Martian_User
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M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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RE: X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro

I got Alienware x51 R3 and when I was installing my SSD I saw the M.2 port. I ordered a Samsung 950 Pro, installed it, but nothing. 

The computer doesn't boot. I get the blank screen with the flashing curser. 

Repair CD/ USB do not work.

When I remove the M.2, the computer boots fine with my SSD hooked up using Sata ports. 

I heard that the stock M.2 is a PM951 M.2 SSD.

Does that mean the Samsung 950 Pro won't work?

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M3RiceRocket
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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Nope--SATA III is still slower than 2xPCIe 3.0 lanes.

The Samsung 850 M.2 will probably top out around 520-550 MBps Seq Read due to the limitations of the SATA protocol and port specs. You can see I'm getting 1500+ MBps Seq Read even with just two lanes active. The 950 Pro NVMe is capable of 2500 MBps read speed with 4 lanes active.

The only place where having 4 lanes versus 2 lanes for the 950 Pro NVMe matters is in sequential read speed. The write speeds and Random access does not seem to be limited since the max drive speed does not seem to go beyond the bandwidth for 2 lanes.

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schneeball
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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having the same issue with the alienware 17 r3 will let you know when I have solved this and give advice

M18x R2 3940XM  , 16GB 1600mhz Vengence , 2 x M4 256GB SSD's Raid 0 + Seagate 750GB 7200rpm storgage , Dual 7970m Crossfire , Full HD , Bluray , Nebula RED , Warranty July 25th 2013 , Tactx Keyboard , Tactx mouse , Tactx Headset and Alienware AW2310 23" Screen .

M17x R2 940XM , 8GB DDR3 , 1TB 2 x 500GB Hybrid Raid 0 , Xfire 6970m , Bluray , Beyond HD screen , Nebula Red

M11x R3  i7-2617M  8GB DDR3  256GB SSD Stealth Black

XPS 720  Custom , i7 2700K , Alienware Water cooling  , 16GB Vengence DDR3 , 240GB SSD Raid 0 , 2TB 2 x 1TB Raid0 , xFire 6990's , Bluray

Michifan
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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I ended up using the M.2 PM951 (256GB) AFTER not being able to get the the 512GB Samsung 950 to be recognized.   I also loaded the Samsung Driver to no avail.

I assume that there needs to be some kind of change in the BIOS from Dell in order to make this work.  I can confirm that the PM951 (256GB) works.  One tech at Dell told me that they don't support 512GB.

M3RiceRocket
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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I have a NVMe Samsung 950 Pro installed and working just fine on an x51 R3. I simply installed it and booted from the 2TB HD, then used Macrium Reflect to image the entire hard drive with four partitions (size adjusted) to the 512GB 950 Pro. Then I removed the hard drive and it booted just fine from the M.2 port.

Note--there are only two PCIe 3.0 lanes on the x51 R3 M.2 port. You will not get the full sequential read speed as you need four PCIe 3.0 lanes to do that. Still much faster than regular SATA III ports.

I have no idea why Dell would limit the design of it's latest x51 R3 motherboard with only a 2xPCIe 3.0 lanes on the M.2 port. Such a travesty.

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Martian_User
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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I was starting to give up hope Smiley Wink

When I put the M.2 drive in I can't boot to my Sata drive (ie my current boot drive). I can't even get to the bios screen - its just a black screen until I remove it and reboot.

Was your display attached to the GTX 960 when you installed the drive? - I'm using HDMI from the 960

I also don't know if I'm using the proper Sata port on the board (or if that even matters) for my current Sata drive. I'm using Port 3 - think that matters?

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M3RiceRocket
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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Well that's strange. I never had that problem. I don't think the SATA port matters at all. Yes--my monitor has been connected via both HDMI and now DisplayPort. Maybe check the BIOS settings for boot and make sure the hard drive is the first boot device and disable the others?

Do you have a GTX 960 or are you using the Intel HD HDMI port? When I had the original hard drive (Sata Port 3 I believe) and the 950 Pro in there after cloning, it would continue to boot off the Hard Drive instead of the M2 port. So I basically just took the hard drive out to store as a backup, and put in another SSD on that Sata port, and then it booted from the M2 950 just fine.

I installed the Samsung NVMe driver when I was troubleshooting wondering why I only got two PCIe lanes active, but have since gone back to using the Windows 10 NVMe driver. I could not get it to recognize more than two lanes, so my guess is that this is a motherboard limitation. Still, it's plenty fast with just two lanes--and really, only affects the sequential read speed I believe.

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Martian_User
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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I just tried changing BIOS setting and removing variables - no luck! 

With the M.2 installed I can't get past the blank screen. I noticed that the machine registered the F12 key input (it highlighted the text in the lower corner) but then still goes to the blank screen.

Yeah I have the GTX 960 connected via HDMI. I did try just using the Intel HDMI port to get to the BIOS but it didn't do anything different. 

I even went as far as removing the GTX and just had the M.2 installed - nothing! 

The only sign of hope is when I did the ePSA test. The machine does see a "SSDCard" installed.

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M3RiceRocket
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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That sounds really weird. I don't think the graphics card has anything to do with this. I suspect there is something going on between the UEFI Bios and the Samsung firmware possibly. I would say swap out the Samsung NVMe for another one and see whether that makes a difference.

I did not encounter anything like you described when I installed the NVMe Samsung 950 Pro on my X51 R3. My biggest problem really was trying to find a screw that would hold the card down since the Samsung didn't come with one, and there wasn't one included with the X51.

Here are some screen shots:

2016-01-22 23_28_36-Samsung Magician.png

2016-01-22 23_31_56-Samsung Magician.png

2016-01-22 23_53_29-CrystalDiskMark 5.1.1 x64.png

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flounderi
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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Recently got my X51 R3 and now looking to juice it up.

Since you don't get the speed benefit of 4 lanes, does it make sense to just go with the cheaper "Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB M.2 SSD". Is there any advantage to using the Samsung 950 Pro?

Thanks

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M3RiceRocket
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RE: M.2 SSD in X51 R3 - Samsung 950 Pro? - Help Needed

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Nope--SATA III is still slower than 2xPCIe 3.0 lanes.

The Samsung 850 M.2 will probably top out around 520-550 MBps Seq Read due to the limitations of the SATA protocol and port specs. You can see I'm getting 1500+ MBps Seq Read even with just two lanes active. The 950 Pro NVMe is capable of 2500 MBps read speed with 4 lanes active.

The only place where having 4 lanes versus 2 lanes for the 950 Pro NVMe matters is in sequential read speed. The write speeds and Random access does not seem to be limited since the max drive speed does not seem to go beyond the bandwidth for 2 lanes.

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