Fast, Faster, Fastest with MSI and NVMe
WRITTEN BY Shrek
Posted on March 10 2015
Of course your SSD is already extremely fast when using a MSI Z97 or X99 motherboard. However, there is a new technology available which allows for even faster SSD and HDD data transfer. This new technology is called NVM Express, or NVMe for short. But what is it exactly and why is it so much faster? Let's take a look.
The NVMe protocol is the successor to the common AHCI protocol that is currently in use for most of us with SSDs and HDDs. AHCI was originally developed long before SSDs were even thought of, and was therefore optimized for much slower operating hard disk drives. With AHCI you can only send 32 commands to the drive simultaneously. This is more than enough for any mechanical hard disk drive. However, since SSDs are basically multiple memory chips on a small circuit board operating through signals instead of mechanical operations, SSDs are much faster at processing multiple commands and the same time.
AHCI only delivers 32 commands at the same time while NVMe allows for up to 64.000 commands in a single queue and on top of that allows for an additional 64.000 queues (where AHCI can only process 1 queue). I don't need to tell you how much speed advantage there can be gained with this new protocol compared to the outdated AHCI. At the same time NVMe has improved impressively as well in the latency department through optimized design and faster, more direct, communication over PCI Express. Next to that NVMe has been designed to demand less CPU usage, making it a lot more power efficient compared to AHCI. MSI is the world’s first motherboard brand to fully support NVM Express.
So, NVM Express is introducing lower latency and lower power consumption while at the same time offering increased transfer rates compared to the outdated AHCI controller. What exactly can we expect in terms of speed?
As you can see in the above graph, speeds are almost doubled when working on the NVMe interface. Other tests also show lower power consumption for devices using NVMe. The NVM Express technology is independent from the SSD form factor, meaning PCI Express based, M.2 based, SATA based and SATA Express based SSDs are also supported.
Intel announced multiple NVMe based SSDs in different form factors during PAX East 2015
MSI’s R&D team fine-tuned the BIOS to fully unleash all the power NVMe has to offer while supporting the majority of devices available on the market without any hassle. With the latest BIOS, MSI X99/Z97/H97 motherboards can support NVMe devices as primary storage under Windows7 64bit and Windows8.1 64bit and fully support NVMe booting. The BIOS updates can now be downloaded from msi.com
Planning to upgrade to an NVMe SSD? MSI motherboards are the best choice!