DEFEATING DMI 3.0
Traditionally, there has always been a bottleneck in large scale SSD performance which is DMI 3.0 and this performance bottleneck occurs when trying to move data through the systems chipset. Trying to use the SSD7101A-1 through the chipset would limit the output to PCIe 3.0 X4 and decrease the data speeds significantly.
Add to that the fact that you are also sharing DMI 3.0 with other SSDs, USB and SATA ports and things can get very frustrating. With the SSD7101A-1 running via X16 travel, we are pushing full data speeds directly to the CPU, rather than the chipset.
HighPoint’ performance claims only 128Gb/s on paper, but we know we are speaking to throughput of at least 7GB/s and around 1 million IOPS. To add to this, HighPoint has stated that two of these devices can be paired up in RAID for an output of 256Gb/s.
HighPoint provides a RAID driver for the SSD7101A-1 as well as a NVMe RAID Manager which can be downloaded from the link provided by clicking the just above. In our testing, we have had better performance without their driver, but the software is actually very useful.
From the ‘Manage’ menu, your SSDs are identified and creating a RAID volume is quick and easy. RAID can be created in types 0,1,5 and 10 but 5 and 10 do not support TRIM. Clicking ‘Maintenance’ on the right side will allow you to shut down RAID on your SSDs. We can see that I have created RAID 0 from these drives, but if I were not to have done this, the drives would all still be identified and perform at their listed performance from the OS, each as its own logical drive.
We found the biggest benefit of the ‘Setting’ menu was the fact that we could confirm when the device was running in X16 and Gen 3. Different motherboards can be a real PITA at times, and also, we couldn’t manage to boot from the RAID. To go one step further, turning on VROC on our ASRock motherboard displayed the SSDs we were using, but also listed that they weren’t compatible with Intel VROC. We are pretty certain that running four Optane SSDs through the SSD7101A-1 would allow boot right from the UEFI.
This shot is of our OS Disk Management screen with the four SSDs being used in a JBOD configuration.