Solved Intel VMD or just plain NVMe?


NavyLCDR

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I have a laptop with i7 11th Gen CPU. I can either turn on Intel VMD and use the VMD driver from Intel (part of IRST) for my two SSDs - with no RAID, I am not interested in setting up RAID, or I can disable Intel VMD and run standard NVMe drivers (or Samsung NVMe for my one Samsung SSD). Does anyone have any real info as to which is better - as in faster?
 
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Winuser

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I haven't a clue what's the best. If you haven't done it yet, you could look up the specs for the Intel VMD and see if it fits your needs.
 

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CornishRattler

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In my experience you will notice next to no difference, I'm guessing that the laptop has Intel Optane drives?
 

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Winuser

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In my experience you will notice next to no difference, I'm guessing that the laptop has Intel Optane drives?
Once someone upgrades their computer from a HDD to a SSD I don't think there will be any speed increases that will be noticeable.
 

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CornishRattler

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Once someone upgrades their computer from a HDD to a SSD I don't think there will be any speed increases that will be noticeable.
Yep, pretty much
 

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jimbo45

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@NavyLCDR

I think you'll have to go back to "Old School Engineering" -- try it and see. I doubt whether like others have posted you'd notice any significant difference - especially on a laptop. You might though on any VM's you might have as you can presumably use HOST native Nvme mode. I think just try out combos and see. Windows install especially via dism and apply-image doesn't take long especially on that type of laptop with i7 as well.

Cheers
jimbo
 

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pparks1

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I think the quantifiable differences are likely going to boil down to benchmarks only and real world experience will be unnoticeable.
 

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NavyLCDR

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I've tried both, I don't see any difference in performance. Since I am not going to enable RAID, I am going to leave VMD disabled and use the NVMe drivers. The SSD maintenance programs (like Samsung Magician) did not work with the VMD drivers anyway.

Also, on clean installs, with VMD enabled you have to have the IRST driver available before Windows setup will see the drives installed.
 

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GoldBug

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I have a Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Model 15ILT6 of which I just put a 500gb Samsung 980 (NVMe M.2) in and removed the 1tb 2.5" 5400rpm HDD. At this juncture I have no need for two drives. Samsung's Magician monitoring software indicates the Intel VMD Controller driver is not compatible with Magician. Samsung does not offer any NVMe driver for the Samsung 980 or 980 PRO... you use the Windows native NVMe driver.

From much reading, it is my understanding that the Intel RST is a RAID function built into the Intel Gen 11 CPU with the CPU incorporating the VMD Controller which controls the NVMe functions (effectively overriding/blocking the actual NVMe on-board controller). The CPU/Intel VMD Controller even handles the Host Memory Buffer function on dram-less NVMe like the Samsung 980 or WD_Black SN750 SE.

I can disable the Intel VMD Controller in the BIOS, which will then allow the Samsung NVMe to be "seen" by the Magician Monitoring Software due to using the Microsoft native NMVe driver. What I haven't been able to locate is the current Microsoft native NVMe Driver version number/date -and- any facts comparing the MS native driver which will "drive" the Samsung Controller vs. the Intel VMD Controller driver.

Any insights?
 

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GoldBug

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I've tried both, I don't see any difference in performance. Since I am not going to enable RAID, I am going to leave VMD disabled and use the NVMe drivers. The SSD maintenance programs (like Samsung Magician) did not work with the VMD drivers anyway.

Also, on clean installs, with VMD enabled you have to have the IRST driver available before Windows setup will see the drives installed.
Question... "I've tried both". I have a similar situation regarding VMD being enabled in the BIOS and using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver vs. VMD being disabled and using the Windows native NVMe Storage Controller driver. NOTE: Looking under Device Manager > Storage Controllers

I currently have a Samsung 980 NVMe M.2 installed with no secondary drive in the HDD/SSD caddy. VMD is enabled in the BIOS and am using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver. Works great for me... very fast. BUT, Samsung Magician does not work due to the Intel VMD driver. NOTE: the Samsung 980 series does not have a Samsung driver... uses the Windows native NVMe driver or the Intel VMD driver.

I am wanting to periodically (temporarily) disable VMD in the BIOS to be able to utilize the info on Magician. Just to verify, you have successfully "toggled" between enabling and then disabling VMD in the BIOS without any subsequent issue(s)...??

Thanks.
GoldBug
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CornishRattler

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Question... "I've tried both". I have a similar situation regarding VMD being enabled in the BIOS and using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver vs. VMD being disabled and using the Windows native NVMe Storage Controller driver. NOTE: Looking under Device Manager > Storage Controllers

I currently have a Samsung 980 NVMe M.2 installed with no secondary drive in the HDD/SSD caddy. VMD is enabled in the BIOS and am using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver. Works great for me... very fast. BUT, Samsung Magician does not work due to the Intel VMD driver. NOTE: the Samsung 980 series does not have a Samsung driver... uses the Windows native NVMe driver or the Intel VMD driver.

I am wanting to periodically (temporarily) disable VMD in the BIOS to be able to utilize the info on Magician. Just to verify, you have successfully "toggled" between enabling and then disabling VMD in the BIOS without any subsequent issue(s)...??

Thanks.
GoldBug
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Model 15ILT6
My advice is that it's more hassle than it's worth tbh
 

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cereberus

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My advice is that it's more hassle than it's worth tbh
My laptop has an nvme/optane drive and will not boot with vmd disabled, using the Intel IRST driver.
 

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NavyLCDR

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Question... "I've tried both". I have a similar situation regarding VMD being enabled in the BIOS and using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver vs. VMD being disabled and using the Windows native NVMe Storage Controller driver. NOTE: Looking under Device Manager > Storage Controllers

I currently have a Samsung 980 NVMe M.2 installed with no secondary drive in the HDD/SSD caddy. VMD is enabled in the BIOS and am using the Intel VMD Storage Controller driver. Works great for me... very fast. BUT, Samsung Magician does not work due to the Intel VMD driver. NOTE: the Samsung 980 series does not have a Samsung driver... uses the Windows native NVMe driver or the Intel VMD driver.

I am wanting to periodically (temporarily) disable VMD in the BIOS to be able to utilize the info on Magician. Just to verify, you have successfully "toggled" between enabling and then disabling VMD in the BIOS without any subsequent issue(s)...??

Thanks.
GoldBug
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Model 15ILT6
To "toggle" you need to remove the existing storage controller devices in device manager first. Only uninstall the controller device, not the device driver. Set Windows to boot into safe mode. Shutdown. Boot into BIOS and toggle VMD either on or off. Boot into safe mode. Then restart normally.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WiFi)
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Operating System
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    Dell Inspiron 7773
    CPU
    Intel i7-8550U
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    32GB
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    Nvidia Geforce MX150
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    17"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 512GB NVMe SSD
    SK Hynix 512GB SATA SSD
    Internet Speed
    Fast!
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