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Author Topic: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks  (Read 1342 times)

MSI Notebook Administrator

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SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« on: August 24, 2017, 10:28:22 PM »





Thermal Limits
In order to operate at such a faster speed, an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD generates a lot more heat than an M.2 SATA SSD. According to MSI's FAQ 01990 (see link below): "One of the most pressing concerns with PCI-e (NVMe) SSD is its greater susceptibility to thermal throttling. Due to the slim form factor, SSD's inability to effectively disperse heat gives an easily overheat result under heavy load." This is why some users have observed a significantly slower-than-rated speed during benchmarking---their M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD overheated during the test and automatically throttled down to a slower speed.

From what I've been able to learn about this, you can expect an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD to exceed its thermal limit with sustained reads/writes of 5 minutes or more. However, this duration will be much shorter if the notebook is being used in a hot environment or if other factors like a heavy CPU and dGPU load are also generating high heat inside the notebook at the same time.

What this tells us is: If your SSD will be used for sustained reads/writes (gaming that depends on heavy file I/O or media production such as video recording/editing or 3D rendering) then an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD may not be the best choice. And, if you go with one any way, you can expect a shorter lifespan if it is regularly pushed to a high temperature. And, if it is part of a striped RAID-0 array (like MSI's "SuperRAID"), it will increase the likelihood of data loss. An M.2 SATA SSD may be a wiser choice. Another wise choice may be to have both a PCIe NVMe SSD for short read/write durations (perhaps the OS drive) and a SATA SSD for sustained read/write durations (like a game/data drive).


Limited PCIe NVMe Compatibility
MSI's FAQ 01990 also states: "...MSI can't guarantee the SSD performance and stability if you're not using our approval SSD." Evidently, an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD require BIOS support---I think this is due in part to the varying thermal profiles of the different models (but I'm just guessing---and I don't know what makes some PCIe SSD models "unstable"). Plus, MSI says that the option ROM in some of these unapproved super-fast SSDs cannot get past Secure Boot, requiring the user to disable Secure Boot in their notebook's BIOS. Because of the need for BIOS support, stability issues and the Secure Boot issue that some PCIe NVMe SSDs have, MSI recommends that users only install approved M.2 PCIe NVMe models. And good luck discovering which ones are approved! I've searched and have not yet discovered an MSI approved list. If they do provide one, it will vary depending on the BIOS version in the notebook. But one thing is fairly easy to anticipate: any M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD model that was introduced after the release date of your notebook's BIOS version will probably not be included. So, if you want to install the "latest, greatest" M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD, it probably won't have MSI support yet. It will take them time to provide a BIOS update that includes that support---if it is a model that they approve---some models may never be approved because of the performance and stability issues.

Should you ignore MSI's advice and install an unapproved M.2 PCIe NVMe? Some users have---evidently there are some workarounds for the limited BIOS support. But you'll assume the risk. My advice is to contact MSI Support first to learn what models are supported with your notebook and BIOS version. They may recommend a BIOS upgrade to provide the support you need. But I would contact them before upgrading the BIOS.


Limited Win 7 Support for NVMe
Most readers probably won't care about Win 7 support but there are a few of us who do. Can you use Win 7 on an MSI gaming notebook with a Skylark CPU and chipset and an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD? In theory, yes. However, Win 7 does not have native support for NVMe like Win 10 does. (NVMe is an optional protocol that speeds communication over a PCIe interface.) Intel has an NVMe driver for Win 7 that it claims will provide limited support under Win 7. Microsoft also has a hotfix for Win 7 that it similarly claims will add limited support for NVMe. But the best thing you can do for Win 7 support is to buy an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD from a manufacturer who provides Win 7 support, including the necessary NVMe driver for Win 7.

What happens if you install an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for Win 7 without any NVMe support? I'm not sure. The SSD may simply operate at a slightly slower speed as if it was a plain M.2 PCIe SSD without NVMe. This may vary by manufacturer and model. So, contact the SSD manufacturer before you buy one.

Also, you'll need to study MSI FAQ 01971 (see link below). It describes how to install Win 10 and Win 7 on a Skylake system and it includes tables that show how to configure the Boot mode, SATA mode and Secure Boot settings in your notebook's BIOS in order to use an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD as an OS drive with Win 7. MSI FAQ 01191 (see link below) describes how to use an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD as a data drive under Win 7.


Relevant MSI FAQs
FAQ 01990 - What should I know before upgrading PCI-e storage devices on my notebook? - (Click on the red "Download" button to download the pdf document.)
FAQ 01971 - How to install Windows system on my notebook with 6th Generation Intel Core CPU and PCH (Skylake)? - (Click on the red "Download" button to download the pdf document.)
FAQ 01191 - Why isn't my PCI-e NVMe SSD detected in the Intel Rapid Storage Technology (IRST) control panel when I use it as a data disk in Windows 7?


http://www.msi.com/faq/notebook-1117
How to use Win7 Smart Tool
http://www.msi.com/faq/nb-1988.html
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 10:35:09 PM by MSI Notebook Administrator »
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ace.symone7392

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Re: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 03:49:39 PM »

Nice....
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ace.symone7392

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Re: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2017, 03:50:19 PM »

nice...
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jomar.o037

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Re: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2017, 03:50:49 PM »

wow Nice
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christopher_ocbian

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Re: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2017, 03:51:51 PM »

Sweet pcie ssd for msi unit
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zorenrequintel

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Re: SSD Readme Upgrade for MSI Notebooks
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 10:06:23 PM »

wow
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