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AChambers378
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Z600 PCI-e M.2 SSD RAID...

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Z600

So im looking into adding m.2 support as a boot drive but was wondering if i could get the added speed benefits of a raid 0 by using something like a StarTech PCIe dual M.2 RAID with 2 WD Blue SSDs? Would the bios see it as a drive/raid controller?

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DGroves
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i do not recomend raid 0 on the z600 using ssd's as it will not be that much faster 

 

the z600 is a a sata 3 (not a sata 6gbps) interface as such a samsung sm951 or any single pci-e 4x based card  ssd wil be faster than the motherboards SATA bus, and most pci-e x2 ssd's will also not be that much faster in raid 0

 

just remember crappy ssd's (those that are dramless, or just bottom of the barel ssd'd) are still crappy ssd'd even when in raid 0 in fact the low end ssd's can even be slower than a 10K rpm drive in overall speed!!

 

if you do go with a dual pci-e card, then the 4x bus is split between the 2 ssd's which drops the speed by half to each ssd

 

last you can not normally boot from a dual pci-e ssd card, however it is possible to put the card with drives into a working system and in drive manager create a "software raid 0" drive that would then have the nessary boot block code to be bootable, and then move the card back to the original system and it should now see the "pre made raid 0" and then be seen in the windows setup as a bootable device

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AChambers378
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Thank you for the insight. I see what your saying about about splitting the buss and that makes sense to just go with one good m.2

 

Now, since this card also offers sata 6gbs ports, which setup would be quickest in your option:

 

1. PCI-e RAID card with 1 M.2 and 2 WD Reds in RAID

2. PCI-e for single M.2 and both Reds using the onboard Intel RAID

3. Highpoint RAID Controller (6gbs) with an SSD and RAID WD Reds attached

 

Basically just trying to maxminize boot drive speed and storage speed

 

 

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DGroves
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fastest and most expensive,.... is a samsung SATA version of the SM951 with a pci-e x4 adapter card

make sure you buy the SATA sm951 and not a nvme sm951 there is only one digit diffrence in the model name between the two!!

 

most of the PCI-E SATA cards are  x1 and as such will not do sustaned 6gbps speeds with one drive and if you add another drive then the speeds again decrease pci- e x1 is good for about 5gbps in burst speed and will rarely reach that speed with one drive much less two drives in use

 

however there are some pci-e x2 based cards that are able to reach/sustain 6gbps with only one drive but they cost about 50.00 and most are of moderate quality  to poor quality

 

i recomend you buy a SAS/SATA card that will take "IT" firmware instead of "IR" firmware such as the one below

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-IT-Mode-Genuine-LSI-9211-8i-8-port-PCI-E-Card-Bulk-pack-US-SameDayShipp...

 

this card can be bought with "IT" firmware which just adds more SATA ports, or with "IR" firmware which adds RAID 

 

LSI/Broadcom has both firmwares listed for download in case you find a cheap 9211 that has "IR" firmware installed

 

IT mode stands for "initiator target". It presents each drive individually to the host. IR mode is in whatever raid formats the HBA supports. Some allow you to present drives individually as JBODs or raid0 with one drive each, but if you are going to do that, it makes more sense to flash to IT, since the firmware is smaller and more efficient (supposedly...)

 

the lsi card will do full 6gbps on each port at the same time  and is bootable and will support a bootable software raid 0

out of the box 

 

another good card is the Dell Perc H310 card which does JBOD (just a bunch of disks) and also raid with it's custom combo "IT/IR" firmware ( i recomend replacing the H310 heatsink, and you must add a fan to the heatsink for PC use)

 

https://www.ebay.com/p/Dell-PERC-H310-POWEREDGE-Server-Integrated-RAID-Controller-Card-W-Cables-HV52...

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AChambers378
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So a single m.2 sm951 SATA version and the raid 0 on the lsi. Got it.

U wouldn’t happen to know the right model number by chance? I’m seeing a lot of OEM 951s for decent prices but have different endings. 0000, 00L2 etc

And thanks for your help. I really appreciate it
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DGroves
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for the sm951 ssd

 

The AHCI version is called   MZ-HPVxxx0 (where xxx is the capacity in gigabytes)

 

The NVMe version is called MZ-VPVxxx0

 

pay attention to the letter after the MZ-   for the sata ver you want "H" not "V"

 

also there was one samsung nvme model that did include the nessary OPROM code in it's firmware to allow use of a bootable nvme drive in older systems and that model was SM950 which nowadays is very hard to find

 

last, make sure you buy from a vender with a return policy as some sm951's will not boot in some motherboards due to the OEM venders ssd code. (most OEM sm951's do work however)

AChambers378
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Looks like the 512gb version ain’t cheap at all 🙂

I’ll settle for a 256. It’s just a boot drive. Once again, thank you for your help
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DGroves
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a xm941 256  (precursor to the sm951) is what i use as a boot drive and i have no space issues with it

 

i use a perc h310 in raid 0 on one chanel and raid 5 on the other chanel on my z800

 

and a PCI SATA x2 based addin card for eSATA drive box which has 5 drives in it

 

my z820 has a sm951 (SATA ver) and a perc H710 which is a faster ver of the H310 with 3 10k drives in raid 0

 

keep in mind that any midrange and up SSD will provide a major speed increase in day to day usage, i would ignore most SSD reviews as they  use unrealistic benchmarking methods that are not what normal users create in day to day data flow

 

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