Close

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 39
  1. #1

    Default Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Here's something that I'll bet some of the hardware wonks already know. I didn't know it though, so I thought it might be of use to someone else as well.

    Background: NVMe M.2 SSD drives are several times faster than SATA NVMe drives - which, in turn, are much faster than Winchester (spinning disk) drives. They come on a little chip and, on newer motherboards, there are one or two sockets right on the motherboard that they can be installed into. They're great. But, there are some apparent limitations. For one, on my motherboard, if I plug a second NVMe SSD into the second NVMe socket - it will compete with Thunderbolt, which I need for my RME converter. It has to do with the PCIe lanes that are being shared by the two functions that are hardwired to that second socket. I thought I was out of luck.

    But, recently, I discovered that there are add-on PCIe adapters that you can mount your NVMe SSD drive into, and subsequently plug into an unused PCIe expansion slot on your motherboard. You can choose a slot that uses PCIe lanes that you're not otherwise using. These days I have several of those. So, that way, you can overcome the issue caused by the second socket on the motherboard sharing with some other functionality. Or - for that matter - maybe you just want more NVMe drives than you have hardwired sockets for. You still have to carefully plan which lanes are free, of course.

    Anyway - I'm very happy to know this, although I haven't bought one yet. Maybe you will be too.

    Here's an example of one (although it may not be compatible with PCIe ver. 4...) even comes with an effective-looking heat sink:

    https://www.amazon.com/RIITOP-PCIe-N...xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Maple Ridge, BC Canada
    Posts
    2,765
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Hello,

    There are, if I understand things correctly, a number of potential issues with regards to NVMe M.2 SSD's.

    One that I just came across had to do with Bios boot loaders and security issues.

    If you use a PCI/e adapter, what speed with the NVMe M.2 SSD run at?
    * Make note of the "warnings"..."Please NOTE: 1. This M.2 PCIe adapter can Only Support M.2 PCI-e Based M Key Nvme SSD, DO NOT support PCI-e M Key AHCI SSD, SATA based B+M key or B Key SSD. 2."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Interesting. On my recent computer build the mobo has two M.2 SSD slots. I've populated them both and added a PCIe Thunderbolt 3 AIC (add-in card) with no issues, so far as I know. That said, I haven't pushed performance of the Thunderbolt bus, yet, so I guess we'll see.

    Or is it an either-works-or-it-doesn't kind of thing?

    BTW, I find myself wondering why anyone would want any more than an NVMe SSD or two. Why not go with SATA SSDs or even HDDs for any desired extra space? Does the increased speed really matter for anything but the boot drive?
    Last edited by Dave Labrecque; 02-18-2021 at 06:41 PM.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Stuck in FL for now...
    Posts
    2,679
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Interesting. On my recent computer build the mobo has two M.2 SSD slots. I've populated them both and added a PCIe Thunderbolt 3 AIC (add-in card) with no issues, so far as I know. That said, I haven't pushed performance of the Thunderbolt bus, yet, so I guess we'll see.

    Or is it an either-works-or-it-doesn't kind of thing?

    BTW, I find myself wondering why anyone would want any more than an NVMe SSD or two. Why not go with SATA SSDs or even HDDs for any desired extra space? Does the increased speed really matter for anything but the boot drive?
    Anything on the SSD will load faster and find things faster so, samples, virtual instruments, loading programs, searching will all be faster.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Quote Originally Posted by Microstudio View Post
    Anything on the SSD will load faster and find things faster so, samples, virtual instruments, loading programs, searching will all be faster.
    What do you mean by "load"? I'm talking about using such slower drives for non-boot-drive duties; so I'm assuming no program installs, etc.

    As for searching... is there really an appreciable difference if the drive's been indexed? I don't use the Windows search feature much, but I find using Everything to be really fast, regardless of drive type.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  6. #6

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Labrecque View Post
    Interesting. On my recent computer build the mobo has two M.2 SSD slots. I've populated them both and added a PCIe Thunderbolt 3 AIC (add-in card) with no issues, so far as I know. That said, I haven't pushed performance of the Thunderbolt bus, yet, so I guess we'll see.

    Or is it an either-works-or-it-doesn't kind of thing?

    BTW, I find myself wondering why anyone would want any more than an NVMe SSD or two. Why not go with SATA SSDs or even HDDs for any desired extra space? Does the increased speed really matter for anything but the boot drive?
    Dave, I presume that the sharing of PCIe resources is a motherboard-specific potential issue. That is - the second NVMe socket and Thunderbolt don't necessarily use the same lanes. That's just how they did it on my motherboard. I knew that by scouring the MB manual when I was putting it together. The manufacturer may well have decided that video was the place to allocate those resources. And, when I chose this board, there weren't very many PCs that came with Thunderbolt soldered in, rather than available from an expansion card. In my research at the time, those with expansion card NVMe seemed to have higher than average problems (although maybe they have resolved those during the past year and a half). So - I wanted soldered, and I took what was available at the time and then later discovered the lane sharing between the hard-wired Thunderbolt and that second NVMe socket in the one that I chose. I think it's at least possible that Thunderbolt is more popular now and thus moving up in the priority list for manufacturers. That is to say - maybe your motherboard does not have the same issue.

    Does lane sharing between NVMe and Thunderbolt present a problem? Your guess is as good as mine. But, in a tracking system, I have presumed that those two subsystems are the ones that are moving the most data. And you definitely don't want one to overrun their buffer while waiting on the other. So, my impression is, if at all possible, giving each as much dedicated bus access as possible is a worthy goal. Each NVMe drive uses up 4 PCIe lanes all by itself. So, I think it makes sense to at least attempt to allocate the available lanes to make the most of what you've got and avoid the potential of future, mysterious and unexpected, issues.

    In my opinion, having two drives that you use: one for OS and programs, and one for data, is the best approach. I can't imagine personally ever needing more than two, myself. Each of those sockets now can handle a multi-terrabyte drive - which I think of as an un-godly amount of storage space. Still - the last time we talked this through, an actual working engineer on this forum required a lot more storage space than that. So...

    Whether NVMe makes a difference, in terms of tracking... I really sort of doubt it. When you do the numbers there's a whole lot of slack left over regardless what you use anymore. Maybe with video it matters. But - independent of practicality, I like having fast storage. Faced with faster, or slower, I always choose faster when I can. It's a personality quirk. Probably left over from being a database programmer and waiting impatiently for batch processes to complete.

    Something else to watch out for: NVMe isn't just NVMe. There are two versions of it commonly being used now (ver 3 and 4). Version 4 is backward compatible. But, if you attempt to plug a ver. 4 NVMe drive into a ver. 3 NVMe socket - you'll be disappointed. Ver. 4 is hugely faster than ver. 3. Does that matter for tracking purposes? Not unless you attempt to plug a ver. 4 drive into a ver. 3 socket.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    1,274

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Its not a simple matter of multiple M.2 drives will conflict with other stuff, it depends specifically the motherboard configuration and chipset.

    As for speed. In order of classification from slowest to fastest.

    Mechanical drives
    SSD drives
    M.2 drives

    I can't think of any reason at this point to use Mechanical drives for a system disk. SSD or M.2 and M.2 is preferred from a performance standpoint.

    Storage drives are going to be a different beast and will depend on many factors

    Ease of replacement (drive swaps), capacity, etc.

    Mechanical drives while glacially slow compared to SSD's and M.2 still have an edge in cost per byte and max storage capacity.
    ---------------------------------------
    Philip G.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Quote Originally Posted by mr_es335 View Post
    Hello,

    There are, if I understand things correctly, a number of potential issues with regards to NVMe M.2 SSD's.

    One that I just came across had to do with Bios boot loaders and security issues.

    If you use a PCI/e adapter, what speed with the NVMe M.2 SSD run at?
    * Make note of the "warnings"..."Please NOTE: 1. This M.2 PCIe adapter can Only Support M.2 PCI-e Based M Key Nvme SSD, DO NOT support PCI-e M Key AHCI SSD, SATA based B+M key or B Key SSD. 2."
    Hi Dell. It's true. An even earlier version of drive-on-a chip-on-the-MB (AHCI SSD) used the SATA protocol - and those two are not compatible even though their sockets, at first glance, look like they should be. And AHCI is much slower than NVMe - albeit conveniently out of the way there on the MB.

    As for NVMe speed when using a PCIe adapter, as opposed to a MB socket, I believe that it is identical. In both cases, the goal is to integrate the chip onto the PCIe bus - and that is what expansion slots are using. That said - I haven't tried it myself yet - and so haven't tested either.

    Interesting that NVMe has a security vulnerability that other drive technologies do not.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Good insights, John. I think very much like you do, and I have no database experience.

    Now, to find out if my sockets and SSDs are ver. 3 or ver. 4... Any thoughts on how to suss that? Not that I'm going to do anything about it, but I like to know.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

  10. #10

    Default Re: Non-Motherboard NVMe Installation

    Quote Originally Posted by cgrafx View Post
    Its not a simple matter of multiple M.2 drives will conflict with other stuff, it depends specifically the motherboard configuration and chipset.

    As for speed. In order of classification from slowest to fastest.

    Mechanical drives
    SSD drives
    M.2 drives

    I can't think of any reason at this point to use Mechanical drives for a system disk. SSD or M.2 and M.2 is preferred from a performance standpoint.

    Storage drives are going to be a different beast and will depend on many factors

    Ease of replacement (drive swaps), capacity, etc.

    Mechanical drives while glacially slow compared to SSD's and M.2 still have an edge in cost per byte and max storage capacity.
    Nice overview. But by SSD I assume you mean SATA SSD, and by M.2 I assume you mean NVMe SSD. My understanding is that, for example, a SATA M.2 drive will perform no better than a 2.5" SATA SSD.
    Dave "it aint the heat, it's the humidity" Labrecque
    Becket, Massachusetts

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •