Alienware General - Read Only

2 Bronze

Does Area 51-R2 motherboard support NVMe SSD via PCIe?

Does Area 51-R2 motherboard support NVMe SSD such as Intel 750, Samsung SM951 NVMe, HP Turbo Z G2?

Solutions (3)

Accepted Solutions

Thank you so much for the following up. I've tried the new BIOS update but unfortunately, it did not solve the problem with my PCIE SSD.

For the Area 51 R2 owners who are considering buying a PCIE SSD (or M.2 SSD with a PCIE adaptor), this is my experience with a Samsung SM951 AHCI 512GB SSD as an reference.

My system is the Area 51 R2 with 3 X GTX980, i7-5960X.

The SM951 itself requires a M.2 or PCIE X4 3.0 connecting, and is capable of performing sequential read-2150MB/s, write- 1500MB/s, BUT NO ON THIS MACHINE! Well, at least no with the PCIE X4 slot on it.

I used a PCIE X4 3.0 adaptor to connect my SM951 since there is no M.2 slot. And the test speed with ATTO Disk bench, AS SSD Benchmark and HDTune are all around:

sequential read-1550MB/s, write- 1200MB/s, which is about 75% of SM951's full speed.

My first thought was I got a bad SSD, but I was wrong.

I then took down one of the GTX980s, and connected the SSD via the PCIE X8 instead of X4 slot on the motherboard. Then the magic happened, the test speed is just right:

read-2150MB/s, write- 1500MB/s, the full speed of SM951.

After some internet research, my best guess for now is because the designer of Area 51 R2 did not thing of M.2 SSD or PCIE SSD as a big deal at the time (probably that's why the Area 2 X99 motherboard lacks M.2 slot while other brands doesn't), so they somehow configured the PCIE X4 slot as 2.0 version (to yield the bandwidth for the three GTX980s?) Thus it would NOT allow the PCIE X4 slot to provide enough bandwidth for the high speed SSD.

May I'm wrong with the guess. It would be appreciated if someone could provide any idea or solution as the PCIE X4 slot is not working properly.

CONCLUSION:

For those who own Alienware Area 51 R2 with 3 graphic cards, and considering buying a high speed PCIE SSD, I highly recommend waiting for a new BIOS fix the problem of the PCIE X4 slot. (the new A02 version did not solve it).

For those who own Alienware Area 51 R2 with 1 or 2 graphic cards, go ahead and buy the PCIE SSD if you want. Once you fail to achieve fall speed with the PCIE X4 connecting, try the PCIE X8 slot, this should be working fine.

PS: Thanks again for those who consider this as a problem. The age of PCIE SSD is coming. And the only way to make the Alienware better is to first admit it lacks something : )

View solution in original post

Community Accepted Solution

i tried the SM951 on my Area 51 R2 but got the same results. I've ordered a Kingston Hyper X, and I've seen others have got it to work. So I'll tread water with this until Alienware updates the bios to recognize this technology. 

Greg
System Specs: Alienware Area 51, Windows 10 Pro, i7-5820K Overclocked to 3.8 GHz, 16GB Quad Channel DDR4, 4GB GeForce GTX 980 Ti, Kingston Predator Hyper X 240GB PCIe SSD + 2TB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s, Asus PB287Q 28 (which is junk)

View solution in original post

Community Accepted Solution

Hi, just picked up a R2 the other day and I too have moved from a classic Mac Pro that was using a SM951 on a Lycom PCIe adapter, ivr tried a number of things but after cloning my windows drive I just cannot boot off of it, I have checked BIOS and the steps mentioned here and other places but the system does not recognise the PCIe SSD until it boots into windows. Gutted, has anyone else managed it??


Alienware Area 51 R2

I7-6900K @ 4.00 GHz

32GB RAM

SM951 Blade SSD 512GB

500GB 850 Pro SSD + 4TB WD Black HDD

GTX 1080 ti SC Hybrid

Asus PG348Q ROG Swift 34 inch 3440x1440

Mad Catz RAT 5 Mouse

Mad Catz keyboard v7

View solution in original post

Community Accepted Solution
Replies (63)
2 Bronze

The Area 51 with X99 Mobo, 5960X, for example.

3 Argentum

Yes, the Alienware Area 51 R2 Motherboard will run the Intel SSD 750 Series AIC PCIe 3.0 as a storage drive and you should be able to use it as a bootable drive too. To be bootable the UEFI needs to be at the version 2.3.1. One way to know if we have the UEFI 2.3.1 is to check in the BIOS A01 if the Secure Boot is available. In this case the Secure Boot is available with the BIOS A01 and the Intel SSD 750 Series AIC PCIe 3.0 should run as a boot drive with this motherboard.

