How to install Windows 10 on RAID 0/1 SM951 / 950 Pro PCIe M.2 SSDs

  By , CEO on 16 March 2016  

How to install Windows 10 on RAID 0/1 SM951 / 950 Pro PCIe M.2 SSDs

This tutorial will show you how to install dual SM951 NVMe SSDs in an ASRock Z170 Extreme 7+ motherboard in RAID (this will work in both RAID 0 and RAID 1). I’ll show you exactly what BIOS and software modifications you need to make as well.

 

To get into the BIOS or the UEFI, cold boot the machine, then press the F2 button.

 

Press F6 to get into Advanced Mode.

 

Navigate over to the ‘Advanced’ tab on the top menu, third from the left.

 

Click on Storage Configuration, third from the top.

 

 

Next, you want to go down to the SATA Mode Selection, second from the top.

 

Press Enter, then change AHCI to RAID.

 

Next, in the OpROM Policy we want to change that from Legacy to UEFI only. That’s what we need to be able to boot our NVMe SSDs.

We also need to do the remapping. So I’ve got the two SM951s installed in M.2 socket 2 and 3.

 

So I’m going to change that and enable both of those.

 

Press F10 to save, and then reboot the machine before getting back into the BIOS again by pressing F2, and then into Advanced Mode by clicking F6.  

 

You can now see that an Intel Rapid Storage Technology folder is enabled.

 

Open the folder and click to Create a RAID Volume.

 

Give the RAID a name and then input a RAID Level. I’ll be doing RAID0 for this tutorial.

 

Go down to the two SM951s that are installed and select the X beside each one.

 

 

Click Create Volume and you now have your RAID Volume installed. Press F10 to save the settings and reboot.

 

Before we boot the machine again, make sure you have your Windows installation media in one of your USB slots. Windows 10 now comes on a USB drive, but if you’re installing Windows 8 and you have it on a DVD drive, you can convert the file and put it on a USB drive.

You’ll also need another USB drive. Any kind will do, but you will need to have your Intel IRST drivers on there. These are commonly called the F6 drivers; you’ll need to download them from Intel, unzip the files, and put them on the USB drive.

You’ll need to have that USB in the machine and ready to install those drivers during the Windows installation process.  

From the boot menu, choose the USB storage drive that has the Windows Installation on it. Make sure to select the UEFI option and not the USB one, as it will not work at this time.

 

 

Press enter and select the 64-bit installation setup.

 

Now I’ll also be putting in my Intel RAID on my IRST drivers on my other USB drive in the machine as well.

 

Choose your desired Windows settings and click to install.
 

 

Enter your product key, accept the terms and conditions, and then choose a Custom installation.


 

Notice that there’s no drive available. This is where we need to load the RAID driver. Select Load Driver.

 

Navigate to where you’ve saved your drivers on the USB and click next. It might take around a minute for it to finish loading.

 

Now we’ve got a drive we can work with. Because we did this in RAID in a strut, you can see we’ve got twice the amount of space with the two drives together.

Click next and allow the machine to reboot itself as Windows finishes installing. Once it has finished rebooting, go with the Express Settings option.

I’ve already gone and got Anvil Pro Utility so we can go and do a quick benchmark on the SM951s that are in RAID. You can download this program for free here.

Select the C Drive and click Run.  

 

Upon completion we can see that I have almost 3,000MB/s on the Read and about 2,400MB/s on the Write.

This does vary, I have run this a few times and I’ve gotten just over 3,000MB/s sometimes. The IOPS tend to be about 170/180,000 mark, which is just a bit short of the IOPS stated by Samsung (about 300,000 on the Read). That’s probably got something to do with the fact that we’re running these on RAID, however.

So there you have it! Job all done. If you found this installation tutorial useful, and you think someone else might find it just as helpful, please feel free to share around. If you’ve got any questions or feedback, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help out if needed.


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