DIY Computers are Fun

I recently got my Samsung 950 NVMe drive back from Samsung since it developed some bad blocks. The RMA process was quick and I’m glad Samsung honors their warranty. I send them event logs saying bad blocks were found and use SpinRite for a backup visual of the bad blocks. Whilst in NVMe limbo I used my old 850 Evo and ran into a few issues with my motherboard that I figured I should write down so other people don’t have to loose a weekend like I did.

Bad Blocks are Bad.

In a earlier post I have my full specs and the important part is my motherboard , a fancy Gigabyte GA-Z170X-UD5. The UD5 has two M.2 ports, future RAID 0 hopefully, that support the Samsung 950’s and when installing either of them it’s important to read the manual because on page 99 it says that you have to use the bottom M.2 port, behind the graphic card, if you want to use SATA ports 0-4. And when I first set up the PC I made a 2 second note in my mind and then promptly forgot due to the blazing speed of the 950.

M.2 Port on the Motherboard

When I got the 950 back I placed it in the top M.2 port, not remembering that it should go behind the graphic card,  I wanted scan it for bad blocks before using it again. So I open the side of the case and put the SSD in and let it scan overnight. SpinRite didn’t find any bad block so I figured when I have free time i would reinstall Windows and get back the NVMe awesomeness.

So last weekend I unplugged all my hard drives, I don’t want to wipe them accidentally when I reinstall, and install Windows 10 in about 8 minutes and have the graphic card driver and Office install in about 13 minutes. Everything running OK so I decide to plug my other hard drives back in so I can run some VM’s, from the RAID 0 drives, and start backing up everything. The computer turns on but its missing one of the RAID drives. Huh? I restart again and still gone. I change the power and SATA cable and some how the RAID array shows up but now my backup drive is missing.

I ended up taking out the hard drives and plugging them in to a new computer to make sure they were functional and in between all of this I remember that in the manual it said in page 30 that “When installing different types of M.2 SSDs (including SATA SSDs, PCIe x4 SSDs, and PCIe x2 SSDs), be sure to refer to the supported configurations in the tables below according to the operating mode of your SATA controller (AHCI mode or RAID mode).”

There’s the issue!

You can see from the M2D_32G M.2 Connector table that SATA ports 0 to 3 are X’ed and wont work when a hard drive is plugged in to them. I had all three of my hard drives plugged in to 0 to 2. So the moral of the story is that if your having issues read the manual first then Google.

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