its possible to make it a 2.0 x4 (as shown below from MSI website) would that slow my 950 Pro down or the soon to come 980ti video card?
 
• 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (PCI_E2, supports x16 speed) [Used by Video Card]
• 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCI_E4, supports x4 speed)
• 4 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slots
 
Basically I want to know if I can get the 950 pro M.2. SSD and my video card to work without slowing them down, and if they do how much would that be?
 
Thank you for any help.
 

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#2
terry1966

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the cpu itself only supports 16x pci-e lanes, so when only using a single gpu then that can utilise the full 16 lanes but if paired with any device that needs to use a pci-e lane then yes there is going to be a compromise, i doubt you'd notice much if any difference in actual use but there will be a difference because the gpu will now only be able to use 8 dedicated pci-e lanes while the other 8 will be unused (or probably switched when needed) except for 2 that the m2 slot will be using.

 

so yes they will work together, yes there will be a performance hit, but in my opinion not enough of a hit to warrant not installing the m2 drive.

 

some links for further info :-

http://ark.intel.com...-up-to-4_00-GHz

https://www.pugetsys...erformance-518/

http://computer.hows...ci-express1.htm

https://www.microway...-gpu-computing/

 

:popcorn:


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#3
iammykyl

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Gday.

 

 

Basically I want to know if I can get the 950 pro M.2. SSD and my video card to work without slowing them down, and if they do how much would that be?

As terry1966 said, "so yes they will work together,"

From the Puget Review conclusion, "Our testing has pretty clearly shown that for gaming using either PCI-E 2.0 or PCI-E 3.0 will give you nearly identical performance. Oddly, in some benchmarks PCI-E 2.0 was actually faster than PCI-E 3.0. At the same time, x16 was not consistently faster than x8. Again, x8 was actually faster than x16 in many cases." (advice to read it all).

As the GTX 980ti is PCI Express 3.0, running at x8, would be OK, the performance hit would be the M.2. Samsung 950.  Even using an adaptor to get 4x lanes, they would be running at PCI Express 2.0, so performance would be at about the XP941 (PCIe 2.0 x4 - AHCI)

 

i would not install the 950 Pro. 


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#4
Luke_Higdon

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Thank you I appreciate the info


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#5
iammykyl

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You are welcome. :thumbsup: 


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#6
terry1966

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As the GTX 980ti is PCI Express 3.0, running at x8, would be OK, the performance hit would be the M.2. Samsung 950.  Even using an adaptor to get 4x lanes, they would be running at PCI Express 2.0, so performance would be at about the XP941 (PCIe 2.0 x4 - AHCI)

 

i would not install the 950 Pro.

can you expand on this for me iammy,

how did you come to the conclusion using an adaptor will slow the drive down (both pci-ex16 slots on that motherboard are gen3 :- https://www.msi.com/...specification)?

and what m2 drive would you suggest installing if any?

 

used in the m2 slot yes it will be limited to the theoretical 10Gbs ( 1250 MBs still much faster than any single sata ssd. ) of the motherboards connections but in an adaptor (assume your talking about one like this :- http://www.amazon.co...SFQ73SMQSNXHH40) then you will get the full capabilities of the drive and there will be no slowdown caused by lack of bandwidth when connected to the second x16 slot of his motherboard as far as i can tell, and why i was wondering if i'm mistaken and missing something (wouldn't surprise me. :rofl: ).

 

:thumbsup:

 

personally after using a sm951 in a new build for my daughter i'd definitely recommend using the 950pro if people can afford it especially in motherboards with 32Gbs m2 pci-e slots that can utilize the full potential but also even in older motherboards limited to the 10Gbs on their m2 pci-e slots.

 

:popcorn:


Edited by terry1966, 07 February 2016 - 09:05 AM.

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#7
Luke_Higdon

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So tell me this what would you purchase if you were trying to get a faster SSD and all of your current SATA cables are used up?  I could take off one of the SATA's but I am trying not too.  I don't think they even sell the 256 GB XP941 anymore. What would your opinion be?

 

Or what if I put my 980ti into the 2.0x16 and used the 3.0x16 for the 950 pro?

 

Point being I want nothing to interfere with the speed with the GTX980ti, they aren't cheap, but I want to find a way to get the fastest Hard Drive that I can without seriously hindering anything else.  Another drive or a different configuration. Thank you.


Edited by Luke_Higdon, 07 February 2016 - 06:55 PM.

