The Samsung XP941 has been on the market for quite a while now. Apple and Sony both embraced Samsung's futuristic wonder in retail products. Apple brought an XP941 variant to the market in the 2013 Macbook Pro and later in the new cylinder-shaped Mac Pro. Sony took a different route and stuffed the XP941 in a VAIO Pro 13-inch Ultrabook. None of these products are all that interesting from the eyes of a Windows person. The Apple is easy to discount by name only, and the last thing most of us would want to pair together is an amazing SSD with a 13-inch display.
Things have changed with the introduction of Intel's new Z97 chipset. Over the last two generations of chipsets, motherboard manufacturers have slowly implemented UEFI capabilities in mainboard BIOS. With Intel's guidance, and a product to fill the need, the Samsung XP941 can now be used as a boot device in off-the-shelf motherboards.
At this time, there is only one confirmed enthusiast motherboard on the market, but booting to PCIe storage is on every motherboard manufacturer's radar. Z97 brings SATA Express and M.2 storage to the world consumer world.
The lone motherboard that fully supports Samsung's PCIe 2.0 4-lane SSD is the ASRock Extreme6. Sadly, our sample is still twelve hours away at the time of writing, but we'll publish a full review in the coming days. With an adapter, the XP941 works in other motherboards on the market, but only as secondary storage (you can't boot from the drive).
Additional compatibility will come, but don't look to onboard M.2 slots for full performance. The Extreme6 is the only Z97 board on the market that supports 4-lane PCIe storage; the others are only 2 lanes. The Extreme6 takes PCIe storage a step further and is the first PCIe 3.0 4-lane capable product on the market. We haven't even encountered a PCIe 3.0 SSD on the enterprise side either. We'll talk more about the Extreme6 in a few days. Until then, let's talk about why we would even be interested in Z97 from a storage point of view.
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