Note: There's no option in the BIOS A01 to select the drive Mode: AHCI, RAID or NVMe. It switches automatically to the right mode. 

Thanks for the useful information.

I actually asked the same question to the Dell customer service, they replied me that the Alienware Area 51 R2 Motherboard does not support NVMe, and there might be a coming BIOS update fixing it.

Do you think it's a mistake, or, does it mean that this mobo runs NVMe SSD differently from other X99 mobo, such as ASUS or MSI ones? Maybe slower?

The Alienware Area 51 R2 motherboard is manufactured by MSI. Most motherboard with the X99 Chipset support the NVMe by default and it doesn't need a BIOS update but some of them does need a new BIOS update to get the support of NVMe/ to recognize the new drive. Now the worst can happen is you can not boot or it can run slower as a bootable drive/ storage drive and you'll have to hope for new BIOS update that will unlock all the potential of NVMe.

Thank you so much. That answers all my concerns. Hope the new BIOS comes soon.

Thank you so much. That answers all my concerns. Hope the new BIOS comes soon.

The New BIOS version A02 for Alienware Area 51 R2 is released today! Alienware/Dell did not take the time to detail all the features of this BIOS version. So we don't know what is activated or not. I think the best way to know if the Intel SSD 750 Series AIC PCIe 3.0 will boot is to give it a try. I would love to buy one to try, but where I live all the stores that sell this product, they don't give a refund for this item.

Thank you so much for the following up. I've tried the new BIOS update but unfortunately, it did not solve the problem with my PCIE SSD.

For the Area 51 R2 owners who are considering buying a PCIE SSD (or M.2 SSD with a PCIE adaptor), this is my experience with a Samsung SM951 AHCI 512GB SSD as an reference.

My system is the Area 51 R2 with 3 X GTX980, i7-5960X.

The SM951 itself requires a M.2 or PCIE X4 3.0 connecting, and is capable of performing sequential read-2150MB/s, write- 1500MB/s, BUT NO ON THIS MACHINE! Well, at least no with the PCIE X4 slot on it.

I used a PCIE X4 3.0 adaptor to connect my SM951 since there is no M.2 slot. And the test speed with ATTO Disk bench, AS SSD Benchmark and HDTune are all around:

sequential read-1550MB/s, write- 1200MB/s, which is about 75% of SM951's full speed.

My first thought was I got a bad SSD, but I was wrong.

I then took down one of the GTX980s, and connected the SSD via the PCIE X8 instead of X4 slot on the motherboard. Then the magic happened, the test speed is just right:

read-2150MB/s, write- 1500MB/s, the full speed of SM951.

After some internet research, my best guess for now is because the designer of Area 51 R2 did not thing of M.2 SSD or PCIE SSD as a big deal at the time (probably that's why the Area 2 X99 motherboard lacks M.2 slot while other brands doesn't), so they somehow configured the PCIE X4 slot as 2.0 version (to yield the bandwidth for the three GTX980s?) Thus it would NOT allow the PCIE X4 slot to provide enough bandwidth for the high speed SSD.

May I'm wrong with the guess. It would be appreciated if someone could provide any idea or solution as the PCIE X4 slot is not working properly.

CONCLUSION:

For those who own Alienware Area 51 R2 with 3 graphic cards, and considering buying a high speed PCIE SSD, I highly recommend waiting for a new BIOS fix the problem of the PCIE X4 slot. (the new A02 version did not solve it).

For those who own Alienware Area 51 R2 with 1 or 2 graphic cards, go ahead and buy the PCIE SSD if you want. Once you fail to achieve fall speed with the PCIE X4 connecting, try the PCIE X8 slot, this should be working fine.

PS: Thanks again for those who consider this as a problem. The age of PCIE SSD is coming. And the only way to make the Alienware better is to first admit it lacks something : )

Community Accepted Solution

Hi, are you able to boot from the pci-e ssd? I want to buy the intel 750 card and use it as a boot drive.

Sorry, I didn't even try that since I get the non-NVMe version of the SM951 SSD. The relatively low 4K read/write of it does not worth exchanging my Samsung 850 pro as the boot drive. While I'm using it as a storage drive, it does not show up in the BIOS panel, but works well in Windows. This is probably because that it's an OEM SSD without any driver support.

The NVMe Intel 750, on the other hand, is claimed bootable. You may found some guides here:

download.intel.com/.../nvme_boot_guide_332098001us.pdf

www.youtube.com/watch

However, keep in mind the pcie X4 slot might be 2.0 on this motherboard. You might wanna connect the 750 via the PCIE X8 slot. 

Top Contributor
Latest Solutions