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#8
iammykyl

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Gday terry1966.

 

can you expand on this for me iammy,

how did you come to the conclusion using an adaptor will slow the drive down (both pci-ex16 slots on that motherboard are gen3 :-

From the MB Manual, page #4.

1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (PCI_E2 , supports x16 speed)   1x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCI_E4 , supports x4 speed)
and, M.2 port supports M.2 PCIe module up to 10Gb/s speed** The 950 Pro, 
The SM951 - NVMe  MZ-HPV256R is on the compatibility list.
The SM951 - Pro MZ-VKV256 is not on the list.
The same answer I gave > http://www.cnet.com/...obo-compatible/
There are plenty of "SSD boots faster" "SSD loads maps faster" but to date, I have been unable to find a Pro Review where actual game play is compatred, with chat result, between a HDD and SSD.
So in this instance, I would install a Samsung 850 EVO, > http://www.newegg.co...=9SIA6BM3T90744and the new GPU.   Clean install the OS,  relocate the User folders, + add a Programs folder, to the existing HDD, (Data storage).   Both items can be moved to a future build, Z170 or Intel's Next.
 
I think the only Z97 MBs with an M.2 x 4 slot  PCIe 3.0 are from Asrock, > http://www.anandtech...ed-with-xp941/9
******
Just seen your post,

 

So tell me this what would you purchase if you were trying to get a faster SSD and all of your current SATA cables are used up?  I could take off one of the SATA's but I am trying not too.  I don't think they even sell the 256 GB XP941 anymore. What would your opinion be?

 

Or what if I put my 980ti into the 2.0x16 and used the 3.0x16 for the 950 pro?

 

Point being I want nothing to interfere with the speed with the GTX980ti, they aren't cheap, but I want to find a way to get the fastest Hard Drive that I can without seriously hindering anything else.  Another drive or a different configuration. Thank you.

Going out for a bit, will give it some thoughts and get back later tonight. 


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#9
terry1966

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1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (PCI_E2 , supports x16 speed)   1x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCI_E4 , supports x4 speed)

that's where i was mistaken then thought both x16 slots where 3.0, still doesn't change my opinion though, even in the x16 2.0 your still getting 2000MBs theoretical so won't slow the drive down much, as to gaming itself there won't be an advantage in fps because of the faster drive but the difference is going to be in map load times like you say.

 

there is no real difference between 950 pro and sm951 in actual operating it, same nvme driver can be used for both, the main difference is the 950 pro uses 3d nand.

 

personally i'd stick the gpu in the x16 3,0 slot and use an adapter and 950 pro in the x16 2.0 slot.

 

main problem i can foresee is if the motherboard/bios/uefi will see and allow the drive to be used as a boot drive.

 

here's a link comparing speeds 3.0x4 vs 2.0x2 for the 950 pro :- http://www.hardwarez...ie-30-x4-scores

 

:popcorn:


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#10
iammykyl

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Decided to split replies to save confusion. 

Option 1.

what if I put my 980ti into the 2.0x16 and used the 3.0x16 for the 950 pro?

 

Answer.   I can't find anyone who has done that.   GPU in first slot, run at x 16, adding card to second slot x 8, auto cuts first slot to x 8, but should function at Gen 3.0.

The GPU in second slot, Gen 2.0 may take a hit of 1/3 fps loss.

You will still need a pci to M.2 adaptor card. Possible, > http://www.legitrevi...0-review_165632

Caution Check that any adaptor does not block another pci slot you want to use, or, the CPU heatsink/fan prevents it being used.


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#11
iammykyl

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Option 2.

 

So tell me this what would you purchase if you were trying to get a faster SSD and all of your current SATA cables are used up?  I could take off one of the SATA's but I am trying not too.  I don't think they even sell the 256 GB XP941 anymore. What would your opinion be?

 

 

Answer.   Not use the M.2 slot.   * The SATA5 and SATA6 ports will be unavailable when installing a module in the M.2 port.   Use the PCIe adaptor as in Option 1, or,

GPU in in first slot, PCI adaptor + 950 Pro in second slot.

As this a primary a gaming rig, read speeds are what is important. terry's link,  > here's a link comparing speeds 3.0x4 vs 2.0x2 for the 950 pro :- http://www.hardwarez...ie-30-x4-scores

Can't find any reviews where games show fps scores, only load times, > http://techreport.co...-ssd-reviewed/4

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Option 3.

GPU in slot one.

