Xeph
1 Copper

Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

I am looking to upgrade my boot drive to the Samsung 960 Pro or the 950 Pro

I am aware that I require a Lycom M2 to PCIE Adapter and someone on the forum has already successfully installed a Samsung 950 Pro as a boot drive.

I am looking to install the Samsung 960 Pro, Does anyone have any advice if there is any difference from using the 960 rather than 950? and any tips would really help!

THANKS!

2012 Alienware Aurora R4 ALX

9 Replies
Moderator
Moderator

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

Hi, 

It is not validated so unfortunately we cant confirm functionality.

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marcvv
1 Nickel

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

If you try it out let me know. I have R4 as well and want to make same upgrade!

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Xeph
1 Copper

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

Hi yes I installed a 512gb Samsung 950 pro with lycom M2 to PCIE, cloned my drive to the new Samsung 950 and it booted up easy with no setting changes needed.

marcvv
1 Nickel

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

Thanks for the update.  I would think the 960 Pro would work same as 950 as well?  Was there a reason you went with the 950 instead of 960 as you had originally planned?  

Were you coming from a regular HD or the PM830 SSD on your R4?  I have the SSD and am curious if upgrading is worth the effort and expense over the stock SSD

thanks

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Xeph
1 Copper

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

Im not sure of the 960 I would think it would work? But I managed to get a used 950 for reasonable price on ebay.

I had the c400 SSD originally which was OK.

Performance wise the 950 gains are barely noticeable, boot time is bad though not sure why it takes nearly double the time of the standard SSD.

BUT and its a big but! I wish I stuck with my original plan of buying a 500gb Samsung 850 Evo!! that would have been just as good if not better!!

marcvv
1 Nickel

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

Ok thanks for the info.  I might just stick with the current SSD as it is pretty fast.  I have heard that the M.2's in normal usage might not be that noticeable.  

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Tesla1856
6 Gallium

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

All the Samsung SATA-3/600 drives are basically the same speed (and sure a 960 might be a bit faster than a 830).


But a Samsung PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD is about 5 times faster than any of those. You might see a small difference in loading programs or game levels. However, you are really only going to see a BIG difference when booting the computer or operations involving reading or writing large amounts of data all at once. Like you said, SATA-3/600 is already pretty fast to begin with.
 
Any Samsung drive (2.5inch or M.2) that has "Pro" in the name as the better longevity MLC memory and therefore, usually a longer warranty. In some series, the controller in the Pro models might also be higher-performance. 


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Don_Canada
2 Iron

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

  • I have an NVMe Samsung 960 EVO M.2 SSD installed in my Alienware Aurora R4 (A11 BIOS).
  • I used an ASUS HYPER M.2 X4 MINI add in card to mount it.
  • Windows 10 Pro version 1709
  • UEFI BIOS mode with Secure Boot enabled
  • I installed the Samsung NVM Express Driver 2.2.
  • Samsung Magician shows it running PCIe Gen 3 x 4 and it tests full speed with CrystalDiskMark5.

But, I cannot get Windows 10 to boot from it.

I can clean install Windows 10 to it (or clone my running Windows with Macrium Reflect) and it is detected by the standard Windows driver during setup like nothing is out of the ordinary, but on Restart, the Aurora R4 cannot see the NVMe drive to boot from it. I even tried booting from another disk and pointing to the NVMe Windows install with the BCD on the SATA disk, but it still cannot detect it. Yet if I boot to Windows RE (Repair Environment) it sees the NVMe SSD instantly, from the Command Prompt and with diskpart, etc.

I found this document from Dell and my system behaves as described there. The NVMe drive never shows up in BIOS, as they say it might not and does not show up from BIOS as an available UEFI boot device.

After reading a couple of threads here, some claim success with an NVMe drive on Aurora R4. The only difference I can see is the ASUS add-in-card vs the Lycom mentioned here. Samsung says that the Add-In-Card should not affect bootability. As mentioned, I have no problems with speed/performance of the drive.

"An AIC is merely an adapter, and therefore does not change the inherent bootability or connectivity of a Samsung NVMe M.2 SSD. Please note that depending on the quality of the AIC, the performance of your Samsung NVMe M.2 SSD may, in rare cases, be below the performance specifications published by Samsung."

I have tried every configuration that I can think of, such as Secure Boot disabled, OpROM on and off, even Legacy BIOS mode.

Any other ideas? Is there any way to get a newer than A11 BIOS for the Aurora R4 to install that might help?

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Don_Canada
2 Iron

Re: Aurora R4 NVMe SSD upgrade

I finally did find a method for booting Windows 10 on my Alienware Aurora R4 with A11 BIOS.

 

I have to use a boot disk (bootable USB stick) called Clover bootloader. It includes an NVMe driver at the initial UEFI boot level and can then detect and boot the normal Windows 10 Boot Manager from the PCIe connected NVMe SSD. The Alienware UEFI firmware simply cannot detect the NVMe SSD.

 

I have to disable Secure Boot to boot the Clover USB stick. I would like to see if I can get Secure Boot working another way still.

 

Clover could also be installed to an SD-Card. Since my Aurora R4 came with a multi-format flash media reader, I may use a small SD-Card or similar to boot from instead. Clover only uses less than 14MB on the boot media to boot my PC.

alienware aurora r4 desktop‌ pcie 3.0 x4 nvme‌ windows 10 1709‌ dell alienware aurora uefi

 r4 m.2 m.2 boot device

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