M.2 NVME POST Error Code 97 Solution (PCIE Error on ASRock X99 Taichi & STRIX GTX 980)

M.2 NVME POST Error Code 97 Solution (PCIE Error on ASRock X99 Taichi & STRIX GTX 980)

In my past experience of assembling over 15 systems or so for friends and family I have seen some mind blowing bugs and error codes. I've also heard some pretty weird anecdotes about how computer will only post if you perform certain rituals. However, this particular issue I've encountered with M.2 NVME drives with this particular motherboard blows all those stories out of the park.

My configuration is as follows:

MB: ASRock X99 Taichi
Memory: 4X4 DDR4 Corsair LPX
GPU: ASUS Strix GTX980
M.2 Drive: Intel 600P 512GB
HDD: 2 * WD 2TB Green Drive
SSD: Sandisk 512GB

The following is a TLDR of my bizarre encounter:

  1. Insert M.2 Drive the first time, everything works, Windows 10 installed successfully
  2. Complete power down, system failed to post (stuck at code 97, PCIE error according to manual)
  3. Remove the M.2 Drive, system post into bios successfully
  4. Complete power down, re-insert the M.2 Drive, this time the system boots smoothly
  5. Without power off, system restart correctly. Complete power down, the cycle repeats again.

At first I thought it was some bios bug, since M.2 nvme drives were still relatively new, and since I rarely power down my PC completely I didn't mind performing this ritual once in a while. It was, however, a nuisance...until today, when I decided to troubleshoot the problem. During the troubling shooting process I figured out that the system boots perfectly without my GPU installed, complete power down or not.

Long story short, I switch my monitor displayport connection from one slot to another on my graphics card and everything runs like butter. Who knew it was the graphics card ports all this time causing me grief? I guess you learn something new everyday, useful or not.