950 Pro in M.2 slot.

An adaptor card get back 2 SATA ports, example > http://www.startech....r-Card~PEXSAT32


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#12
iammykyl

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Option 4.

To get the full performance from both the 950 Pro and the 980ti + more SATA ports.

Change the MB to the Asrock Extreme6/3.1 Socket 1150, which has a M.2  Gen 3.0 x4 slot and a M.2 Gen 2.0 x2 slot.

User Manual, page #39 > http://asrock.pc.cdn...97 Extreme6.pdf

Review, > http://www.tomshardw...ssd,4313-2.html

Newegg, > http://www.newegg.co...N82E16813157602

If you do not have a full retail Windows OS, you would also need to buy a new one as an OEM licensed OS is not transferable to a different MB.


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#13
Luke_Higdon

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Wow thank you so much for all of this information, all of you. iammykyl the CNET posting you pointed too being my post said it was not compatible.  However, is this incorrect given I could get an adapter? Sure I would hit a speed limitation but I don't think it is truly incompatible is it? I agree with you that if I don't get this drive I am going to get a Samsung EVO and put my OS on it and erase my old one to clean things up.

 

To Terry 

 

 

 

1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot (PCI_E2 , supports x16 speed)   1x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot (PCI_E4 , supports x4 speed)

that's where i was mistaken then thought both x16 slots where 3.0, still doesn't change my opinion though, even in the x16 2.0 your still getting 2000MBs theoretical so won't slow the drive down much, as to gaming itself there won't be an advantage in fps because of the faster drive but the difference is going to be in map load times like you say.

 

there is no real difference between 950 pro and sm951 in actual operating it, same nvme driver can be used for both, the main difference is the 950 pro uses 3d nand.

 

personally i'd stick the gpu in the x16 3,0 slot and use an adapter and 950 pro in the x16 2.0 slot.

 

main problem i can foresee is if the motherboard/bios/uefi will see and allow the drive to be used as a boot drive.

 

here's a link comparing speeds 3.0x4 vs 2.0x2 for the 950 pro :- http://www.hardwarez...ie-30-x4-scores

 

:popcorn:

 

You said it will allow the drive to be used as a boot drive.  This is why I am doing this.  I am not worried about gaming, except when playing Fallout 4 it would be nice not to wait forever for load screens. Otherwise I want my entire system and programs to run faster off of the M.2. Is there a problem doing this? Second the comparison shows 3.0x4 vs. 2.0x2. why not 2.0 by 4? wouldn't that be faster. Their sequential speed is hardly faster that the 850 Pro.  Would that change things?

 

iammykyl you should me that adapter and I believe there is room it is watercooled and does not take up much space especially around the M.2. slot. I noticed the adapter can hold two cards first can I run windows from the M.2. and second, not that this is necessarily wise but could you RAID 1 to double the speed? Just a curiosity. Also thank you for all the options it coordinates everything very well. I don't want to lose the SATA 5 and 6 ports which I was not aware of and don't understand why that happens with  the M.2. installation so I would lean towards possibly option 1.  So with the video card in slot 1 and the adapter in slot 2 I would still need a SATA cable to connect into meaning I need to take one out, which is ok.  On the adapter there are two SATA ports do I need two SATA cables or is the second one for the second M.2.? The best option if I had the money is 4 and I considered that MOBO. It is just I have replaced the PSU, RAM, Fans, SSD's, HDD's, etc and I know this would be the best idea yet i have never done it especially with water cooling.  I think I could do it just paying another $160 plus the $180 M.2. as opposed to an EVO seems pricey when my plans were to later go to a DDR4 board in a few years or whatever is new then. It is tempting and will give it though but for now would like to try and get around it. Although I could sell it but for now I want to see if I can get around it. So as sequential read is usually the most important in my case the normal 2,173 mb/s of the 950 pro would go down to 752 mb/s at 2.0x2. To me that is hard to justify buying even though it is a 50% increase that is a far cry from a 400% for the money. So is there a possibility of doing 2.0x4 or something else to increase the speed without hampering the video card? Again thank you guys.

 

I almost forgot you mentioned that if I get a new MOBO then windows OEM wont work. I know I was going to put windows on another hard drive so I loaded it on another computer to see if it was possible from the disk they gave me.  It worked but does this mean that if I get another MOBO even if it works it will not be valid? The computer I loaded it on ran all updated and asked to be upgraded to Windows 10 so it seems fine.  I am going to erase it and maybe make it a server but are you saying it works but I am not supposed to?


