NVME PCI-E add in cards ?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by eastmen, Sep 25, 2020.

  1. eastmen

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    So I have filled up my two m.2 slots with an m.2 nvme and m.2 sata drive as that is the max they can take.

    I want more storage space and I'm thinking about a 2TB sata ssd as they are about $180. However i am told there are PCI-E NVme add in cards.

    Anyone have any experience with these ?
     
  2. manux

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  3. BRiT

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    Did you look at this one mentioned in the other thread? Seems like you can find them reduced on eBay or even half price on Amazon Warehouse.


     
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  4. eastmen

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    thanks for the info going to look into it
    ouch thats almost the price of a 2tb sata ssd unlesss i'm missing something. I looked on ebay and amazon warehouse
     
  5. BRiT

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    Yeah, it's a bit pricey but it's PCIe 4.0, with proper cooling, and provides for 4 expansions. That's not bad at $150 new but better price at $80 refub. That was mostly to show what the upper end provides. I'm sure there are other models out there with less slots, like if you only want more storage and not speed you can probably find last-gen PCIe 3.0 cards with only 2 slots for far less.

    Amazon -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B082DZ8HLT/ref=dp_olp_ALL_mbc?ie=UTF8&condition=ALL
    Ebay is around $70-$80 for some BuyItNow for used - https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gigabyte-A...993422&hash=item342d716b7c:g:c4cAAOSwQdJfJBh- or https://www.ebay.com/itm/GIGABYTE-A...961861?hash=item3da9741405:g:vU8AAOSwv-Ze49Rg
     
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  6. pcchen

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  7. DmitryKo

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    Yes, there's ASUS Hyper M.2 x16 Gen4 add-on card which currently goes for $70 on Amazon and $100 on NewEgg,

    Chinese JEYI iHyper-Pro PCI-E M.2 X16 card is $30 on AliExpress, though it's only rated for PCIe Gen3; a version without the cooling fan/radiator assembly is $32 on Amazon and $30 on NewEgg.

    However to use 2 or more M.2 M-Key NVMe connectors on these 4-way cards, you'd need a high-end CPU/motherboard where the extra PCIe x16 slots have at least 8 lanes and support PCIe bifurcation.


    There are also cheaper Chinese cards that support PCIe Gen3 and come with a single M.2 M-Key NVMe connector in PCIe x4 and x16 form-factors.
    https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100168119 600022030
    https://aliexpress.com/wholesale?SearchText=M.2+nvme+pcie+card
    https://jeyi.aliexpress.com/store/group/M-2-NVME/710516_514617105.html
    etc.


    All these these cards would work just like your regular M.2 M-Key NVMe slots on the motherboard - in fact you can even use them to upgrade old desktop systems with no M.2 slots, though you'd have to mod the UEFI BIOS to include a NVMe driver, or use a bootable flash drive with a ED2K-based UEFI emulator.


     
    #7 DmitryKo, Sep 26, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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  8. eastmen

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I have an older board that i bought with my 1700x 3 years ago so I might just buy a sata ssd and wait till I upgrade when AMD supports ddr 5 in the next year or so. I do have an nvme 3x ssd already so i can put games that can take advantage of speed on that and just load up my older stuff on the sata drives.

    I've given my set up before but I have a 237gig ssd that has windows and office and stuff like that on it. It has 18 gigs free. I have a D drive that I use for older games and i have a 128gigs of it set aside for a swap file that is 700gigs . I have a 1TB m.2 sata drive , a 500gig ssd that i have stuff like apex and other stuff and then I have a 1tb nvme 3x wd black that i have star citizen on and vr games and other newer games.

    I want to ditch my 256 and put windows on the 500 gig drive , continue using the 700gig as it is and use the 2TB drive for data and game storage. the 256gig drive is also 6 years old now
     
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  9. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    Hey, what mobo you got Eastman? I got a cheapy ASRock B450 Pro4 when I got my 1600, been loving it. The board has been surprisingly excellent, my 1600 has been at 3.9GHz since I got it pretty much and I got an 256GB SATA SSD for the system drive and 5 HDDs for fun and 'cause I ain't rich. :)

    I'm not gonna worry about SSD speeds until I upgrade my CPU, and I'm sort of like you waiting for DDR5 or else just for a cheapy better Zen to come up for sale sometime when they're clearing backstock. I feel very glad I got the B450, can still upgrade to pretty much anything.
     
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  10. DmitryKo

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    @eastmen, what is your motherboard model?

    I would avoid using SATA SSDs for a Windows system disk. The OS comes in several hundred thousands small files, and NVMe drives have vastly better random access performance. NVMe disk in a second PCIe x16 slot would offer at least 3 Gbyte/s transfer rate versus ~550 Mbyte/s for SATA drive, and at least 5 times better IOPS perfromance. Even mid-range PCIe 4.0 SSDs like A-DATA XPG S50 Lite should perform quite well in older PCIe 3.0 slots.

