M2 drive in PCIe with adapter vs M2 slot?

(First some info, I will use the PC for big orchestral templates on cubase 9 mainly.)

Some people from a computer shop are assembling a PC I just bought the parts from other stores.

The PC have:
CPU: i7 6900K
MB: X99 Asus deluxe ii
OS drive: Samsung 960 pro M2 512GB
Storage drives: SSD’s and HD’s

The guy in the store wants to place my OS drive, the Samsung 960 pro M2 512GB, in the PCIe slot using an adapter that comes with the motherboard (Asus deluxe ii). He is telling me that this way is much better and “faster speed” than placing the M2 drive right into the M2 slot that this motherboard have. Is this correct? Sounds nonsense to me.

I am using an m2 slot with Samsung m2 SSD as my project file drive and it’s working great, I would try google for the m2 slot bandwith comparison but I don’t see why it’s a good idea to tie up a PCI when you have a dedicated M2 to use, you might need that pci another day…

When you put a drive into the M.2 slot it disables a PCI slot - see manual


Use the M2 slot if its your system drive.

I’d seriously recommend win 10 pro with this setup. It’s almost identical to one of my new rigs except for the m2 drive. Mine is sm961, which I’d highly recommend to anyone as the performance is outstanding and its a little cheaper. You’ll want to use fast quad ram. Go for 64gb if you’re using it for big orchestral templates.

Can I also suggest you look into Vienna Pro Ensemble Pro 6 as your instruments host. It’s absolutely brilliant and saves a great deal of effort template wise as well as load on the Cubase audio engine. I use it here and have never looked back. If you get stuck with the build or software install, pm me :slight_smile:

Respectfully, I would disagree with all of this. No need for Vepro unless your building slaves, I own it here and don’t use it as it brings no benefit to me. I run a very large template with disabled and hidden tracks, far quicker that Vepro and all in house. 1300 tracks in 4.5-5 gig of Ram with the rest of my 32 gig for activated instruments.

I too have a Samsung 961 and it does not reach full speed in the M.2 slot with a overclocked PC. If you want it’s full speed with it in an M.2 slot in an Asus x99 mobo, you will have to only use default mobo settings.
Here is what Asus say: https://www.asus.com/uk/Motherboard-Accessory/HYPER_M2_X4_MINI_CARD/


third para

Hi ZeroZero, I do use slaves on some of my rigs but I’d have to respectfully disagree with your disagreement :slight_smile: It may not work for your workflow but it certainly does for mine.

I haven’t had a need to overclock my PC’s so its not an issue for me, I get full speed. Maybe things have changed for the 960, I don’t know, that review link you posted is for the 950.

The good news for the OP is that their original question has been answered and they’ve been presented with two options that work :slight_smile:

Thanks Zerozero, you always help a lot in this forum, I appreciate it.

So if I use the 960 pro in the m2 slot and at the same time I want to OC my PC, I won’t get full speed on my M2 SSd drive, correct?
But if I plug my 960 pro in the PCIe slot using the adapter that comes with my deluxe ii mobo, even if I OC my PC I will have NO Problems at all, correct?

That link you posted is on the 950 pro, do you know if it would be the same on the 960 pro?

Yes I know the m2 slot in the deluxe ii shares bandwidth with one of the PCIe slots. But the question is wich one is preferable to use in order to get the best performance on DAW based projects, the m2 or the PCIe slot? And if I should use the PCIe slot, wich slot (1, 2,3 etc.) would be the best one for the 960 pro and wich one for the GTX 1060 GPU?

Yes this is my theory. I have not yet tested it, but have the card coming in the post. I have found it impossible to get full speed with the system overclocked. I may add thgat even the slower speed of the 961 is 3 times faster than the fastest SSD, it should though give seven times as fast. I am using mine as a sample drive, I bet it makes little difference day to day - I just don’t like settling for second best


So you are using the m2 961 drive as a sample drive (libraries), which kind of drive you use for OS, and which one for the project folders etc?



  • Yes, I am using quad channel DDR4 Ram 4x16GB 64GB 3200/cl14 trident Z.
  • Yes, I have VEP, but I am not using it lately, I kind of prefer to load things on the project directly, even I know of the benefits of using VEP regarding the easy on changing from project to project.
  • Yes, I am using W10pro

Thanks for the advise and help! And for being so nice to letting me pm if I need it. Great community here.

At the moment I am using a Samsung 500gb evo for OP and a samsung pro128 for my cprs. I may upgrade the OP drive to another 961, but its plenty fast at the moment

You’re welcome. No issues there with your gear choice. In terms of loading everything inside of the project, that was fine when I was doing mostly orchestral projects. A lot of the stuff I do now means I can end up with up to 80 synth VSTi’s loaded plus all the orchestral instruments. Buffer size remains at 64 samples. I haven’t found a way of working that didn’t tap out the audio engine in Cubase or Nuendo. I’m all ears though for any suggestions.

When you say OP you mean Operating System?

So you prefer to use a normal SSD 2.5 sata 6GB for OS and Cubase projects, and in the other hand, a faster m2 SSD (961) for Sample libraries, correct?

I thought I should use the faster one for OS in order to get better performance in general. But just guessing…not real knowledge on this.

How long is your save times and .cpr file size? I am trying to decide between VEP and disabled track method. One advantage to VEP is lower save times and smaller .cpr files. I heard that in large templates using the disabled method, the .cpr file can get as large as 1GB, and take 30 seconds to save.