If you’ve installed an NVMe SSD in the PCI-E4 slot of your MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard using an adaptor and are experiencing slower speeds than expected, this guide will help you diagnose and resolve the issue. Slow NVMe SSD speeds can be caused by various factors, and we’ll walk you through the troubleshooting steps to get your SSD performing optimally.
Table of Contents:
- Check Hardware Compatibility
- Verify BIOS Settings
- Inspect Physical Connections
- Update Drivers and Firmware
- Test NVMe SSD Speeds
- Check Hardware Compatibility:
Ensure that your NVMe SSD, PCI-E4 adaptor, and MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard are all compatible with each other. Refer to your motherboard’s manual and the SSD manufacturer’s specifications to confirm compatibility.
- Verify BIOS Settings:
a. Enter the BIOS by pressing the designated key during startup (usually Del or F2).
b. Navigate to the “Advanced” or “Advanced Settings” menu.
c. Check that the PCI-E4 slot is set to run at the maximum supported speed (usually Gen 3 or Gen 4). Adjust the settings accordingly.
d. Enable “NVMe RAID Mode” if available and applicable.
e. Save and exit the BIOS settings.
- Inspect Physical Connections:
a. Power off your PC and unplug it from the power source.
b. Open your PC case and ensure that the NVMe SSD is securely connected to the PCI-E4 adaptor.
c. Check the adaptor’s connection to the motherboard’s PCI-E4 slot.
d. Reconnect any loose or improperly seated components.
- Update Drivers and Firmware:
a. Download the latest drivers and firmware updates for your NVMe SSD and motherboard from the respective manufacturer’s websites.
b. Install the updates following the provided instructions.
c. Reboot your system.
- Test NVMe SSD Speeds:
a. Use benchmarking software like CrystalDiskMark or AS SSD to measure the read and write speeds of your NVMe SSD.
b. Compare the benchmark results to the SSD’s advertised speeds and expected performance based on its specifications.
c. If the speeds are still slower than expected, consider testing the NVMe SSD in another compatible system to rule out hardware issues.
By following these troubleshooting steps, you should be able to identify and address the factors contributing to slow NVMe SSD speeds when using a PCI-E4 adaptor on the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard. Remember to always refer to your motherboard and SSD manufacturer’s documentation for specific guidance, and keep your system’s drivers and firmware up to date for optimal performance.
Check Hardware Compatibility:
- Ensure that your NVMe SSD, PCI-E4 adaptor, and MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard are all compatible with each other. Here are some key considerations: a. NVMe SSD Compatibility:
- Confirm that your NVMe SSD is designed to work with the PCI-E4 interface and is not limited to a lower-generation PCI-E slot.
- Check for any specific requirements or recommendations from the SSD manufacturer regarding compatibility with adaptors or certain motherboard chipsets.
- Make sure the PCI-E4 adaptor you’re using is compatible with NVMe SSDs and is designed to work with your motherboard’s PCI-E4 slot.
- Some adaptors may require specific BIOS settings or driver installations to function optimally.
- Refer to the motherboard’s manual or MSI’s official website to verify that the PCI-E4 slot is intended for NVMe SSD usage and supports the necessary PCI-E generation (e.g., Gen 3 or Gen 4).
- Check for any BIOS updates or compatibility notices related to NVMe SSDs and adaptors.
- Ensure that your power supply unit (PSU) provides adequate power to both the motherboard and the NVMe SSD. Some high-performance SSDs may require additional power.
- Confirm that there is enough physical space within your PC case to accommodate the NVMe SSD and adaptor, as well as proper ventilation to prevent overheating.
- Some NVMe SSDs or adaptors may require specific software or driver installations. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for these components.
If any of the components are incompatible or do not meet the required specifications, it may result in slower than expected NVMe SSD speeds. Addressing compatibility issues is a crucial first step in troubleshooting slow SSD performance on your MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard with a PCI-E4 adaptor.
Let’s continue with the “Verify BIOS Settings” section:
- Verify BIOS Settings (Continued): f. If you’re unsure about the settings or if there’s an option called “PCI-E Lane Configuration” or similar, make sure the PCI-E4 slot is configured to use the maximum number of lanes available. In most cases, this should be set to x16. g. Check for any additional settings related to NVMe SSDs. Depending on your motherboard’s BIOS, there might be options like “NVMe Configuration,” “NVMe RAID Mode,” or “NVMe SSD Compatibility Mode.” Ensure that these settings are configured appropriately, following the recommendations in your motherboard’s manual. h. Save any changes you’ve made in the BIOS and exit the BIOS setup utility. The system will likely reboot automatically.
- After making these adjustments, boot back into your operating system and run another NVMe SSD benchmarking test to see if the speed has improved. If it has, you’ve likely resolved the issue. If not, proceed to the next troubleshooting step.
Remember that changes made in the BIOS can have a significant impact on your system’s stability, so be cautious and only modify settings you are comfortable with. If you’re unsure about a particular BIOS option, consult your motherboard’s manual or seek assistance from MSI’s support resources or community forums for more specific guidance related to your motherboard model.
Inspect Physical Connections
- Inspect the Thermal Solution:
a. Some NVMe SSDs come with a thermal pad or heatsink. Ensure that the thermal solution is properly attached to your SSD to prevent overheating, which can lead to reduced performance.
b. If your SSD doesn’t have a pre-installed thermal solution, consider adding one to dissipate heat effectively.
