My experiences upgrading to Nvme M.2 Raid on an Asus Z170-WS. Trials and tribulations..


Just wanted to detail my experiences updating my system to dual M.2 nvme raid. First let me list my hardware. Already had Win 10 running off of a SM961 I bought a couple months so I thought two would be even better. Had an Intel 750 running off of an U.2 Port, two SATA drives running in Raid 0, and a couple CD/DVD drives. This posting will also review my experiences with Acronis 2016 and Macrium Reflect (latest version). So because the U.2 shares bandwidth with the second M.2 port I lost my Intel 750 as soon as I installed the second M.2 Samsung 961. At least I didn’t loose another two SATA ports (still had 4 out of 6). As I was afraid that could happen I was prepared with a PCI-E to U.2 adapter card which I installed in the Pci-e 2.0 x4 slot knowing I would take a performance hit by going to 2.0 pcie spec. Had no choice as I already had two video cards occupying 2 out of the 4 remaining pci-e slots and did not want any of them to drop to 8X no matter what. In anycase in preparation for this operation I backed up my OS using Acronis 2016 and created an emergency restore disk which refused to boot.

So I created the Win-PE version of Acronis on a usb stick and that booted up but refused to see my new M.2 Raid array! Probably raid drivers were missing and instead of trying to slipstream drivers I gave Macrium Reflect a shot and got to say I really liked its interface and that it shows you what drivers gets included in the Win-PE boot disk and lets you update them if you want. I didn’t update anything and upon reboot it saw my Nvme raid array and restored the backup without a hitch! For what its worth I was also prepared for the worst and had created a high speed usb clone of my Win10 install but for whatever reason that BSOD me upon reboot. Probably had a drive signature collision issue going on. Anyhow I highly recommend everyone to use Macrium Reflect and stay away from Acronis if your using anything beyond AHCI! Only other issue I am having right now is that the performance of my new array could be better as its read speeds are no better than a single drive. Perhaps I have saturated the bandwidth?