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NVMe adapter?

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
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I've been using a 256gb Crucial SSD (Only 231gb for all practical purposes) for years and after Windows 10 takes its due, I only have enough space for about two games these days which is getting really frustrating. With prices crashing, I'm thinking of getting a Samsung 970 evo NVME drive somewhere between black friday and Christmas, possibly one terabyte. But the thing is, I have an old 1155 motherboard without a m.2 or NVME socket. I have two questions.

1) Would a NVME adapter work with my motherboard? https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/H77M/

and 2) Would an adapter nerf a NVME drive to sata 3 level SSD speeds, or could it have full performance?
 

VirtualLarry

Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
48,403
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I'm thinking of getting a Samsung 970 evo NVME drive
But the thing is, I have an old 1155 motherboard without a m.2 or NVME
Then DONT. You really want the NVMe as your boot / OS drive, and the only way that's going to work, is if the BIOS and mobo support booting off of it.

Just get a cheaper 1TB SATA6G 2.5" SSD, they've been as low as $110 lately. (Adata SU650, DRAM-less)

Most games don't need more than a decent 7200RPM HDD. Look into a larger Toshiba X300 drive. Maybe a 6TB to 8TB.
 

EXCellR8

Diamond Member
Sep 1, 2010
3,732
666
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Yea unless in the unlikely event that you can enable NVMe booting with a BIOS flash or something I'd just use a 2.5" SSD

I bought this one and used the same M.2 drive on an old ITX board and it's fine but I can't remember if it was supported out of the box.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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A couple of observations...

Your mainboard doesn't support booting from an NVMe drive. It does work fine as a data drive, so you have the option of keeping your current SSD, and just adding an NVMe drive for games.

The H77 chipset is however limited to DMI 2.0. The secondary x16 PCIe slot (really just PCIe 2.0 x4) runs of it, so under all circumstances you'll be limited to ~1600MB/s in sequential throughput. The issue is that every other peripheral (SATA, USB etc.) hangs off that link too, a 970EVO will saturate it completely. That could mean trouble during heavy loads.

In this case, I'd be inclined to recommend a high capacity SATA ssd instead. The 860EVO and MX500 both make good choices, I doubt very much if you'll ever notice a difference compared to a 970EVO.

Then DONT. You really want the NVMe as your boot / OS drive, and the only way that's going to work, is if the BIOS and mobo support booting off of it.
If Windows gets its own dedicated drive, it doesn't care too much whether its AHCI or NVMe. I doubt anyone would ever notice a difference. Compared to running from a HDD, that's something everyone will notice.
 
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Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
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ugh. I really need a new mobo/cpu ram combo with newer chipsets. But they're just all so gosh golly price gouged.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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Your mainboard doesn't support booting from an NVMe drive. It does work fine as a data drive, so you have the option of keeping your current SSD, and just adding an NVMe drive for games.
That is a good idea.

Other options would be buy a large capacity SATA SSD (to replace or add to your 256GB SATA SSD) and then use NVMe with Intel SRT or Romex Primocache.
 
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arandomguy

Senior member
Sep 3, 2013
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You might have an over estimation of how much performance gains you'd get from a NVMe drive vs SATA. NVMe drives primarily gain in terms of long sequential read/writes and to some extent higher queue depth work loads (won't happen as a consumer). How a lot of review sites primarily rely on basically synthetic test data to compare SSDs paints this misleading picture of how much "faster" they are.

SSDs load games much faster in a lot of cases compared to HDDs as they are several orders of magnitude faster in terms of latency and random read speeds. NVMe drives are at best the tens of percentage range in improvement. With that in mind also SSDs regardless improve I/O enough that other parts of the pipeline start to become relatively bigger in terms of affecting the overall load time.

You can see data from some sites which actually use some "load times" and see how miniscule the differences become -

https://techreport.com/review/33950/samsung-860-evo-1-tb-ssd-reviewed/5
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Crucial/P1_NVMe_M.2_SSD_1_TB/8.html
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Crucial/P1_NVMe_M.2_SSD_1_TB/13.html

Bestbuys USA's Black Friday flyer shows they will have a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO for $129.99 (likely means multiple other retailers will have this deal as well across the US). So ask yourself how much of a premium you think a NVME is worth it to you over that?

If you have the best of everything else already or a specific usage scenario then NVMe might be worth it. Otherwise I doubt it, it's those synthetics misleading people.

What would be an interesting exploration is if someone did test what affected things like loading times more. A faster SSD? A faster CPU? A faster GPU even? Faster memory? A dedicated SSD vs. single SSD?
 
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ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
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ugh. I really need a new mobo/cpu ram combo with newer chipsets. But they're just all so gosh golly price gouged.
I would go with the 2.5" SSD anyways. Then repurpose it later when you do a platform upgrade if you get a nvme drive then.
 

Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
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When that time comes which makes for a better boot drive? A sumsung evo nvme, or intel optane?
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
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When that time comes which makes for a better boot drive? A sumsung evo nvme, or intel optane?
Optane definitely. 4K random performance is awesome, which is just what you want in a boot drive. Downside is the capacity, you'll only get 58GB for the price of a 500GB EVO.
 

arandomguy

Senior member
Sep 3, 2013
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In theory 3d xpoint (the memory type used in Optane drives) could provide that jump in latency over NAND would result in significant (well at least somewhat measurable) gains over NAND (unlike NVMe vs SATA drives as both are still just NAND) in things like game loads. Especially so if it can be paired with a better future interface (NVMe is actually a limitation).

But currently the cost and capacity limitations for Intel Optane make it both a niche and huge luxury (you definitely are not going to get "value" from it) in the consumer space.
 

ch33zw1z

Lifer
Nov 4, 2004
29,141
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If you want room for games, nvme or ssd. I agree with above.

Who knows though, the longer you wait, the more likely optane could be an option.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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In theory 3d xpoint (the memory type used in Optane drives) could provide that jump in latency over NAND would result in significant (well at least somewhat measurable) gains over NAND (unlike NVMe vs SATA drives as both are still just NAND) in things like game loads. Especially so if it can be paired with a better future interface (NVMe is actually a limitation).

But currently the cost and capacity limitations for Intel Optane make it both a niche and huge luxury (you definitely are not going to get "value" from it) in the consumer space.
As I mentioned here I think what we need is Carson Beach Optane. (ie, affordable PCIe 3.0 x 4 Optane).

With affordable PCIe 3.0 x 4 Optane caching HDD (or SATA SSD) 3D TLC NVMe will probably look a lot less desirable.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
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Heck, most games load just fine off of a 7200RPM spinner.
That is basically true because consoles themselves are based on 2.5" 5400 rpm HDD.

However, if you look at the benchmarks in I linked in the previous post even the $42 32 GB Optane speeds up a 3.5" HDD by quite a bit.
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
12,968
221
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SSDs load games much faster in a lot of cases compared to HDDs as they are several orders of magnitude faster in terms of latency and random read speeds. NVMe drives are at best the tens of percentage range in improvement. With that in mind also SSDs regardless improve I/O enough that other parts of the pipeline start to become relatively bigger in terms of affecting the overall load time.

You can see data from some sites which actually use some "load times" and see how miniscule the differences become -

https://techreport.com/review/33950/samsung-860-evo-1-tb-ssd-reviewed/5
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Crucial/P1_NVMe_M.2_SSD_1_TB/8.html
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Crucial/P1_NVMe_M.2_SSD_1_TB/13.html
The results in the following video show a bigger separation between NAND based NVMe SSD and SATA SSD:


Samsung 960 EVO PCIe 3.0 x 4 NVMe M.2 SSD

Boot 6 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 11 seconds
Civilization VI 43 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 6 seconds
Z-zip 61 seconds

Crucial MX300 SATA 2.5" SSD

Boot 9 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 25 seconds
Civilization VI 53 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 11 seconds
Z-zip 251 seconds

WD Red Pro 4TB 3.5" 7200 rpm HDD

Boot 36 seconds
Call of Duty Infinite Warefare 53 seconds
Civilization VI 66 seconds
Premiere Pro CC 63 seconds
Z-zip 585 seconds
 

cbn

Lifer
Mar 27, 2009
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The following videos showed NAND based NVMe and SATA SSD either essentially the same or without much difference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIXSSOzyLbs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecCA0gx_eZk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdF_aerWcW8

The video below had some titles loading around the same time and a few titles having a larger difference (eg, Battlefield 1 was ~46 seconds on NVMe and ~50 seconds on SATA SSD, Hitman was ~12 seconds on NVMe and ~14 seconds on SATA SSD, Rainbow Six Seige 6.11 seconds on NVMe and 7.10 seconds on SATA SSD)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKv8cAaJgqs

P.S. Would be interesting to see how far Seagate's upcoming 480 MB/s Sequential Read multi-actuator drive is behind a SATA SSD? (Approximating via the RAID-0 HDD results below I think it would do fairly well.)


Samsung SSD 850 Pro 256GB: 30 seconds
2 x WD Black 4TB 7200 rpm RAID-0: 40 seconds
WD Black 4TB 7200 rpm: 48 seconds
Seagate Momentus 500GB 5400 rpm: 1 minute 42 seconds
 
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Sonikku

Lifer
Jun 23, 2005
15,363
3,455
136
Alright, my mother said she'll help me out with upgrading my system for Christmas. So rather than try to speed up my old 1155 socket system, I think I'm looking towards a nvme drive for a new platform that will have a Ultra m.2 nvme socket on it by default.
 

kjboughton

Senior member
Dec 19, 2007
330
117
116
Alright, my mother said she'll help me out with upgrading my system for Christmas. So rather than try to speed up my old 1155 socket system, I think I'm looking towards a nvme drive for a new platform that will have a Ultra m.2 nvme socket on it by default.
Great. Say hi to your mom for us.
 

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