Question Annoyance: NVME mounting screws

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Has anyone experienced the slightest irritation about certain aspects of purchasing and installing NVMEs?

Just exactly who provides the little screws and nuts? (Nuts not necessarily required). Do they always come bundled with PCIE NVME expansion cards? How many do you get with a motherboard -- two?

I haven't found them in packaged Samsung and SK Hynix NVME drives.

And here's a recent story. I was giving my youngest brother a laptop for Xmas. I added RAM and a second NVME drive to it. I had a packet of two NVME screws, probably for a dual-NVME PCIE expansion card. I don't think the laptop had a spare screw in it waiting for the NVME, and neither did the SK Hynix package. I think I just grabbed an available screw, so now the expansion card is short of a screw. I sent the laptop to my surviving brother and he's very happy.

Now I'm finally ready to install the Startech dual-NVME card. "Oh, no! I'm missing a screw!" [People been telling me that all my life, but this is different . . ]

Parts-locker to the rescue -- screws and nuts and washers primarily for PCs collected since about 1984. You tell yourself that it's going to take an hour or more sorting through a box/compartment filled with a mix of different types and sizes of machine-screw fasteners. Maybe -- you get lucky. OK -- I found the right head, the right thread. Oops. It's too long. [Another twenty minutes]. Oh! A washer! It just fits!

Of course, you can go out to Amazon and buy a kit of these things. But which kit? ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte motherboards. What about the expansion cards?

So I understand. Mainstreamers don't have parts-lockers. They probably don't have boxes of mixed screws collected over a lifetime of 30 PCs. They probably wouldn't think of adding an NVME drive to their system -- by themselves -- on their own.

And also OK, I placed a $5 order arriving tomorrow for a package of screws. But I also have the one that I found -- wrong length -- but I also found a washer that makes it work . . .
 

mastertech01

Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member
Nov 13, 1999
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So far every motherboard, laptop and enclosure I have purchased have come with necessary installation hardware. Now if you buy second hand that may not be the case. None of the drives I have purchased came with them.
 
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blckgrffn

Diamond Member
May 1, 2003
8,472
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www.teamjuchems.com
Yeah, I bought a bag of like 10 of them on eBay for a song after getting a second hand motherboard that had no screws (thankfully, the standoffs though) and they are so tiny, they are just begging to be lost.

I wish it was just a normal screw type that we all have bins of, like the fine thread ones for 5.25" optical drives for example.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Drives = NO
Products to put the drives into = YES

It's fairly easy to find spares that will work though. With as much crap you have in your inventory you should have something that works.

Sure -- the one proper screw (too long) and the washer that makes it fit. So? I finally broke down and got "Amazon Prime" for the streaming TV/movies, but we order from Amazon all the time, so the free shipping is great. I've come around to the idea that it is actually worth it, after they've pestered me for a decade or more "Get Amazon Prime!"

So -- $5 for about a dozen NVME screws. I'm going to keep them close by. Would I EVER have TIME . . . to sort through the mixture of my screw collection and separate into piles of like threads and lengths? I really wonder. It gets to a point where you simply wouldn't bother.

Then there's the issue of sinking the NVMEs. For about $10, (also free Prime shipping), you can get two two-part sinks, screws and the blue thermal tape. They're neat; they look like they'll be effective.

Of course, these are the SK Hynix P31 "Gold" previous-generation 3,500 MB/s NVMEs, and the skinny on the street says they are so efficient with power they don't need to be sinked. But then, for the $10 kit -- why the hell not? Instead of the Mexican dinner foregone, I'll just pull a package of Senor Bonzai-ez's frozen taco meat, and make a bigger dinner than what you get for the price.

Funny. The Amazon link you gave is the item I bought. Or -- did I originally post that link? I'm losing my mind . . . . No -- I didn't post the link to the specific kit I purchased -- you did . . . .
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,347
1,201
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Somezheimers kicking in.
I'm just a little eager to find out how this StarTech dual-NVME PCIE card works with its own bifurcation. It's GONNA get 8 lanes. So the benchies will be interesting . . .

I think I saw one expansion card some few years ago that provided for four NVME drives. If a person got rid of their dGPU configuration in favor of the onboard Intel iGPU, you could certainly have a slot with 16 lanes . . . But only some motherboards provide PCIE bifurcation. So the multi-drive PCIE cards have to provide their own, or -- no cigar.
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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I could probably tell you how it's going to perform before installing it if you had mentioned it.

When I've been looking at anything other than single socket cards they use switching chips and depending on which one you get they either supply the full bandwidth or only push a 3x4 i.e 3500MB/s but, since it's a mux chip it has a propensity to slow down the throughput.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CVGZZCS - 2 drives @ 3x4
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HYZY7P2 - 2 drives @ 3x8 = 6500MB/s
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0847N8B5B - 4 drives @ 3x8 = 6500MB/s
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KFX8287 - 4 drives @ 3x8 = 6500MB/s
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0892VBP7P -4 drives @ 3x16 = 12000MB/s
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,347
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The StarTech card is cheaper, so I might suspect lesser performance. I'll have to run some benchmarks.

But it's not all about NVME speed, or four lanes per card with their bifurcation feature. This is about my frivolous purchase in the two kits of G.SKILL RipJaws DDR4-3200 Cas 16. Not as good as the TridentZ, but just more of it. Something to play with while I start seriously reading up in searching for a newer gen CPU-mobo-RAM bundle.

The SYBA card you linked looks promising. I had come across cards like that when I was window-shopping a few years back. I'm wondering how it was that I jumped on the StarTech card.

It's been a great week, and a great day. I think I'm going to do a little stock-car racing simulation . . .
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Think of ST as the brand name and the others as the generics. When something new comes along ST is usually the primary source until it trickles down to other companies.

Usually ST is the highest priced option but, sometimes it comes down to earth.

I put more focus on the internal guts of things rather than the case or name. I search by components inside the plastic.

When looking for TB enclosures I'm looking for the JHL8440 (TB4) not JHL7440 (TB3). I don't want 7440 + JMS for USB. I want it all in a single controller. I also don't want the TB3 chips because they don't hit 40gbps because they're capped at 27gbps. Some of the other options do hit around 30gbps but, the true versatility is in the 8440 version.

Or on the 20gbps front it's mostly ASM2364 but, there should be some other options from the regular culprits to compete and refine the performance.

With drives I'm usually pinpointing the controllers in them whether it's Phison or an in house option. Maybe looking at the chips themselves whether micron or hynix. Some apps prefer a certain chip brand for particular functions. It's just easier to narrow the searches and filter the fluff out of the results when being specific.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,347
1,201
126
Think of ST as the brand name and the others as the generics. When something new comes along ST is usually the primary source until it trickles down to other companies.

Usually ST is the highest priced option but, sometimes it comes down to earth.

I put more focus on the internal guts of things rather than the case or name. I search by components inside the plastic.

When looking for TB enclosures I'm looking for the JHL8440 (TB4) not JHL7440 (TB3). I don't want 7440 + JMS for USB. I want it all in a single controller. I also don't want the TB3 chips because they don't hit 40gbps because they're capped at 27gbps. Some of the other options do hit around 30gbps but, the true versatility is in the 8440 version.

Or on the 20gbps front it's mostly ASM2364 but, there should be some other options from the regular culprits to compete and refine the performance.

With drives I'm usually pinpointing the controllers in them whether it's Phison or an in house option. Maybe looking at the chips themselves whether micron or hynix. Some apps prefer a certain chip brand for particular functions. It's just easier to narrow the searches and filter the fluff out of the results when being specific.
Your input is enlightening on this. I could be lucky or not so lucky with choosing the Startech product with their Marvell chip (I THINK it's Marvell . . . ). It seems to me I should've looked into the offerings more, having run by them a few years earlier. EDIT: I looked more closely -- it's an Asmedia chip. Should've looked more closely at your own remarks about it.

But it costs money to produce a heatsink or heatsink and fan assembly as with some of the links you provided. StarTech just gives me a card. Individual heatsinks for the NVMEs can be bought in pairs for a little over $10 or $15 -- which I did. I wasn't even planning initially to sink the NVMe sticks, because these SK Hynix units are supposed to be really efficient, and don't seem to throttle under their heavier loads.

Ha! I thought I'd paid just over $100 for that Startech card, but I just checked my Order History at Amazon -- it was more like $165 .

Fancy or not so fancy, I hope I get what I paid for. Only the benchies will tell -- something.

All of this derives from a statistical scatter of user needs or wants. I'm not sure what I'd do with a 4xNVMe card. 2x -- I can see that. It wasn't even my intention to RAID a pair of them; they'll have different sizes and different purposes.

The "build in progress" is dated technology. But if I were to drop in a new CPU-Mobo-RAM bundle, I think my storage needs would be the same, the case-mods would be the same. Maybe I'd augment the current 3,500MB/s drives with 4th generation, but I wouldn't replace all of them.
 

Tech Junky

Golden Member
Jan 27, 2022
1,051
338
96
read/write speeds up to 3GB/s and 2.8GB/s for single-drives or 2.4GB/s and 1.42GB/s (per drive) for 2

$165 seems like a bit too much for those kind of speed limits. It's an X8 which is fine but, it should push higher bandwidth.

Looks like the Syba X8 linked above uses the same ASM chip for switching @ $180 so, you saved some money and didn't go bottom of the barrel for X4 speeds. It's always a balancing act when picking the right options though. If you don't triple check things sometimes you end up with an issue when you go to install it thinking it's going to do one thing and end up doing something different.

When it comes down to it this is a way to get more space on Intel boards if you get cheap enough drives to combine them into a single slot. The non switched cards for AMD based systems leave me with envy since they're cheaper $100 for a 4 slot. I suppose one could potentially hack the BIOS to make bifurcation an option.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,347
1,201
126
read/write speeds up to 3GB/s and 2.8GB/s for single-drives or 2.4GB/s and 1.42GB/s (per drive) for 2

$165 seems like a bit too much for those kind of speed limits. It's an X8 which is fine but, it should push higher bandwidth.

Looks like the Syba X8 linked above uses the same ASM chip for switching @ $180 so, you saved some money and didn't go bottom of the barrel for X4 speeds. It's always a balancing act when picking the right options though. If you don't triple check things sometimes you end up with an issue when you go to install it thinking it's going to do one thing and end up doing something different.

When it comes down to it this is a way to get more space on Intel boards if you get cheap enough drives to combine them into a single slot. The non switched cards for AMD based systems leave me with envy since they're cheaper $100 for a 4 slot. I suppose one could potentially hack the BIOS to make bifurcation an option.
"If you don't triple check things . . . ."

I hear that. I'm getting more careless these days. If the Startech card suits my needs, then I was just lucky.

Well -- the "spare--parts-rig-in-progress". I think I've got everything hooked up and the cables are routed neatly. I would've done more today, but I had my COVID 2nd booster yesterday, and I feel like a turd today.

Basically -- and this could seem trivial -- I need to cut about eight 2" x 12" pieces of foam-core artboard and fit them to the case to block off unwanted air exhaust. And I need to cut a 9" square piece of Lexan, cut the corners to make it an octogon (more or less), and shape it to a molded screen case vent with a heat gun.

Then I can fire it up. And hopefully, it won't be moved to the patio again for any additional tasks. I can put away my freaking tools and spare parts -- and clean up my mother-freaking room!
 

Hotrod2go

Member
Nov 17, 2021
152
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Think I hate about these tiny screws is just that... tiny!
Up comes the blu tack to make them stick to the end of the screwdriver to get them started. But just a little too much pressure & they flip out into the most awkward of crevices on the motherboard... :rolleyes:
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
15,347
1,201
126
Think I hate about these tiny screws is just that... tiny!
Up comes the blu tack to make them stick to the end of the screwdriver to get them started. But just a little too much pressure & they flip out into the most awkward of crevices on the motherboard... :rolleyes:
I'm just glad now that all the case-modding and component installations are done. My dual NVME PCIE card is just waiting to stick in the slot, and I've got two 2.5" spinners in hot swap bays that I will insert and lock in place now that the OS is installed.

I'm putting away my tools and parts-lockers for now. What happened to the rest of those screws I ordered for $5, I can only say which storage bin they're in right now. I'll sort through that stuff later.
 
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