Wednesday, October 4th 2017

ASUS Intros Hyper M.2 x16 Riser Card

ASUS rolled out the Hyper M.2 x16 riser card, an accessory which could prove useful for those who want to add up to four extra M.2 SSDs. The card features a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 upstream interface, which it splits into four 32 Gb/s M.2-22110 slots (up to 110 mm length), with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each. The card doesn't have any serious HBA logic of its own, beyond simple circuitry to power the four M.2 drives, and put out power/activity status LEDs for each slot.

A monolithic, stylish brushed aluminium shroud doubles up as a heatsink for the M.2 drives. There's also a lateral-blower fan, which guides air from inside your case through the drives and outside through the perforated rear bracket. You can turn this fan off with a physical switch on the card, although there's no software-based fan-control. The card is 20.2 cm long, 9.6 cm tall, and 1-slot thick. The company is advertising the card to be compatible only with its X299 chipset-based motherboards, for now. The company didn't reveal pricing.
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24 Comments on ASUS Intros Hyper M.2 x16 Riser Card

#1
Chaitanya
Looks a like a good combo for those running High core count Skylake-X(and maybe threadripper in future) and RAID m.2 drives just for benchmarks.
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#3
BadFrog
Wasn't this released in Computex 2017? I heard they only support Intel drives with a special usb key for making it bootable? idk....
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#4
yogurt_21
Chaitanya said:
Looks a like a good combo for those running High core count Skylake-X(and maybe threadripper in future) and RAID m.2 drives just for benchmarks.
does it actually support RAID though?
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#5
Cybrnook2002
Isn't this the same card der8auer used to test nvme raid on threadripper? (Before he was asked to remove the video)
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#6
BadFrog
Cybrnook2002 said:
Isn't this the same card der8auer used to test nvme raid on threadripper? (Before he was asked to remove the video)
yup
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#8
Assimilator
I'd like a half-height version of this with 2 M.2 SSDs on each side.
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#9
bonehead123
Assimilator said:
I'd like a half-height version of this with 2 M.2 SSDs on each side.
Yes, and I would like some of that ice-cold, crystal-clear fountain water straight from the pits of Hades too, but like your request, I don't think it's gonna happen anytime soon :)

Especially while they are reverting to some proprietary stand-offish nonsense yet AGAIN :)

hello, it's 1984 calling, and we want our antiquated stuff back!
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#11
phylop
yogurt_21 said:
does it actually support RAID though?
It would support software RAID, this is not a hardware RAID card. As the article states "...with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, each. The card doesn't have any serious HBA logic of its own, beyond simple circuitry to power the four M.2 drives" This is sorta similar to just adding more SATA ports to a motherboard. The m.2 drives would be seen by the OS, or maybe even certain motherboard BIOS as individual drives which you would then be able to do software RAID with.
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#13
Prima.Vera
btarunr said:
The company is advertising the card to be compatible only with its X299 chipset-based motherboards
That's extremely shitty to say the least. That youtube guy used this card on a AMD platform with 8 EVOs in RAID without any issues....
And I wanted this card for the Z390 system I'm going to build next year....pfff
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#14
Chaitanya
yogurt_21 said:
does it actually support RAID though?
According to Asus's website:
  • Supports Intel VROC technology, allowing you to use CPU PCIe® lanes to create BOOTable RAID arrays
That means you need to pay 100$ or so extra on top of stupid HEDT premium to get support for RAID(beyond RAID 1). Also you need to get Intel SSDs for that work which another crippling limitation for VROC.
Here is a link to Pcper's review of the this Asus add in card: https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storage/Intel-VROC-Tested-X299-VROC-vs-Z270-RST-Quad-Optane-vs-Quad-960-PRO
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#15
lexluthermiester
btarunr said:
The company is advertising the card to be compatible only with its X299 chipset-based motherboards, for now.
It would be good for that to change. M2 based hardware Raid5 with a boot-strap rom PCIE card? Yes please! Kinda been waiting for a setup like that to come along.
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#16
Valantar
Assimilator said:
I'd like a half-height version of this with 2 M.2 SSDs on each side.
That wouldn't fit within the PCIe spec - the rear mounted drives would extend too far off the PCB. As such, selling it would be a challenge.
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#17
bug
I don't care about RAID and stuff, but this would be a nice addition to consumer boards that only have one or two M2 slots. With the prices of SSDs, you can keep adding 256-512GB drives to replace your roomy HDDs.
But if this only works on X299, it's a waste.
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#18
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
If this works but, just without VROC on non X299 boards, I would be interested in one of these for my machine since I want to jump on the M.2 bandwagon without replacing my entire setup and I have more than enough PCIe lanes to use.
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#19
StrayKAT
Prima.Vera said:
That's extremely shitty to say the least. That youtube guy used this card on a AMD platform with 8 EVOs in RAID without any issues....
And I wanted this card for the Z390 system I'm going to build next year....pfff
That's more reasonable than the 4k blu-ray drive I bought recently that only works on Kaby Lake (and up). lol. At least NVME Raid is niche.
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#20
Valantar
bug said:
I don't care about RAID and stuff, but this would be a nice addition to consumer boards that only have one or two M2 slots. With the prices of SSDs, you can keep adding 256-512GB drives to replace your roomy HDDs.
But if this only works on X299, it's a waste.
Completely agree here. Considering the passive nature of the card, though, it should work with any motherboard supporting PCIe lane bifurcation, which even Ryzen supports (IIRC Asrock advertises their AM4 ITX board with support for SLI/CF through an x8/x8 split riser cable).

As such, a 2-drive version with 8 lanes wired up should be perfect for anyone willing to run their GPU in x8 mode (which ought to be pretty much everyone, as the performance loss is near zero) even on consumer platforms with 16 "GPU" lanes split across two slots. Then again, as long as the platform supports bifurcation this should work with the 4-drive version too, with the 3rd and 4th slot simply not working (as they won't be connected to anything), and it's not like the cost of this card is prohibitive, luckily.
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#21
Prima.Vera
bug said:
I don't care about RAID and stuff, but this would be a nice addition to consumer boards that only have one or two M2 slots. With the prices of SSDs, you can keep adding 256-512GB drives to replace your roomy HDDs.
But if this only works on X299, it's a waste.
What you mean you don't care?! Bro, that's THE ONLY reason I am buying this adapter. I mean think about it, 1 single 1TB drive for 2GB/s or 4x250GB (1TB) drives for 8GB/s ??? :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
I think is a no brainer...:rockout:
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#22
Valantar
StrayKAT said:
That's more reasonable than the 4k blu-ray drive I bought recently that only works on Kaby Lake (and up). lol. At least NVME Raid is niche.
Yeah, it's pretty silly that this can't be expanded to support most modern dGPUs through a simple BIOS/firmware update (heck, one might argue the same for any 4k decode-capable iGPU too). Artificial market segmentation and forced obsolescence for the win!

At the very least, I hope Raven Ridge will support 4k Blu-ray.
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#23
bug
Prima.Vera said:
What you mean you don't care?! Bro, that's THE ONLY reason I am buying this adapter. I mean think about it, 1 single 1TB drive for 2GB/s or 4x250GB (1TB) drives for 8GB/s ??? :laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:
I think is a no brainer...:rockout:
I didn't say nobody cares about RAID. But I just don't do enough sequential transfers to ever reach the limit of a single PCIe x4 drive, let alone two in RAID0. To me it's all about the 4k random reads, which, afaik, RAID0 doesn't really improve on.
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#24
Franzen4Real
"The company is advertising the card to be compatible only with its X299 chipset-based motherboards, for now."

Damn... I'd like to have this for my X99-A....
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