- Verify the PCI-E Adaptor Quality:
a. Not all PCI-E adaptors are created equal. Ensure that the adaptor you’re using is of high quality and supports the maximum speed of your NVMe SSD.
b. Consider trying a different adaptor if you suspect that the current one may be causing the slowdown.
- Check for Dust and Debris:
a. Over time, dust and debris can accumulate in your PC case, potentially affecting the performance of your hardware. Inspect and clean the inside of your PC to ensure optimal airflow.
- Re-seat Components:
a. If you’ve made changes to the physical connections, such as reseating the NVMe SSD or the adaptor, make sure they are securely and correctly reseated. Even a slightly loose connection can impact performance.
- Inspect for Physical Damage:
a. Examine the NVMe SSD, PCI-E adaptor, and motherboard for any signs of physical damage, such as bent pins, broken connectors, or visible wear. Replace any damaged components as necessary.
- Cable Management:
a. Ensure that there are no cables or other components obstructing airflow around the NVMe SSD and the adaptor. Proper cable management can help maintain optimal temperatures.
- Monitor Temperature:
a. Install software tools to monitor the temperature of your NVMe SSD. Overheating can lead to thermal throttling, causing performance drops. Keep the SSD temperature within the recommended range.
Thoroughly inspecting and maintaining the physical connections in your PC setup is crucial for ensuring optimal NVMe SSD performance. By following these additional steps, you can minimize the risk of physical issues that may be causing the slow speeds you’ve been experiencing. Remember that a well-maintained and properly connected system is key to getting the most out of your hardware.
Update Drivers and Firmware
- d. After updating the drivers and firmware, it’s essential to verify that the changes have taken effect. e. Reboot your system once more to ensure that the new settings and updates are properly applied. f. If your motherboard supports a dedicated NVMe driver, make sure to install it for enhanced compatibility and performance. You can usually find this driver on the motherboard manufacturer’s website. g. For the SSD firmware update, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This process typically involves downloading the firmware update file to a USB drive, booting into the BIOS, and initiating the update from there. h. Once the firmware update is complete, restart your system to allow the changes to take effect. i. Re-run the benchmarking software to check if the SSD speeds have improved. Sometimes, a simple driver or firmware update can significantly boost performance. j. If the speeds are still not up to par, consider checking for any specific recommendations or updates from the motherboard manufacturer regarding the PCI-E4 slot and NVMe SSD compatibility. k. Additionally, keep an eye on your motherboard manufacturer’s website for future BIOS updates, as these can address compatibility issues and enhance overall system stability and performance.
Updating your drivers and firmware is a critical step in resolving slow NVMe SSD speeds when using a PCI-E4 adaptor on the MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard. Regularly checking for updates and ensuring that your components are running the latest software versions will help you achieve the best possible performance from your hardware. If your NVMe SSD speeds are still not meeting your expectations, you may want to explore other factors like system configuration or hardware limitations that could be affecting performance.
Test NVMe SSD Speeds
- d. Before running the benchmarks, ensure that your NVMe SSD has sufficient free space. A nearly full drive can result in reduced performance.
e. Close any unnecessary background applications to minimize interference during benchmarking.
f. Run the benchmarking software and select the NVMe SSD as the target drive.
g. Execute the benchmark, and record the results, paying attention to both sequential and random read and write speeds.
h. Compare the benchmark results to the SSD’s advertised speeds and expected performance based on its specifications.
- Additional Considerations:
a. Keep in mind that NVMe SSD speeds can vary depending on the workload and file sizes. Ensure that your expectations align with the type of tasks you’re performing.
b. Consider factors such as temperature and airflow within your PC case. Overheating can lead to performance throttling. Make sure your NVMe SSD is adequately cooled.
c. Check for any background processes or software that may be using the SSD extensively while benchmarking. These processes can affect test results.
- Seek Professional Assistance:
a. If your NVMe SSD continues to perform significantly below its expected speeds, despite following the troubleshooting steps, consider seeking assistance from a professional technician or contacting the SSD manufacturer’s customer support.
By meticulously testing your NVMe SSD’s speeds using benchmarking tools and considering additional factors that might impact performance, you can gain a clearer understanding of any potential issues. This information will be valuable when seeking further assistance or deciding on the appropriate course of action to resolve the slow NVMe SSD speeds on your MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard with a PCI-E4 adaptor.
The MSI B450 Tomahawk Max motherboard’s second x16 slot being PCIe 2.0 x4 does indeed have a hardware limitation that impacts the maximum speed of NVMe SSDs installed in that slot.
With PCIe 2.0 x4, you can expect around 2GB/s of theoretical bandwidth, but after accounting for overhead, it’s realistic to achieve speeds closer to 1.5GB/s.
In such cases, there’s nothing you can do to overcome this hardware limit. The motherboard’s design and the PCIe generation and lane configuration of the slot determine the maximum achievable speeds. If you require higher NVMe SSD speeds, you should consider using the primary PCIe x16 slot (usually PCIe 3.0 or 4.0) if available, as it provides higher bandwidth and better performance for NVMe SSDs.
Always be mindful of the hardware specifications and limitations of your motherboard when planning your storage configuration, as this will greatly impact the overall performance of your system.