Hi there. I recently bought my first NVMe M.2 drive (Samsung 960EVO 512GB M.2) after owning an Intel NVMe drive (real PCIe 3.0 x4 connector, no M.2) for years. While searching which drive would suite my needs I encountered a problem I bet most of you will encounter, too. What driver do you install on your NVMe drive for it to work at its best speeds? There are basically only these available: - Microsoft's own "generic" NVMe driver (included in Windows 8 to 10, optional download for Windows 7) - Intel NVMe driver (only for Intel SSDs, for all Windows from version 7 to 10, split to two ranges: DATACENTER and CLIENT) - Samsung NVMe driver (only for Samsung SSDs, for Windows 7 to 10) - OCZ / Toshiba driver (Windows 7 to 10, but only for model RD400/RD400A, none else) - Open Fabrics Alliance NVMe driver (SHOULD run on any Windows OS from 7 to 10 and with ANY NVMe device!!) <EDIT: I found Lite-On NVMe drivers on win-raid.com, they are obviously meant for Plextor SSDs. I will link them below for completeness> I do not know of any other NVMe drivers. if you do, please post a link to them. So what if you buy say a Kingston NVMe SSD or a Patriot one? What driver should you use? The generic MS one? It seems so ... Details to the drivers from above: Spoiler: Microsoft: This driver is already installed in your OS and ready to use from the start. If you install Windows 8 or newer, you do that like any other OS install and you do not have to worry about your NVMe drives don't get recognized. Important to know: This driver, even on Windows 10, only supports the NVMe specs until revision 1.0e, that means some functions introduced in 1.1 or higher don't get to your drive. Read more about this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NVM_Express And to add more to this: You probably won't get the maximum speed out of your SSD. Back then running my Intel SSD at PCIe 2.0 x2 (theory: 1GB/s max.) had way better numbers with the Intel driver (about 850MB/s read and 800MB/s write) than the Microsoft one (only about 600MB/s read and 500MB/s write). There are two "hotfixes" available to those needing the NVMe capability on Windows 7 (to install the OS), get them from here: Code: https://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/kbhotfix.aspx?kbnum=2990941&kbln=en-US https://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/kbhotfix.aspx?kbnum=3087873&kbln=en-US Note: You have to integrate them into your Windows 7 ISO. Spoiler: Intel: Intel NVMe drivers are split to two different groups, CLIENT versions and DATACENTER versions. I do not know why, because my results were almost identical comparing these two, somebody may explain this to me. Those drivers give you a better performance for your Intel NVMe drive than the generic MS driver, but are only meant for Intel SSDs, they won't work on other ones (tried with my Samsung SSD). AFAIK those support the highest revision of NVMe (1.3b if I am right). Get the driver from: Code: https://downloadcenter.intel.com ... and search for your specific model and OS. Intel provides those in EXE files or as "pure INF" zipped for you to extract and use during the Windows setup ("F6 drivers"). Spoiler: Samsung: Samsung NVMe drivers support only Samsung SSDs. Important to say is, most "business" models (those OEM ones which are cheaper than its EVO or PRO counterparts and without any heatsink) are NOT supported or support comes very late. For example the support of the "business 960" series came when Samsung officially announced the 970 series as "available". Honestly I do not know which revisions of NVMe those support right now, but they keep their drives at a very good speed and long term reliability, so I >>guess<< somewhere in the rev 1.3 range (almost up2date or latest revision). Samsung provides its drivers in EXE format. This could be very frustrating if you buy a Samsung SSD for your new setup and you cannot access any OS to extract the driver to use in a Windows install right away. Don't get me wrong, you get Windows installed (8 and newer or "modded" / hotfixed 7) fine without them, but I usually recommend using the right drivers from the install right away. But with Samsung, at least it works and you can install the EXE after Windows boots up the first time. Compatible drives are listed as: 950 PRO, 960 (PRO and EVO) and 970 (PRO and EVO), but a forum member from a different forum told me he was able to run his "enterprise" model with it, too and that didn't work with an older driver (older than 3.0). You get the driver from here: Code: https://www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/download/tools/ Spoiler: OCZ / Toshiba: The driver is valid for only one model, the RD400 or its A variant (RD400A). I didn't invest much time with this driver, because the RD400(A) was somewhat unappealing. You get the driver from here if you need it: Code: https://ssd.toshiba-memory.com/download/drivers/nvme/windows/ocznvme-18.104.22.1683_whck.zip Spoiler: Open Fabrics Alliance: I found these because I wondered about so many drives running obviously only the Windows generic driver. There HAS to be an alternative, right? Because of ... reasons ... you know? So I found this, back then only in version 1.4 (as pure INF files, so "F6 driver") and tested this on my Intel SSD. I found out: The driver isn't signed correctly, therefore you have to enable dev mode (BCDEDIT with "-testsigning ON" switch) and do a lot of other stuff to get it "accepted" by Windows, otherwise it will not even install! Then I did a reboot, only to find out this driver is somewhat fucked up, really. Windows was bricked and not even the "last good config" was working. So I asked a friend to compile the driver from scratch (source exists, you may do it, too) because I am a lousy programmer ("Hello World!" usually ends in "Total World Domination!" if I try it), but even he failed and told me "somehow it throws crazy errors, but I do not have the time to inspect this further". I didn't try the version 1.5 driver yet, probably they fixed something under the hood, but 1.4 failed completely (besides the interesting fact that some people indeed seem to have this in a "working condition" in their system). If interested in trying (CAUTION! IT >>MAY<< BREAK YOUR OS!) you can get the driver here: Code: https://svn.openfabrics.org/svnrepo/nvmewin/releases/ Infos: https://lists.openfabrics.org/pipermail/nvmewin/2016-September/001395.html (Click through! A lot is written in separate posts, CRITICAL REQUIREMENTS TOO!!! See this as a start!) CAUTION: It is strongly advised to create a reliable backup first or test it on a separate system! Be careful! Spoiler: Lite-On / Plextor: While searching the web for more NVMe drivers I stumbled over a thread on win-raid.com and found additional drivers, those for Plextor SSDs from the maker Lite-On. I haven't tested those, and TBH I didn't find them on ANY other site than win-raid.com itself. Plextor itself only provides a "suite software", probably the drivers are included there, but I don't know for sure. I won't link to the driver file directly, but to win-raid.com's thread itself, where you may find other drivers, too. I can recommend this site, everything is well described and the owner responds to any question you may have. Here's the link to the thread, scroll to "Lite-On / Plextor": Code: https://www.win-raid.com/t29f25-Recommended-AHCI-RAID-and-NVMe-Drivers.html All other makes and models not named here: I didn't find more NVMe drivers than those listed above, so that must mean all devices without drivers from their manufacturers, they run with the "old" NVMe driver from Microsoft which lacks a decent set of features. I want to discuss with you if there are any other options, because if you think about this, it means "stick to the big brands (Intel, Samsung, OCZ/Toshiba) which provide separate drivers, otherwise you have to stick to performance-degrading Microsoft drivers with a lack of certain features and this may have a negative impact on your SSD regarding performance, stability and/or lifespan". Your feedback, suggestions or criticism (if brought up in a decent and rational manner!) is very welcome, as always.