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SOLVED Intel 750 PCIE SSD Compatibility with Z170 Motherboards?

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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
I'm currently building a rig and was hoping to fit it with the Intel 750 PCIE SSD (the actual slot-in card one, not the 2.5" hard drive looking one, not sure if there's proper terminology for these).
The PC I'm going to build however is Z170 / 1151 based - Intel specifies only "A system based on the Intel® Z97 Chipset, Intel® X99 Chipset, or newer chipset." for the 750.

I'm just wondering whether anyone is using an Intel 750 as a boot drive on a Z170/1151 board and whether they had any issues installing it etc?

Additionally, the board I'm thinking of getting is the Asus Z170-WS, which as you can see on in the link about 1/2 way down the page, it mentions supporting NVMe via a U.2 connector and also via the M.2 slots but it doesn't mention whether NVMe is supported for the regular PCIe slots? This might be one of those "obvious answer" things but this is all new tech to me so I'm playing catch-up and finding it hard to find answers on the web. Thanks!
 
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ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Any particular reason for choosing the AIC instead of the U.2 form factor? Just curious.

You shouldn't have any issues booting to either the AIC or U.2 version with the Z170-WS.
I would go with U.2 though, as booting to AIC's isn't the smoothest process yet.
 
OP
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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
No particular reason, I just figured I'd have more control over which PCIE lanes get used (as I believe that when running a single GPU in the first x16 slot, putting this card into the other x16 slot would drop both to x8, whereas I can insert the 750 into the dedicated x4 slot. * But for the U.2, I'm not really sure how that works and where it takes lanes from), also the direct card version just feels like it *should* be faster since it doesn't use cables, but maybe I'm way off base there.

Would you recommend getting the U.2 version? Or would it be safer just to stick with a usual Samsung 850 Evo/Pro or whatever is around for now and wait for the tech to mature?

Thanks for your reply :)


* Oops, forgot to add. With regards to the PCIE lanes, I've read somewhere that only 16 of the lanes are provided from the processor to the PCIE slots. Would that mean that adding any PCIE card other than the graphics card (which would be x16 I assume) would drop the graphics card down to x8 or lower? Or is there a way to force the mobo to use the chipset lanes for specific PCIE ports?
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
No, all full length PCIe slots will run x16 all the time on this board as it utilizes a PLX chip to switch the lanes on the fly.
I'd recommend the U.2 version for a few reasons; airflow to GPU's and ease of booting to name two.

Please read my review of this board (on our front page) and the board specs again about the PCIe lanes, it will make my first statement make more sense.
 
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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
I've just given the review a read over - thanks for that!

I don't really understand what a PLX chip is or what it does - am I right in assuming that it "keeps" all the PCIE lanes as virtual lanes and then distributes them to the things that need them? So with regard "you can run GPU’s in the following configurations: single at x16, dual at x16/x16, triple at x16/x8/x8, quad at x8/x8/x8/x8" (from the review), I assume you could also run x16/x4 by using the second x16 slot as well as the x4 slot?

In terms of the U.2, where does this fit in? Is it also assigned lanes by the PLX chip or does it take its bandwidth from a different pool of lanes entirely? Sorry for the noob questions, just trying to get my head around how PLX, PCIE lanes and U.2 works together.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Correct, it allocates the lanes to where they are needed. This gives a higher throughput on the PCIe lanes, but does cause a millisecond or so of latency.
I'm not quite sure I follow what you're asking about the x4 slot.

The U.2 is pulling from the chipset lanes instead of the CPU lanes.

z170-chipset-block-diagram-rwd.png
 
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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Ah, cool - sounds like the best bet is to stick with the U.2 version then since it's coming from a different pool entirely, so that if I ever decide to upgrade to SLI or add other cards I wouldn't be at risk of compatibility issues. Not to mention current boot problems.

Do the current U.2 drive work fine as boot drives? I get that they are better than the AIC versions but do they have any potential pitfalls to watch out for over and above usual SATA SSDs?

As for the x4 slot, I just meant that if I got the AIC card version, whether I plugged it into the second x16 slot or into the x4 slot, I'd still get full x16 bandwidth to the graphics card and also x4 to the SSD.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Yes, the U.2 will work fine as a boot drive.

Correct, no matter where you placed the AIC you would receive full x16 to the GPU.
 
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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Awesome, that clears up all my confusion!

Thank you very much for your help ^_^
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Any time :)

Let me know if you have any other questions about the board, best place to ask is probably the discussion thread for the review (I'm subscribed to it).
 

Evilsizer

Senior Forum Spammer
Joined
Jun 6, 2002
dont forget when installing the OS you will need the driver aka middle man so when windows starts to boot it will from the u.2 drives. samsung sm951/sm961/950 drives have this, i believe the 750 does as well.
 
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Mayonati

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Oh right - will the system not boot without the driver pre-installed? In which case, is it possible to use a driver disk that would come with the SSD or will I need to slipstream it onto a Windows 10 disc somehow?
 

Evilsizer

Senior Forum Spammer
Joined
Jun 6, 2002
you should be able to install the driver before/during windows install. dont recall what the key is but it should show up during the install about which key to hit to install drivers first.

yea you could do it either way though...
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
You'll just need it on a flash drive during the install process :thup: