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Discussion in 'Memory and Storage' started by cbn, Feb 5, 2017.
What PCIe add in cards can boot a NVMe M.2 SSD? (assuming the PC has the necessary BIOS, etc)
Here is one from Startech:
I also found one on ebay for $42.95 that had a fan and could hold two M.2 NVMe SSDs. (Not sure what to think of it though as it is an unbranded device)
Here is one that is pretty amazing:
The $31 KryoM.2 we have been discussing in this thread is a solid choice:
The fact that you can find multi-NVMe-M.2 PCIE cards like these -- appears to be x8 -- gives one pause. I like to finalize my computer builds. And I can always set aside some part for which I paid less than $30 to replace with something like that. A device like that would mean a complete shift in my storage strategy, although I'd still do SSD-caching for my slow SATA devices. For instance, if you could RAID the drives on that device -- I assume that's what it's primarily intended for -- then cache to RAM, you could double your RAM size, pull the switch on StarTrek WARP drive, and disappear into the black hole of your virtual reali-titty.
Thanks, this does look very interesting:
It is actually a PCIe x16 device that can raid all four drives.....but I found out it cannot boot with all the drives in RAID:
To use as a boot device...... one of the drives must not be in RAID, so a person (as an example) could have 1 M.2 NVMe as boot and 3 M.2 NVMe in RAID 0.
That is not the question. An add-in adaptor card has zero to do with being able to boot from a device. That is entirely down to UEFI* support, and any OROM present on the device you're trying to boot.
An adaptor will not magically allow you to boot an NVMe SSD on a system without NVMe support in UEFI, and any PCIe-to-M.2 adaptor will allow you to boot on a system with NVMe support. It is simply a passive electrical adaptor.
*No legacy BIOS to my knowledge is able to boot from an NVMe device.
Dell also makes a quad M.2 adapter card (with fan):
However, notice the info at the bottom of the article:
Maybe it's too early in the game. These are devices from OEMs, maybe limited in their applicability, but promising for what isn't yet on the market.
Even so. Looking at the benchmarks in the review (north of 5,000 MB/s sequential read), maybe you get four times the single NVMe storage space, and only about 60% faster than a single 960 Pro NVMe M.2/PCIEx4. That's good, but only "so" good if you see this as an optimization constrained by money, slightly more complexity, and just simple practical need.
Suppose you get something like this in RAID0 of 4x 1TB 960 Pros, or between 2 a 4x 2TB 960 Pros? If you can run a spinner through SSD-cache and RAM-cache, you'd have spent less than $100.
I can see how a single M.2 boot with 3x RAID0 might work: you could mount the RAID0 in a folder of the M.2 boot drive.
I suppose we should keep an eye on cards like these, even so.
That sort of answers a question of mine, whether I would be able to install an NVMe M.2 SSD into my DeskMini PCs, and install Win10 in non-UEFI boot mode. Guess not. So I should stick my AHCI M.2 SSDs in there instead, and then I could potentially legacy boot off of one.
Don't rightly know about that. I was talking about real legacy BIOS, not the BIOS interpreter in UEFI. I would assume you'd be able to (legacy) boot from anything the BIOS can see, but you might run into driver issues with NVMe.
I haven't tried, but could you post back if you can get it to work? That would be useful knowledge.
Here is an article from Serve the Home on adding a 2.5" NVMe drive to a system via adapter cards:
And here is one from Startech:
And one from Funtin that mounts the 2.5" drive directly to the card:
Startech actually makes some pretty nice adapters IMHO, have a couple in my main rig for even using an old PCI soundcard on a MOBO that has all PCIE slots.
You can do some interesting things with a lot of their items, if you're careful and make sure you get what you need.
They make pretty good adapters for backwards compatabilty, you just have to know what you are looking for a lot of the time.
Vantec is pretty decent also, bought one of these long ago for a Sata3 adapter for a couple SSD's for the OS.
Perhaps they might have something you are looking for.
Asus Hyper m.2 x4
Plextor has an option for a AIC (with heatsink) for its M8Pe NVMe SSD:
From what I know startech and like brands will not get you the full speed of your ssd if it is a top one. It is like the issue with the marvell controller on some mobos. Only good branded controllers like from LSI will get you to full speed. Just wanted to point this out.
This is a delayed reply, but since I stumbled on this thread from Google, I wanted to sign up and add something to what you said in case other people find this too.
You are correct that you need a compatible UEFI or Option ROM for a legacy BIOS to be able to boot from an NVMe card. I went through this adding an NVMe card to my HP Z800-based workstation build. It uses dual Xeon LGA1366 chips and only has a legacy BIOS, SATA II, and PCI Express 2.0, so no new features for me.... just raw electric-sucking power.
However, I did find a card that will boot on my system - the Kingston HyperX Predator w/ HHHL Adapter (SHPM2280P2H/240G). It uses an Option ROM as my legacy BIOS will show it in my list of disk drives to select from.
The only thing I am not sure about is if the M.2 card itself has the legacy OROM, or if its in the adapter card. I am tempted to get another card and try it in the adapter and see what happens. If I do, I will report back.
You're welcome. I'm actually very familiar with the HyperX PCIe, having used one in my Z77 system for a few years. It is a pretty decent drive, if NVMe support isn't available. But therein lies the catch. It's "only" an AHCI drive, which means you'll lose out on some of the new features of NVMe, and a bit of performance.
BTW it's the M.2 drive that contains the OROM, not the adaptor card. The OROM itself simply works by presenting the drive to the BIOS as an additional bootable SATA controller, with a single connected drive. You can check this out with HWiNFO f.x.
Ah good to know. Thanks for the update.
I have had extremely good success modifying the BIOS on many LGA1155 boards with several different chipsets on them. Im pretty sure anything with a native UEFI (From AMI) has M.2/NVMe support, without much effort.
I see several people bringing up single PCIe slot-to-multiple m.2 drive adapters here, yet (as was mentioned above) lane splitting/bifurcation is AFAIK not supported on pretty much any motherboard outside of the server and enterprise markets. As such, it wouldn't matter what the adapter was or whether the slot was x4 or x8, as only the drive connected to the first four lanes of the slot would have any chance of working (unless the adapter had an on-board switch, which a $40 device won't have). Then again, it might not work at all due to IRQ conflicts and other issues stemming from attempting to connect two x4 devices to eight lanes grouped together.
Not sure if this one boots when in RAID-0 (HP Z turbo quad pro in post #3 cannot do this, see post #8), but it runs 7,200 MB/s according to the following article:
P.S. See quoted info at the bottom of post #10 for a possible explanation on why this device is limited only to MSI's pre-builts.
And some interesting info on Intel's vROC I found in the above article:
Intel vROC mentioned further in the following Article:
Add a second card (with 4 NVMe M.2 SSDs) and now the system would be able to boot eight total NVMe SSDs.
Unfortunately the article mentions multiple catches: