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M.2_1 slow speed

Level 7
I have 2 M.2 SSD's in Asus MAXIMUS X FORMULA
Samsung 960 PRO in M.2_1 and Samsung 970 EVO Plus in M.2_2

Additional PCIe equipment is Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 in PCIe х1_3 and 1080Ti in PCIe x16_1

All equipment located on different root ports

SSD speed in M.2_2 is good

SSD speed in M.2_1 is way bad

Bios is latest (2203)
SATA Controller completely disabled in BIOS - no SATA devices
M.2_1 Configuration: [PCIE mode]
M.2_2 PCIe Bandwidth Configuration: [X4]

I even set PCIe 3.0 x4_3 slot to x2...

Any thoughts please?

There was idea to set 960PRO to M.2_2 but I have water cooling with copper pipes. To open M.2_1 slot I need to remove GPU and drain the water.
I want to change 960PRO 512Gb to 970PRO 1Tb, but before I need to eliminate thoughts that M.2_1 port is working slow or broken.

Level 10
Isn't that exactly the difference between "PRO" and "EVO" variant?

Another member recently (last 2 months) did make a post about your problem:

He mentiones software that does read out the pcie multiplicator. Like if it is running at x2 or x4.

"Maximus XI Apex and Dimm.2 M.2 SSD speed limit clarification"

Rgds Carlyle

Level 11
It's not. My M 11F is using BOTH M.2 slots, all big pci-e slots and all 6 sata ports and both of my nvme's hit 3000+ Somethings "off" here. Speed of the EVO's are slower than Pro yes, but not by half. I'd expect to see something between 2900-just over 3000. difficult to say, but sounds like shared PCI-E lanes, but nothing in the manual sais that. Sata port 6 i believe it was would be lost if M.2_2 was running in x4 mode but that's irrelevant here. He's not using sata ports.

The speeds listed in image 2 are a classic sign of it running in x2 mode and not x4. That drive (ive had it myself) should be hitting 33-3500 in x4 mode. Hell i popped it into a pluggable usb C enclosure and when connected to a usb 3.1 gen 2 i hit 1000+. There's some kind of limiting going on here.

I can't think of any reason atm why this should be happening.

What speed is "samsung magician" reporting on both drives?

Level 7
EVO 970 Plus is slightly faster than 960 PRO (faster write speed), but anyway 960 PRO should show something around 3500/2100
Well for write - the speed is real. For read - no.
M.2_1 960 PRO running x4, because PCIe 3.0 sppeds are: x2=1.97 GB/s, x4=3.94 GB/s. (theoretically, and bit lower in actual bandwidth).
You can see that 960 PRO in M.2_1 show up to 2.1 GB/s. And in HWinfo and samsung magician show that both M.2 running x4

I even done a clear test - booted from USB flash (Windows PE) and run test for 960 PRO - same result )

Samsung magician test show 3100/1900, but I don't trust this test as I don't know what's behind it (I mean testing procedure).
I use AS SSD Benchmark and CrystalDiskMark

Level 13
Check that you are running that slot at Gen 3 in BIOS, and that slot isnt set for SATA or anything weird. page 3-18 of your manual should be set to PCIE only, not SATA or manual. On 3-17 check your system agent that its set to PCIE Gen3.

That drive is a little slower but not by that much.

Seting anything to X2 and it most likely wont work and if it is it will be at half speed.

Level 7
BigJohnny wrote:

That drive is a little slower but not by that much.

As I mentioned in initial post
SATA Controller completely disabled in BIOS - no SATA devices
M.2_1 Configuration: [PCIE mode]
M.2_2 PCIe Bandwidth Configuration: [X4]

M.2 SSDs are working at PCIe 3.0 x4 (CrystalDiskInfo and HWMonitor)

Level 11
I use crystalDisk mark too as a more accurate. by "Speed" in Samsung Magician i was more referring to the PCIE multiplier listed.

Open samsung magician, go to "drive details" on the left and then select the proper drive at the top. When you've done that, look on the right at "Interface". If it's operating at full speed it should say "PCIe Gen. 3 x 4"

NVME Driver should say "Samsung"

anything other than that and it's not running at peak performance

Oh and i know it's faster than a 960 Pro, cause i did exactly what you did. Swap out my old 512GB 960 Pro, for a 1TB 970 EVO plus 🙂 (that and it was running low on space). There's definitely something off here. My 512GB 960 pro at x4 was hitting just over 3000 on the reads and just under 2000 on the writes. So your write speeds are within normal limits, your read speads are not.

You have to keep in mind the bigger the drive the faster it will perform. a 1TB 960 Pro will be faster than the 512GB one, and a 2TB one will be faster than a 1TB one.

Level 7

I've checked CrystalDiskMark reports and noticed that with 4K operations 960pro 512Gb slightly faster than 970 EVO plus 1Tb.
Speed lost only with linear operations, this means that reason with LBA -> PBA translations and could be fixed with Secure Erase

Here is a medicine:
1. Create disk image (with Acronis Disk Director for example) from boot USB (Windows PE)
2. Secure erase SSD (I've created boot usb from Samsung Magician) *there is Secure Erase in BIOS but I forgot about it )
3. Restore disk image


Level 11
So it was a drive problem and not a bios setting. Should be pretty easy to "solve" then if it were to happen with the new drive. But shouldn't. For your info, i ran a benchmark on my 1TB 970 evo plus (that replaced my 960 Pro 512GB). If you plan on getting the Pro version of it, your numbers should be slightly higher than these.

Level 7
Issue itself was that drive was used, that's why solution is to erase it.
For sure new 970 PRO controller faster than 960 PRO, and 1Tb will be even more faster than 512Gb itself.
Anyway I will continue to use 960 PRO for system (faster random small size write) and use 970EVO Plus for work (faster sequential read/write).

Thank you for support anyway and this solution will nice to have here in forum.
Could be useful for those who use ssd from previous build or bought used.