Edited by Luke_Higdon, 09 February 2016 - 03:07 PM.

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#14
terry1966

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You said it will allow the drive to be used as a boot drive.  This is why I am doing this.  I am not worried about gaming, except when playing Fallout 4 it would be nice not to wait forever for load screens. Otherwise I want my entire system and programs to run faster off of the M.2. Is there a problem doing this? Second the comparison shows 3.0x4 vs. 2.0x2. why not 2.0 by 4? wouldn't that be faster. Their sequential speed is hardly faster that the 850 Pro.  Would that change things?

whether you can use it as a boot drive depends on certain things, like the bios/uefi and what os your installing on it, from what i understand at the moment you can't install windows 7 on it because there is no nvme driver that can be installed first using F6 to add driver (probably will be sometime though.), which will be needed before you can install windows 7, but i believe from win 8 on up the nvme drivers are included (i only use linux so no actual experience with installing windows to a m2 drive.) so with those later operating systems yes i believe it can be used as a boot drive just as long as the uefi/bios sees it, you may need a uefi/bios update first.

 

regarding 2.0x4 speeds, from this link :- http://www.thessdrev...ot-performance/

 

Theoretically, PCIe 2.0 (Gen 2) could reach 500MB/s throughput which meant a PCIe Gen 2 X2 (2 lane) M.2 drive could ‘theoretically’ hit 1GB/s, where X4 (4 lane) could reach 2GB/s, true speeds of course being lower.  The introduction of PCIe Gen 3 increased ‘per lane’ throughput to 984MB/s which brought a M.2 PCIe Gen 3 x4 SSD ‘theoretically’ to just under 4GB/s.  In reality, we have seen 1.4GB/s from a PCIe Gen 2 X4 M.2 SSD and around 2.5GB/s from a PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD

 

the adapter linked to by iammy lets you connect 3x m2 drives, 1 connected by to the pci-e bus and 2 connected to sata ports via cables, but you wouldn't use the 2xm2 sata connections and would just use the single m2 pci-e connection with the 950 pro, that way you don't lose any of your current connected sata drives.

 

:popcorn:


Edited by terry1966, 09 February 2016 - 07:57 PM.

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#15
iammykyl

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You are welcome. :thumbsup: 

 

NB.   The adaptor was tested on a MBs PCIe 3.0 slot, so if lanes or bandwidth are reduced, the 950 will run at x2 and, I can't determine if the two SATA ports will function correctly.

 

" noticed the adapter can hold two cards first can I run windows from the M.2"

Yes.

 

"could you RAID 1 to double the speed?"

No.   You would need two 3.0  PCIe slots to RAID two 950s or two M.2 slots, same as raiding two SATA drives.   

 

"I don't want to lose the SATA 5 and 6 ports which I was not aware of and don't understand why that happens with  the M.2. installation"

On the Z97 only one PCIe 3.0, 16 lanes available.   two type PCIe cards installed, = 8 lanes for the GPU, 8 lanes shared.   When you install a M.2 SSD there is not enough bandwidth to go around, so it is pinched from two SATA ports.  

On the Z97 with two PCIe 3.0, installing to the second slot gives 16 lanes.

 

 

 " So with the video card in slot 1 and the adapter in slot 2 I would still need a SATA cable to connect into meaning I need to take one out, which is ok."

No.   If just installing the 950 on the back of the adaptor, M.2 slot, no extra cable needed.

 

" On the adapter there are two SATA ports do I need two SATA cables or is the second one for the second M.2.? "

Yes.   2 SATA cables connecting 2 SAT drives, SSD or HDD. 

 

"So is there a possibility of doing 2.0x4 or something else to increase the speed without hampering the video card?"

No.   The  PCIe ver. 2.0 has a limited bandwidth so achieves x2, the 950 Pro needs the bandwidth of PCIe 3.0 to achieve x4.  

Use Option 1 and if no satisfactory, change to option 3.

 

"you mentioned that if I get a new MOBO then windows OEM wont work."

As you found out, it will work, but surprised you were able to activate without getting error or warning of some kind.   The OEM licence ties the OS to the first MB it is installed on and is not legally for use on a different one.   It may run for ages but eventually Microsoft will send you a warning or even lock you out.

 

Upgrade to a Z170 platform is just not worth it as it would make virtually no difference to gaming performance.

If I missed anything, let us know. 

 

 

 

 

 


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