    There are PCIe add-on cards with both NVMe M.2 (M-Key) and SATA M.2 (B-key) slots - the latter only uses PCIe pins for power, and connects to the SATA ports on the motherboard with a standard SATA cable.



    If you don't want to install a PCIe add-on card, there are external NVMe M.2 enclosures with USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbit/s) interface; these use JMicron JMS583, ASMedia AS2362, or Realtek RTL9210 chips, and go for about $30 on NewEgg and $25 on Aliexpress. They would top at ~900 Mbyte/s in real-world tests and they use standard USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) that works with any OS or device which has compliant class drivers.

    You can install the new NVMe disk in the USB enclosure, configure partition layout with DiskPart according to WADK guidelines, then use free partitioning utilities like Paragon Partition Manager to copy your OS and data partitions. You will need to configure Windows Boot Manager's BCD store with BCDBoot or BCDEdit and prepare the Windows Recovery Environment partition so it could be enabled with ReAgentC on first boot. Once done, you can swap the disks, and your old SSD would become a fast external spare drive. FYI you can even boot Windows from this external USB SSD.
     
    #10 DmitryKo, Sep 26, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020
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  11. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
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    So switching from an SATA SSD to an NVMe M.2 for my system drive wouldn't be a stupid? (I'd toss my SATA SSD in my wife's rig, she still has only a HDD)

    Also, being a bit of a scaredy-cat who's never done it, how hard is it to transfer your current OS to a new drive? I don't mind reinstalling windows on my PC, but my wife would get pissed if I did a fresh install on hers.
     
  12. DmitryKo

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    @digitalwanderer, there is visible difference between NVMe and SATA, though it's most noticeable when you perform heavy maintenance tasks like installing new Insider Preview builds and removing previous versions with cleanmgr.


    It's easy to copy your data by hand if you're comfortable with using command-line window (right-click on the Start button, choose Windows PowerShell (Admin) and run cmd).
    You won't need to reinstall anything, you just have to follow Microsoft WADK documentation for the partition layout, which is part of OEM deployment guidelines on Microsoft Docs (formerly TechNet).

    You will run the utilities from your original OS on the old disk, so if the new disk does not boot up, you can always return to the old OS (alternatively, you can boot Windows Setup from a flash drive and start the command console with Shift-F10 and fix the BCD store).


    Start by creating the recommended GPT UEFI partition layout on the new disk. You can run DiskPart and enter commands as specified in the example DiskPart script (note that clean command immediately creates a MSR partition at the start in Windows 1803 or later - you will have to delete it manually).
    You can also use free partitioning software (mentioned below) to achieve the same effect.

    You should end up with a 100 MByte EFI System Partition (drive S:) and a 16 MByte MSR partition (no drive letter) at the start of the disk, Windows data partition (drive W:) in the middle, and a 650 MByte recovery partition (drive R:) at the end.

    You will need free partitioning software like Paragon Partition Manager to copy your Windows data partition to the new disk - delete partition W: on the new disk, copy your existing Windows partition to the resulting empty space (the partition will be automatically resized to match your new disk), and reassign letter W: to the newly copied partition. Press Apply to commit the changes and wait until the batch proceess is finished.

    You will also have to create bootable ISO media using uupdump or similar tools to setup the recovery partition (it is also a good idea to make a bootable flash drive using rufus in case you'd need a working recovery environment).


    Then follow the instructions below to enable the Windows Boot Manager and the recovery partition.

    First, run BCDBoot to create the BCD store from the default template (drive letters as mapped by the DiskPart script above):

    bcdboot W:\Windows /s S: /f UEFI

    This will copy Windows Boot Manager files from your Windows system folder to the new EFI system partition and configure the BCD store to boot from the \Windows folder on the new disk. (Your new disk is bootable at this stage, but you need to take extra few steps before you switch to the new OS.)


    To setup the Windows Recovery Environment, you will need to create \Recovery\WindowsRE folder on drive R: and copy the recovery image winre.wim and the default ReAgent.xml to that folder - you can extract these files from \Windows\System32\Recovery\ folder inside install.wim on the setup ISO media; the WIM image could also be already present in your \%WINDIR%\System32\Recovery\ folder.

    Mount the ISO file in File Explorer, then use the free 7-Zip file archiver tool to open install.wim and extract winre.wim and ReAgent.xml to R:\Recovery\WindowsRE
    (Alternatively, see this Microsoft blog post for a step-by-step guide on extracting the recovery image with the DISM tool, but that method is much, much slower).


    To enable the recovery partition, boot Windows from the new disk (FYI you can even do it from an external USB enclosure). Select your new SSD in your UEFI BIOS boot settings - it would show as "Windows Boot Manager (<manufacturer - model code>)".
    Run DiskPart and assign letter R: to the recovery partition, and run ReAgentC to create the BCD entries:

    reagentc /setreimage /path R:\Recovery\WindowsRE /target C:\Windows
    reagentc /enable
    reagentc /info


    Finally, remove drive letter assignment on the Windows Recovery partition with DiskPart.


