ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Tests Samsung XP941 M.2 x4, Plextor M6e M.2 x2 and Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSDs

TSSDR Z97 TEST BENCH

SSD Testing at TSSDR differs slightly depending on whether we are looking at consumer or enterprise SSDs.  For consumer SSDs, our goal is to test in a system that has been optimized with our SSD Optimization Guide, although CPU C States have not been changed at all.  Benchmarks for consumer testing are also benchmarks with a fresh drive so, not only can we verify that manufacturer specifications are in line but also, so the consumer can replicate our tests to confirm that they have an SSD that is top-notch.  We even provide links to most of the benchmarks used in the report.

Z97 Test Bench30

This is a brand new test bench and, as such, we would love to thank those who jumped in specifically to help the cause.  Key contributors to this build are our friends at ASRock, Corsair, Kingston with components from past contributors to include In-Win, EVGA, beQuiet, Plextor, SamsungQNIX and RamCity, this still being a key resource in the acquisition of the XP941.  We have detailed all components in the table below and they are all linked should you wish to make a duplicate our system as so many seem to do, or check out the price of any soul component.  As always, we appreciate your support in any purchase though our links!

 SYSTEM COMPONENTS

This Test Bench build was the result of some great relationships and purchase; our appreciation goes to the below mentioned manufacturers for their support in our project.  Our choice of components is very narrow, in that, we choose only what we believe to be among the best available and links are provided to each that will assist in hardware pricing and availability, should the reader be interested in purchase.

PC CHASSIS: InWin D-Frame Open Air Chassis
MOTHERBOARD: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 Socket 1150
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790
CPU COOLER: Corsair Hydro Series H105 Extreme Water Cooled
POWER SUPPLY: be quiet Dark Power Pro 10 1000W PSU
SYSTEM COOLING: be quiet Silent Wings 2 PC Fans
GRAPHICS CARD: EVGA GTX 770 Superclocked with ACX Cooler
MEMORY: Kingston HyperX Beast
KEYBOARD: Corsair Vengeance K95 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
MOUSE: Corsair Vengeance M95 MMO/RTS Laser Mouse
MONITOR: QNIX 27″ QX2710 2560×1440
HBA HighPoint RocketU 1144C 4 x USB 3.0 20Gb/s HBA

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In addition to these components, our test storage media include the Samsung XP941 PCIe M.2 x4 SSD, the Plextor M6e PCIe M.2 x2 SSD and the Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSD.

M.2 PCIE GEN2 X4 SSD Samsung XP941 M.2 x4
M.2 PCIE GEN2 X2 SSD Plextor M6e M.2
SATA 3 SSD Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3

BENCHMARK SOFTWARE

The software we will be using for today’s analysis is typical of many of our reviews and consists of ATTO Disk Benchmark, Crystal Disk Info, Crystal DiskMark, AS SSD, PCMark Vantage, and Anvil Storage Utilities.  In consumer reports, we prefer to test with easily accessible software that the consumer can obtain, and in many cases, we even provide links. Our selection of software allows each to build on the last and to provide validation to results already obtained.

TEST PROTOCOL

For today’s testing, we have connected both of the M.2 SSDs to the ASRock Extreme 6, the XP941 in the Ultra M.2 connector on the right, and the M6e in the M.2 connector on the left.

Both Drives

The Samsung 840 Pro of course is connected via the Intel SATA one of the first Intel SATA ports, and bottlenecked by SATA speeds of a realistic high of 575MB/s.  This sample Samsung SSD has been in use for some time and has seen several terabytes of data passed through it. It is also our present system drive.

ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 Intel Ports

We should realize top speeds of just over 1GB/s for the Samsung XP941, 750MB/s for the Plextor M6e, and about 560MB/s for the Samsung 840 Pro SATA 3 SSD.

ASRock Z97 Extreme6 All Drives 2

As I am not a big fans of charts that are only the result of the same benchmarks we typically use in any case, we will dedicate a page to each of the three SSDs to demonstrate their test results.

43 comments

  1. Thanks for the article Les!
    It’s great to see you opening up your reviews to more hardware while still keeping it relevant
    to storage technologies!
    I like the mobo but i still say that two 840 pros in raid 0 are still the way to go perf wise.
    That said i can clearly see the patern of where the industry is moving and that’s the M.2.

    • Can you elaborate on that? All the benchmarks suggest that’s not the case, but I could be misinterpreting the data as I’m new to the I/o performance conversation.

      • I am just happy to see the XP941 being so fast as is. For me it’s win-win as the size of my 1U’s shrink, and at they same time they get faster, and bootable. I will use them to load my data into a RAM template, and rarely write to them. Lets hope our M$ gatekeepers will let us use 24GB out of 32GBs w/o any performance issues.

      • Hi I am glad I look at this site quite often I think you do
        a real good job on everything ssd.

        Also I am thinking of buying an extreme 6- Z97 1150 socket with a 4790k canyon this xmas.

        Plus the Samsung M.2 XP941 128 I just don’t know?

        I was originally going for Asus Maximus Ranger plus the
        4790k Canyon and two Samsung 120 gb 850
        EVO SSD’s Many thanks if you can help.

      • It’s easy.
        You’ve seen the 840p results. Multiply by 2X and take -10% out.
        You’ll find that you are around the same “1GB/S” read/write territory as the M.2’s.
        BUT you also get to enjoy that sweet fast ramp up in performance in the low end up to 8K. The 4k write will also be about double.

