Fixing NVMe driver for Samsung 960 Pro, in Dell Inspiron 15. If you are looking for the solution, skip to Fixing the driver

What I think of Insipron Gaming laptop

Recently I got a Dell Insipron gaming laptop. It’s an entry level gaming laptop, nothing hardcore. The model I got has an SSD, but it’s a SanDisk X400 - a SATA SSD.

Not fast enough for me.

The first thing I did once I received my laptop was to replace the SSD with a Samsung 960 Pro. NVMe SSDs are much faster than their SATA counterparts. open laptop

Then I would reinstall OS on the new drive. A few moments later, Windows boots up.

Let’s see some benchmark scores! Wait… the speeds are way off!

Once I got the NVMe SSD set in place, and Windows installed and running, I fired up Anvil Storage Utilities to run some benchmarks. benchmark

Is it some kind of joke? Although reading speeds look OK, writing speeds are absolutely egregious. It’s nowhere near rated speeds.

I opened up Samsung Magician, only to find out the drive wasn’t even recognized in the software. magician

Let me see what’s going on in Device Manager deviceman

Note that I disabled the TOSHIBA HDD. It gives me a little boost in battery life, and I can enable it whenever I need additional storage.

The NVMe SSD is listed in device manager, but not shown in Storage controllers.

I’m not going to let drive run at anything less than its full potential. Time to properly configure the system so it can run at its rated speeds.


Fixing the driver

I figured maybe I should try swithing to AHCI from RAID. This laptop has RAID enabled by default, so to disable that, we need to go into the BIOS settings.

Pressing F12 on boot, selecting BIOS Setup. The setting is right there. bios_sata

This warning comes up bios_warning

BSOD

Do not make the same mistake as I did by ignoring this warning. Windows won’t boot now… bdos

Flipping the SATA settings back, Windows boots normally.

After a little bit of Googling it turns out that we need to boot into Safe Mode to get the switch to work. Now there are multiple ways we can get into Safe Mode in Windows 10. The easiest way to do it, is to run

msconfig

msconfig

Check Safe boot and select minimal. Restart the system, and switch to AHCI mode in BIOS upon system boot this time.

Windows boots into Safe mode no problem. Go to msconfig again, and uncheck the Safe boot option.

I think I’ve fixed it!

This time Windows boots up normally, and we are running in AHCI mode. Let’s see what comes up in Samsung Magician!

magician_fixed Yes! The SSD shows up as expected in the software. PCIe Gen. 3 x 4, very nice. Now let’s take a look at Device Manager

deviceman_fixed Perfect, Samsung NVMe Controller is there! I guess I’ll end the blog post with the updated benchmark scores.

bench_fixed This is glorious.