    PS.
    Personally, I prefer to copy the EFI system partition and the Windows Recovery partition to a new disk, assign the drive letters in DiskPart ( S: EFI System, W: Windows data, R: Windows Recovery), then use BCDEdit commands to manually fix partition and volume designators for device, osdevice, filedevice, ramdisksdidevice etc. identifiers in the new BCD store (each GPT partition is assigned a globally unique identifier (GUID), so all pointers will be broken after disk copy):
    bcdedit /enum all
    bcdedit /store S:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD /enum all
    bcdedit /store S:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD /set {bootmgr} device partition=S:
    bcdedit /store S:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD /set {default} device partition=W:
    bcdedit /store S:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD /set {default} osdevice partition=W:
    bcdedit /store S:\EFI\Microsoft\Boot\BCD /set {memdiag} device partition=S:

    etc.
     
    #12 DmitryKo, Sep 27, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  13. eastmen

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  14. DmitryKo

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    Well, then you cannot use an M.2 add-on card, since the second PCIe x16 slot is disabled when you use the 'Ultra M.2' NVMe slot.

    You can still use an external NVMe-USB enclosure to copy your current NVMe system disk to a new one.
     
    #14 DmitryKo, Sep 27, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  15. Davros

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    you can get clone tools that make if fairly idiot proof like EaseUS Todo Backup or Macrium Reflect ect
     
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  16. DmitryKo

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    While you can just clone the entire disk, you'd miss the opportunity to organize disk partitions as recommended by Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (Windows ADK) - this reqiures resizing the Windows partition, so having a backup on the old disk will be handy.


    Before Manganese / Iron Insider Preview, Windows 10 Setup followed old Windows 7/8 partitioning rules where the recovery partition is at the immediate start of the disk, not the new layout recommended by Windows 10 ADK where recovery partition is at the end of the disk, even if you've cleaned the disk during install. You could only get the new layout by getting a new PC with Windows preinstalled.

    However Windows 10 Setup actually requires the new layout in order to update the Windows Recovery image winre.wim to the latest version - this may require resizing the recovery partition but it cannot be done with the old layout, so a new recovery partition would be created.
    As a consequence, you could end up with unnecessary OEM Recovery partitions and/or multiple Windows Recovery partitions from old OS versions, which could interfere with proper configuration of the recovery image.


    Also this would be the opportunity to non-destructively switch from MBR to GPT partition layout, if you haven't done so already. This is required for UEFI boot from NVMe disks. While there is an automated MBR2GPT tool in recent Windows 10 versions, it won't repartition your SSD according to the WADK-recommended layout.
     
    #16 DmitryKo, Sep 27, 2020
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2020
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  17. Davros

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    While you can use the diskpart script you read the following line
    "rem ** NOTE: For Advanced Format 4Kn drives, rem change this value to size = 260 **"
    and have to abandon it because you have no idea what the hell a 4Kn drive is
    then you'd get to this part "rem ** Update this size to match the size of rem the recovery tools (winre.wim) rem plus some free space."
    and say to yourself "what recovery tools" the script doesnt tell me where to get them I have no winre.wim file on my p.c
    then you'd read this "update the push-button recovery script" what the hell is a push-button recovery script.
    then youd read
    "Use a deployment script to apply the Windows images on the newly created partitions. For more information, see Capture and Apply Windows, System, and Recovery Partitions."
    what you mean theres more stuff I have to do.....
    DmitryKo we are not rocket scientists you know :D
    Do you really think the man who does this
    [​IMG]
    will be able to follow those instructions :D
     
    #17 Davros, Sep 27, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2020
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  18. DmitryKo

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    Recovery partition needs to be at least 650 Mbytes to accomodate latest winre.wim - this is handled in the DiskPart script by shrinking the Windows partition by a minimum of 650 Mbytes.
    It can be resized as necessary by Windows 10 Setup, Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant, or Windows Update flighting as you upgrade to a new OS build/version, provided that you use WADK-recommended parition layout with recovery partition at the end of the disk.

    I have updated my post above to add these details.

    "4K Native" hard disks are formatted with 4 Kbyte sectors - ignore this part, it only applies to datacenter-class HDDs.
    Push-button reset is a new factory reset mode in Windows 10 that preserves user data and OEM applications, using customized Windows setup files in a hidden partition. Ignore it since it's not intended for retail installs where you have the original setup media in the box, or can download it directly from Microsoft servers.
    Deployment scripts are intended for mass OEM deployment to multiple identical computers, so you can ignore this part as well.
    You only need those parts of the Windows ADK documentation that describe disk partition layout.
     
    #18 DmitryKo, Sep 27, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  19. Davros

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    Your placing a lot of faith in our abilities you have no idea how scary that looks to the average person
    We've all been guilty of it I once spent ages trying to diagnose a non working bios password over the phone because it never occurred to me that the user didnt realise that after typing in a password you need to press the ENTER key
     
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  20. BRiT

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    The average person isn't reading B3D.
     
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