  2. Just curious, are the M2 slots eligible to be included in a RAID set?

    • Of course the could be used that way but you have to consider that the RAID set of two XP941 SSDs would be restricted to the lowest speed which is dual lane travel. That might get you a negligible improvement on the XP 941 alone in the ultra M.2 slot. Just to be sure I will try to do this prior to taking off for China in a few days…

  3. I wonder…what if there were 2 M.2 x4 slots on that board….combined with 2x XP941….

    • Then any thought of decent gfx, other than integrated…might be gone. Intel needs to increase total PCIe lane count for something like that.

      • I wouldn’t care for 1x8PCIE for Graphics ( don’t think it would hurt performance much) and 2x4PCIE lanes for M.2…but you’re right…Intel needs to increase lanes to 24+ for something like this to happen properly…

      • X79! 40 pci-e lanes if using a 6 core SB-E or Ivybridge-E. Too bad it came out in 2011 and X99 isn’t here yet and no X79 boards with M.2 connectors.

      • I’m actually pretty satisfied with Intel’s iGPU.
        I’d love to see two M.2 slots running at PCIe x4, combined to RAID 0, and which can be booted from. Oh my…

      • Exactly, like if an X79 board were to sprout some M.2 connectors in a larger than regular ATX size then one would have 40 PCI-e lanes with which to delegate 8 lanes to GPU A, 8 to GPU B, 4 or 8 to your m.2 SSD’s, and use the rest for the other crap that needs to ride the pcie bus. Perhaps in X99?

  4. Such a great article, so glad M.2 is finally arriving…

  5. It’s great to see you opening up your reviews to more hardware while still keeping it relevant

    to storage technologies! https://goo.gl/ai61Qh

  6. How does this m2 port work anyway?
    IS it similar to NVMe setup as these disk also uses PCIe slot??

  7. can you run the samsung xp941 at Gen3 x2?

  8. so the xp941 is gen2 ?

  9. What about overclocking CPU? Have you tried it with this mobo?

  10. I was wondering if I could use the XP941 with a PCIe 2.0 x4 adapter on a PCIe 2.0 x 16 slot in my old Dell T7500 precision Desktop?

  11. LES – Great review. I’ve read the other reviews for the motherboard and the XP941. The other reviews weren’t exactly positive about two items. I figured if anyone knew it would be you.
    1. Can Microsoft Windows 7 be installed and used with the XP941 and the ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 motherboard? Some authors were under the impression that Windows 8 or 8.1 would work but Win 7 would not.
    2. Will TRIM work with the XP941 or does it have to rely on native garbage collection without TRIM?
    This year Samsung is already mass producing and distributing their new SP951 successor to the XP941. The new model is PCIe 3.0 x4 instead of PCIe 2.0 x4. How about a review?

  12. Hey LT.
    Happy with the Z97 / XP941. Thank You.
    Right now I run only on die GFX and a single PCI-e 1X connector to an external Analog Devices DSP Rack, and the XP941 w/ OS+Apps. on a Vertex 4.
    So my question is can I dump my ancient Vertex 4 OS+Apps. SSD, and use the 2X M.2 with the M6e w/o any bandwidth issues.
    This means no GFX card, on die GFX only, 1 x PCI-e 1X for connections, an XP941 in 4X slot, w/ a new M6e in the 2X slot. Dual M.2’s means a new smaller 1U too.
    Have you tested both slots simultaneously….Thanks.

  13. Atthapon Wongwaijonya

    Thanks you for your Review

  14. hello, I do not understand, the intel i7 4790k has only 16 pci lines, and to use the PCIe x4 M.2 requires 4 lines pci espress. by connecting a video card gtx760 on x16 pci expres not work well to find only 12 ???? thank you very much

  15. Can I have 2 M.2 SSDs on one motherboard? (one for OS and Applications, the other for media and gaming)? Motherboard Ex: ASUS mRampage V X99 ROG or ASUS X99 Deluxe?

    • Absolutely! You can also RAID both if you wish and, if that board was an ASRock, you could run both at 4 lanes, getting full potential.

      • Hello could you help me out with some info iv got an asrock exteme 11 x99 board and 2x 240gb ultra m.2 that i have slot in the boad is there a way i can raid them both together to make it 480gb?in the the bios i have selected raid when i reboot there is no option for raid when i press ctrl-i hope someone can help me out thank you 🙂

  16. Jérôme Lanteri

    I have this mother board with i7 4470 and XP941 SSD 256Go on port M2_1. Boot on Archlinux via grub… add 2 HDD WD 2To and 1 SSD OCZ Vertex2 256Go. All on SATA3 port (not ASmedia).
    Also, i have problem with the mother board and the SSD OCZ. On the Bios, it see the SSD drive, but sometimes not read it on boot menu (but ok, this i don’t care). But… 80% of boot times, the SSD is not show and then i can not mount him. I try change port, and put him on first SATA3 port… same problem.
    So, maybe you would be curious and want to try to add a SSD drive with this config for check if this is a bug from Asrock ? I send Asrock message and let message about that on there forum, but never answer and delete the messages on the forum (i think they don’t care and just don’t want potential customers know this problem).

    Asrock use his money for provide big adds on his product, but maybe this product his far from works fine, i would like to be sure.
    Thanks

  17. Fernando Seiti Abbe

    Recently read your article Understanding M.2 NVMe RAID SSD Boot and 2 / 3x M.2 NVME SSD RAID0 Tested . I wonder takes to put two Samsung 950 Pro 512GB in RAID and boot in my Asrock Z97 Extreme 6 on Windows 7 , and knowing that one slot M2 is X4 and another X2 , the speed would be limited to the lower, or the average sum of the two ?
    Many thanks if you can help .

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