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Dual booting on two separate m.2 drives

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I'm so glad that i have read this thread before instal hackintosh. thanks Jay
 
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Sorry for bringing this thread up again.
I'm interested in JayMonkey's advice on running Clover BootLoader from a separate dedicated small SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition which would permanently be plugged in.

I'm trying in incorporate this method within the guide I'm reading into which has Clover booting from the EFI partition of the macos system disk itself like most guides I've read so far do.

So if I did setup Clover BootLoader to a permanent small SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition as suggested, would this mean that the EFI partition on my M.2 macos system disk would be left untouched\unmodified ??

Or in other words is there anything I need to do to my macos M.2 drive's EFI partition at all if I installed Clover Bootloader to a small dedicated SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition to be permanently attached as per JayMonkey's advice here??

Also if I choose a USB 2.0 flash drive instead of a small faster SSD drive, would this speed difference considerably affect my boot times or how nicely Clover BootLoader would work? Or would the difference be minimal?

Appreciate your time, thanx,
Ash.
 

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Sorry for bringing this thread up again.
I'm interested in JayMonkey's advice on running Clover BootLoader from a separate dedicated small SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition which would permanently be plugged in.

I'm trying in incorporate this method within the guide I'm reading into which has Clover booting from the EFI partition of the macos system disk itself like most guides I've read so far do.

So if I did setup Clover BootLoader to a permanent small SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition as suggested, would this mean that the EFI partition on my M.2 macos system disk would be left untouched\unmodified ??

Or in other words is there anything I need to do to my macos M.2 drive's EFI partition at all if I installed Clover Bootloader to a small dedicated SSD or USB flash drive's EFI partition to be permanently attached as per JayMonkey's advice here??

Also if I choose a USB 2.0 flash drive instead of a small faster SSD drive, would this speed difference considerably affect my boot times or how nicely Clover BootLoader would work? Or would the difference be minimal?

Appreciate your time, thanx,
Ash.
I would recommend a Sandisk Utra Fit USB3.1 16GB flash drive. Small dongle size is ideal if you are using it as a boot device on a laptop. When the Clover installer asks where you want to install it, select the flash drive instead of your SSD/HDD. Boot to UEFI/BIOS and make the flash your default by setting it as first in the BBS boot order.
I would copy the EFI folder on the flash to the EFI of the SSD as a backup (without installing Clover to the SSD that is all it will be - the drive will still not boot by itself).

You can find one here:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077Y149DL/?tag=tonymacx86com-20
or here:

for some reason Newegg does not carry the 16GB model, but the 32GB model is only a couple of dollars more.


You can copy the Clover install files, MultiBeast and any additional kexts to the main partition of the drive in case you need them again.
 
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Thanks for the reply & the link Going Bald. LOL you have a very nice username & excellent Keep Right sign.

So if doing it that way does that mean the EFI partition on my M.2 macos drive gets left untouched/unmodified ??

I would copy the EFI folder on the flash to the EFI of the SSD as a backup (without installing Clover to the SSD that is all it will be - the drive will still not boot by itself).

Does that mean theoretically if I unplugged my USB drive & manually booted the M.2 macOS drive from BIOS then it wouldn't work? M.2 drive won't boot by itself?? I think I misunderstood.

Again, thanx for your time,
Ash.
 

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Thanks for the reply & the link Going Bald. LOL you have a very nice username & excellent Keep Right sign.

So if doing it that way does that mean the EFI partition on my M.2 macos drive gets left untouched/unmodified ??



Does that mean theoretically if I unplugged my USB drive & manually booted the M.2 macOS drive from BIOS then it wouldn't work? M.2 drive won't boot by itself?? I think I misunderstood.

Again, thanx for your time,
Ash.
Correct - the EFI on the M.2 will not be touched and Clover will not be installed to the M.2.

Again, correct - if you remove the USB the system will not see the Mac OS drive as bootable since it will have no boot loader installed on it.
 
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Going Bald cheerz, appreciate it.

Thanx,
Ash.
 
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Hey, @jaymonkey ,

I’m gearing up for a new build (the old girl is starting to show her age), and I’d like to dual boot OS X and Win on m.2 drives as you have... but I have a couple of questions I wondered if you could help with...

1)It seems like in most cases, running two m.2 drives will disable 2-3 SATA ports. If you put clover on another SSD, that knocks out another SATA port. Trouble is: I’ve got around six drives in my current build (media gluttony, clone, time machine backup, etc etc...), and I don’t think I’d want fewer in the new build. Are the speed advantages of m.2 great enough to be worth the cost of potentially three SATA slots? I haven’t had the pleasure of using it yet.

2) It looks like your Z97 has way more than the typical six SATA ports. Does that help skirt the above issue and/or do your m.2 drives still eat up those SATA slots? And do you know of hackintosh friendly 1151 boards that also have those extra SATA slots? I’ve found a couple of boards, but they aren’t listed in the recommended hardware lists.

Thanks!
 

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Are the speed advantages of m.2 great enough to be worth the cost of potentially three SATA slots? I haven’t had the pleasure of using it yet.


@absurdio,

For NVMe M.2 SSD's I would say yes but only as a system drive, IE to run the OS from.

The SATA interface was originally designed for Hard Drives (spinning rust) and whilst it has gone through three iterations (SATA, SATA-II, SATA-III) the best it can do is around 600MB/s. I don't think there are any hard drives (at least in the desktop class) that can saturate the SATA-III specification.

