Saturday , 25 October 2014
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Intel P3700 NVMe SSD Installed In a Win 8.1 Consumer PC – Drivers Benched

In July of last year, Samsung announced their manufacturing of the XS1715, worlds first NVMe SSD capable of performance of 3GB/s throughput and up to 750,000 IOPS.  Unfortunately, the closest anyone has come to that SSD, at least from the review perspective, is through public displays of its progress at both Samsung SSD Summits last fall, and this summer.  Having said that, the XS1715 is available through the Dell PowerEdge Express sales channel.

Samsung XS1715 NVMe SSD

In the enterprise space, this is typical of Samsung where one might never see a product unless a need for tens of thousands becomes prevalent and other SSDs have had very similar fates. Our experience with this comes from a lesser known part of what we do where we assist companies in determining their flash needs, make an introduction to what we believe is the right SSD manufacturer, and help them along with a purchase.  In short, our mark is on a rather healthy number of SSD sales to date, yet not one is the Samsung XS1715 NVMe SSD.

Samsung XS 1715 On Display

In all fairness, our recent review of the Intel P3700 800GB NVMe SSD, both from an enterprise and enthusiast perspective, is the first look the storage world has really had at NVMe, and definitely the first taste of how it may appear for business use, enthusiast and even the consumer.  In short, it is a powerhouse that revolutionizes the storage industry and will affect all segments within the next year.  And then came the e-mail, PM’s and comments once again… Will it boot?  Is it hot?  What about start times?  Can we migrate the system as a backup to a SATA 3 SSD?  Is it difficult to install?  Questions like this played right into our hands as we fully intended on creating just that enthusiast build this weekend.

Intel P3700 NVMe 800GB SSD Top

WINDOWS 8 AND THE P3700 BUILD

The Intel P3700 NVMe SSD is capable of booting from and running on PC systems of at least the Windows 8.1 level and above.  It will work in a Windows 7 system, but it won’t boot.  For it to boot, one needs Windows 8.1 (as the NVMe driver is native to this OS) and a motherboard that supports boot through UEFI, not an ‘either/or’ selection where all SATA and NVME might hope to be recognized.  In our experience, the Intel P3700 SSD will not be recognized unless the motherboard is told to seek out NVMe devices first.  For our purposes, we are using the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 motherboard which has a Compatibility Support Mode (CSM) that can be found in its boot menu.

ASRock Z97 UEFI Mode

In our first report, we had difficulty with the installation and have now realized the reasoning which was because we did the installation with the motherboards default settings.  As a result, several installations were attempted and we recommended doing the installation in AHCI mode and then, on reboot, changing the boot preference to UEFI.  We have now realized that, with a fresh installation, the process is much easier if you switch to UEFI mode when you start and then carry on with the Window 8.1 installation.

INSTALLING WINDOWS 8.1

When installing Windows 8.1, you will be given the option to install via UEFI or normal, select UEFI as it is the only way the NVMe will be recognized.  In our experience, we always delete any existing partitions and then create new ones where we found something a bit interesting.

Windows 8.1 Partition Creation

Initially, the system identified the need for two partitions (boot/Master) as we see in any typical Windows 7 installation.  In deleting these and letting the system create its own new partitions, however, we were provided with the above. Installation of Windows 8.1 took a mind boggling 3 minutes, two reboots and we were up and running!

About Les Tokar

is a technology nut and Founder of The SSD Review. His early work includes the first consumer SSD review along with MS Vista, Win 7 and SSD Optimization Guides. Les is fortunate to, not only evaluate and provide opinion on consumer and enterprise solid state storage but also, travel the world in search of new technologies and great friendships. Google+
  • hpvd

    Many, many thanks for reviewing it this way too & sharing all these great details!!!

  • Kevin H.

    It would be nice if you posted a similar review for installation on Centos 6.5 or Centos 7 server. I’m particularly interested if this will allow SWAP space to be used on SSD as an acceptable use to not loading my database servers up with lots of more expensive DRAM.

  • https://plus.google.com/101785462960818953428/posts Wilson Phillips

    Les, I’m not real clear on something. You stated that you had to use CSM mode, but then it sounded like you figured out that you didn’t need it. Can you clarify for us?

    • https://plus.google.com/101785462960818953428/posts Wilson Phillips

      I have an ASRock Z87M OC Formula and I am trying to figure out if it will boot this drive. I understand the Z97 board you are using will, but hoping I won’t have to upgrade this board that is only a few months old.

      I also understand that this would take away a couple of PCI channels from my video card and I am not sure how that will affect my video performance.

      • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

        The manual for that board states “devices support UEFI, you may also disable CSM for faster boot speed.” I can install it from my Z87 Extreme11/ac.

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      No… you need CSM, or a similar mode that will utilize UEFI for the primary boot device. Its a must. In the ASRock board, it is accomplished through CSM. What I intended to say was that, before I did the Win8 install, I had already set the board at CSM/UEFI.

  • Jeff A

    the writer didn’t do his homework very well. Dell has been shipping the XS1715 2.5″ PCIe-SSDs under the Dell PowerEdge Express Flash name since March. BTW, Dell is still the only major server company shipping PCIe-SSDs

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      No. the writer just didn’t state what he wanted to as specific as he should have, meaninb no reviewer has gotten one in their hands as of yet. Amended and thank you.

  • Ten

    Could you post what it gives for speed-battle.com score with Firefox browser?

  • nz

    Great review, thx!

    >The stock driver on the left displays much higher 4K-64Thrd write speeds and subsequent scores, whereas the Intel NVMe driver results provide us with far superior high sequential throughput.

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but for a development workstation (Multiple VMs, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc.) the Windows’ stock driver looks like a better choice!?

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      It can be seen from that angle. This is the reason we wanted to include both results in the report.

  • John Fak

    “Installation of Windows 8.1 took a mind boggling 3 minutes”
    Whats mind boggling about that? How slow it is?
    My last install of Windows 8.1 took 90 seconds, on a 4 year old SSD. Don’t tell you you are still using optical drives? Try installing from a decent USB stick, dude!

    • http://thessdreview.com Les@TheSSDReview

      That was a USB and send us a video of that 90 second installation when you get a chance won’t you….dude?

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