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Full NVMe support possible for older Intel Chipsets!

Fernando 1

Senior member
Jul 29, 2012
331
0
76
As you probably know, the mainboard manufacturers offer only for the newest Intel Chipsets (Z97 and X99) BIOSes, which include full NVMe support. That means, that older Intel Chipset systems like Z68 and Z77 natively are not able to boot into NVMe-SSDs like the Intel 750 Series or the Samsung SM951.
Today I found a method how to get full NVMe support even with an Intel 6-Series Chipset system. Using my old ASUS P8Z68-V mainboard I was able to successfully boot directly into Win10 x64 TP, which had been installed onto a PCIe connected Intel 750 SSD.
All I had to do was to add the required NVMe modules into the mainboard BIOS.
Users, who are interested in the exact method, can find my report >here<.
What I do not yet know is,
a) if this method will work with all Intel 6- and 7-Seres Chipset Desktop systems and
b) which special NVMe BIOS modules have to be inserted into the BIOS of different mainboards models.
 

Minerva

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 1999
2,105
2
81
What kind of throughput and random i/o are you getting?

I have an Asus Rampage Extreme V here with the PCI-E card version (1.2TB) and get 1.4/2.7GB/S W/R sequential. ~4100 AS-SSD, 13K Anvil. Very impressed by the performance of the June 01 Intel NVME driver.

Bad news is it does not "feel" any faster than a single 850 Pro 1TB.
Matter of fact booting up and shutting down on the 850 is faster.
There's delays similar to having a (SCSI/etc.) card in the system when using the 750 probably due to the way its drivers are loading and the clearing of caches, etc. on shutdown.

But for the right job load it would fly that's for sure.
 

zir_blazer

Senior member
Jun 6, 2013
888
29
91
As far that I know, there are several ways that you can use to load UEFI Drivers. One of them is having the UEFI Drivers integrated in the Firmware, which is what you did, but they may also be loaded as files from a disk's EFI System Partition. A previous idea I had was that you could format an USB Flash Drive in GPT with an ESP containing the NVMe Driver EFI executable, which could be loaded by UEFI, so it can provide NVMe support on older platforms. However, I don't recall anyone testing that way. Not even close as good as integrating them, but if it fails, it may also be worth a try.


Also, are you THIS Fernando? This is totally unrelated, but do you follow the QEMU emulator? One of its features is that it can emulate a Q35 Chipset which has an AHCI Controller, however, I don't know if they're emulating the ICH9 Southbridge or the ICH9R one, since supposedly the plain ICH9 doesn't support AHCI unless you use the modified INF files. I was thinking that I could try slipstreaming these Drivers into a WXP ISO so I can try the AHCI Controller.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
4,689
292
126
www.bradlygsmith.org
I'm not savvy enough to play around with my BIOS, but if you have PCIe 3.0 this drive screams as a programs/data/VM/cache/game drive. Who needs to boot to it? An SATA SSD can handle that and not waste space for an OS on such a precious drive like the 750.
 

Fernando 1

Senior member
Jul 29, 2012
331
0
76
There are good news for users with an "older" Intel Chipset mainboard from 6-Series up, who want to get full NVMe support for their system:
With the help of the Clover Team at InsanelyMac we found recently a universally usable EFI BIOS module, which enables the ability to boot off an NVMe SSD for natively not supported mainboards like the Z68 or Z77 Chipset ones.

Here are the benchmark results I got with my Z68 system running 3 different NVMe SSDs after having inserted the related module into the BIOS:

1. 400 GB Intel 750 NVMe:


2. 256 GB Samsung 950 Pro NVMe SSD (connected via M.2>PCIe Adapter):


3. 256 GB Samsung SM951 NVMe SSD (connected via M.2>PCIe Adapter):


Users, who want to know where to get the required module and how to get it inserted into the BIOS, should look >here<.
 
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Shmee

Memory and Storage, Graphics Cards
Super Moderator
Sep 13, 2008
4,038
338
126
This is really good news! Thanks.
 

Smoblikat

Diamond Member
Nov 19, 2011
5,185
107
106
Hello, im trying to get NVME support on my ASRock Z77 Extreme11. Im following this guide:
http://www.overclock.net/t/1571271/tutorial-how-to-add-nvme-support-on-any-ami-uefi-bios-with-an-intel-chipset

and I have extracted the proper modules from both a Z97 extreme6 and an extreme9, and every time I try to insert the files into my Z77 BIOS I get a "file size exceeds volume size" error. Any idea why im getting it, and how to fix it?

EDIT - Just tried the Nvme files from a Z87 Exreme11 a/c, they didnt work either. Im definitely doing somthing wrong, but I dont know what.....

EDIT EDIT - Started new thread: https://forums.anandtech.com/threads/trying-to-enable-nvme-on-z77-board.2497134/
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,033
750
126
I look at things in stages or phases when I build and begin to use a system.

Build it, test it, overclock it, test it until it is rock-solid.

At some point in this "testing," you begin to add software beyond the OS and testing programs. You begin to define a storage strategy.

Pretty soon, you're relying on the system for practical things, even if it took you a span of 3 or 4 months to get to that point.

And I'm not going to modify a BIOS on my long-established Z68's until I order some replacement PLCC BIOS chips with the versions I want, in case something goes wrong.

I'm interested in confirmation of something bradly1101 said. It was never quite clear to me that the issue was simply a matter of whether you could boot from an NVMe drive, or that you simply couldn't use it. But bradly1101 suggests that it would be fine as a non-bootable SSD, and that the PCI-E 3.0 guarantees full performance.

IF that's true, my only problem would then be the fact that my Sandy processors only provide PCI-E 2.0. Yet I have an Ivy in a system with a Z77 board, but there is only a single PCIE 3.0 slot, now used by the graphics card. Then again, as far as the user (my brother upstairs) is concerned, I could switch to the onboard Intel graphics, pull the GeForce, and put the M.2/PCIE card in the PCIE 3.0 slot.
 

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