SATA-III based SSD are a good and cheep step up the drive speed ladder but are limited to the SATA-III specification.

M.2 SSD's drives come in two flavours :-

SATA based M.2 SSD drives still use the same electrical SATA-III interface and are therefore limited in in both read and write speeds, but they use the M.2 physical interface which means the are small and compact compared to 2.5" SATA SSD's. These types of M.2 SSD tend to share a classic SATA-III physical port on the mother board so for each SATA-III based M.2 SSD you install, you will lose a classic SATA physical port.

NVMe M.2 SSD drives on the other hand have the ability to run at much higher read/write speeds as they have their own on-board PCIe interface which means they have way more bandwidth (3000MBs +) and do not share a classic SATA-III port. Using a NVMe M.2 SSD as a system drive is highly recommend. Your OS will boot quicker as will opening and closing programs resulting a fast responding system which will increase productivity and workflow.

It looks like your Z97 has way more than the typical six SATA ports. Does that help skirt the above issue and/or do your m.2 drives still eat up those SATA slots?


The ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 has two M.2 slots/ports, 10 SATA ports and one M-SATA port.

Six of the SATA ports are from the Intel Chipset and four are from a on-board Marvel SATA-III controller that is supported by MacOS. This allows me to run a lot of internal drives.

I use Two Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD, one for MacOS at 4xPCIe lanes and one for Windows 10 at 2xPci lanes via the PCH. I have a mix of spinning rust 3.5" hard drives and 2.5" SATA-III SSD's connected to the SATA ports. Some are used for specific task's and some are for data and/or archiving. So yes having lots of ports does make things a bit easer.

do you know of hackintosh friendly 1151 boards that also have those extra SATA slots? I’ve found a couple of boards, but they aren’t listed in the recommended hardware lists.


I haven't built a Skt 1151 system so cant recommend anything perosnally, have a look in our buyers guide. If you want extra features such as more SATA ports then you'll need to look at the higher end motherboards they cost more but give you more features.

At the time i bought my ASRock Z97 Extreme 6 it was one of the most expensive and full featured Z97 mother boards on the market (it was the first motherboard to have a 4xPCi Lane M.2 slot for NVMe SSD's), but it was money well spent as it's still a very capable system despite being quite old now .. it runs an all core overclock of 4.8Ghz on my 4790K and is super stable as it had one of the most advanced CPU VRM designs at the time.

Like all things in life you get what you pay for, if you just need the basics then buy a basic mother board that is good enough, if you want all the bells & whistles then you have to go up market and spend more money but that usually results in a longer lasting system.

Cheers
Jay
 
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Thanks so much, @jaymonkey! That's extremely helpful.

Originally I was looking at the Asus Maximus X Hero, but the specs delivered this troubling footnote:

When the M.2_1 Socket 3 is operating in SATA mode, SATA port 1 will be disabled. When the M.2_2 Socket 3 is operating in PCIEX4 mode, SATA port 5. 6 will be disabled.

I now (think that I) understand that, on this board, two NVMe drives would disable SATA ports 5 and 6. That's a bad trade-off for me. I'm now looking at some of the recommended Gigabyte boards that don't seem to have that issue. This one, for instance (listed in the CustoMac Pro recommendations), indicates that some of the PCIE slots share bandwidth (fine by me) but makes no disclaimers about two M.2 drives running in PCIe x4 mode. If I'm reading everything correctly, that'd let me use two NVMe drives as the OS drives (like this cool jaymonkey guy does) and still use the six SATA ports for my medley of SSDs and HDDs. Does that seem right to you?

[Edit: No, it seems I'm wrong. According to the manual, the second M.2 port (M2M) would still decommission SATA ports 4 and 5. The search continues.]

Even if I'm wrong, it seems like I might be able to add more SATA ports via a PCIE slot if I had to. Not ideal though.

As for spending wisely, you're absolutely right. I'm quietly delighted that my current ancient build is still alive and kicking. It works for most things, but its capacity for further upgrades is pretty much maxed out. Still, it was buying the parts I did that let it endure this long.

Thanks *very* much for taking the time to explain this stuff to me. I'm super grateful for the guidance, and I will almost certainly come back to you for more of it when i'm sitting on my floor surrounded by hardware and sobbing because I can't make anything work. :)
 
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@absurdio,

It's important to understand that there are two ways a m.2 slot can be implemented on a motherboard.

First there are m.2 slots that are directly interfaced to the CPU via the PCIe bus these types of m.2 slot are best used with NVMe SSD's and will not effect any SATA ports.

Then there are m.2 slots/ports that are attached to the PCH (Platfrom Controller Hub) these slots have to share bandwidth and address space with other device's that are attached to the PCH such as SATA ports, USB ports, Network interfaces ... etc ..

Most motherboards have a mix of m.2 slots, some will be directly connected to the CPU some will be connected via the PCH .. only m.2 slots connected via the PCH will have an effect on the other SATA ports.

You need to look in the manual and find out which m.2 slots are directly connected to the CPU via the PCIe bus and which are connected via the PCH.

Yes you can add more SATA ports and more m.2 slots via PCIe add in cards but unfortunately Intel Desktop CPU's only have 20 PCIe lanes so if you also want to run a GPU at x 16 lanes then options can be very limited, if your happy to run a GPU at x 8 lanes (which has around a 15% hit on performance ) then you have more options.

Cheers
Jay
 
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