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Dual booting on two separate m.2 drives

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Going Bald

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@absurdio,

I have yet to see a commercial board with more than one true PCIe NVMe slot. If the board has additional M.2 slots, they are all, as jay monkey says, controlled off of the PCH and will disable at least one SATA port. Suggest if you want to have additional NVMe fast SSDs, get a PCIex4 to NVMe slot adapter and install it in a spare PCIe slot. If you wind up using the second PCIex16 slot and the UEFI allows you can then set that slot for x4 operation. Note that for each additional PCIe lane you use for drives you will decrease the lanes available to your graphics card in multiple of 4 - i.e. you have 20 lanes and 3 NVMe drives x 4 lanes each leaves you only 8 lanes for the GPU. This may or may not matter to you in the normal course of usage if you need the transfer rate of the NVMe SSD more than you need the faster GPU.
 
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Correct - the EFI on the M.2 will not be touched and Clover will not be installed to the M.2.
Sorry just trying to wrap my head around this for good. Was away for a bit.

When installing Clover boot loader on my flash drive EFI rather than M.2's EFI, does that mean EVEN the drivers & kexts etc don't get installed on the M.2 ?? But instead they're loaded/injected on every boot when choosing MACOSX from Flash drive's Clover bootloader screen?

Also will there be a noticeable difference in Clover boot loader performance when running it from say a mini SSD SATA III compared to a normal USB 2.0 Flash\thumb drive or USB 3.0 etc. I have a full PC not laptop.

Going to start following guide tomorrow.

Thanks.
 

Going Bald

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Sorry just trying to wrap my head around this for good. Was away for a bit.

When installing Clover boot loader on my flash drive EFI rather than M.2's EFI, does that mean EVEN the drivers & kexts etc don't get installed on the M.2 ?? But instead they're loaded/injected on every boot when choosing MACOSX from Flash drive's Clover bootloader screen?

Also will there be a noticeable difference in Clover boot loader performance when running it from say a mini SSD SATA III compared to a normal USB 2.0 Flash\thumb drive or USB 3.0 etc. I have a full PC not laptop.

Going to start following guide tomorrow.

Thanks.
If you select the flash drive to install Clover, everything Clover installs will go to the flash drive - nothing gets put on the M.2 drive by the Clover installer.
You may notice a second or two longer boot times using the flash drive as opposed to the mini SSD connected to a SATA III port.
 
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Thanks, @Going Bald! I'm still imperfectly wrapping my head around this stuff, but my research so far corroborates what you said: every board seems to trade something for m.2 slots beyond the first one.

I've made a little table of the recommended Gigabyte boards after checking all their manuals, and so far the best option seems to be this: The Aorus Ultra and Master both have three m.2 slots, and, while one of those slots would gobble up SATA ports 4 and 5, it seems like you can still use the other two without kneecapping your SATA expansion. The manual for those notes

The PCIEX4 slot shares bandwidth with the M2P connector. The PCIEX4 slot operates at up to x2 mode when a PCIe SSD is installed in the M2P connector.

So I gather that if you're only using two M.2 slots and you're not using the PCIEX4 slot, you can use two m.2 drives and still use all six SATA ports normally.
 
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I did end up with the Aorus Master, and I do indeed have Win 10 and Catalina dual booting successfully. (I swear I'll update my profile to reflect this new setup...).

But a question for @jaymonkey: I followed your advice re: keeping the EFI on a separate small SATA drive. But would it be a very stupid idea to keep the EFI on a small, permanently inserted, USB drive instead? The main advantage for me would be liberating an extra SATA port. And because of the way my case is set up, there wouldn't be any aesthetic downside to having a USB drive always plugged in. Thoughts? Thanks again for your help!

Edit: Holy **** is this exactly what @HashAsh was asking above? Am I a moron? Sorry.
 
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I did end up with the Aorus Master, and I do indeed have Win 10 and Catalina dual booting successfully. (I swear I'll update my profile to reflect this new setup...).

But a question for @jaymonkey: I followed your advice re: keeping the EFI on a separate small SATA drive. But would it be a very stupid idea to keep the EFI on a small, permanently inserted, USB drive instead? The main advantage for me would be liberating an extra SATA port. And because of the way my case is set up, there wouldn't be any aesthetic downside to having a USB drive always plugged in. Thoughts? Thanks again for your help!

Edit: Holy **** is this exactly what @HashAsh was asking above? Am I a moron? Sorry.
I’m sure that will work fine with Clover on USB stick, it’s been done.
 
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@lentife,

I have two Nvme drives on my main video edit (White Knight) Build ... 2 x Samsung Evo 960 NVMe SSD's High Sierra on one, Windows 10 on the other .... rather than use a EFI partition on one of the NVMe drives for Clover i bought a 8GB SATA SSD for just a few pounds ... similar to this one:-

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SANDISK-...654959?hash=item2aa722146f:g:Iy0AAOSwNkxa3aCr

Its 8GB but 4GB or even 2GB will do just fine. I formatted it as GTP and installed Clover on to the EFI partition on that and configured the BIOS to boot form it.

The advantage is that if anything ever happens to your OSX or Clover configuration its easy to remove and and play with on anther machine ... in my case i usually connect it to my laptop using a USB to SATA adapter Y cable ....

You can use the rest of the 8GB drive as an installer and recovery drive or just a small data drive ...

This method has saved me several times in the past ... these days now that HS supports 3rd party NVMe drives its not so important but if you have spare/unused SATA controller i think booting the system from a small capacity dedicated boot SDD makes good sense.

Just thought i'd share my method
Cheers
Jay
Hi jay monkey, I just wanted to ask about your method of having a small ssd for the efi partition:

1- aside from being able to take it out and connect it to another machine and work on it, are there any other advantages to using your method.

2- how would the installing procedure differ from the standard install guide (create a bootable usb drive with unibeast and then copying multibeast on it etc...) I mean how would this be done step by step!

3-and lastly how would one go about using the rest of the drive as an installer and recovery drive (again kind of a step by step thing hehehe)

Thx
 

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1- aside from being able to take it out and connect it to another machine and work on it, are there any other advantages to using your method.


@DieterJack,

Not really, when i originally built the system there was no support for booting from NVMe so that was also a consideration, but these days it is not. Being able to quickly remove the drive and attach it to my laptop is still handy in the rare times i screw up Clover or my Config.plist.

2- how would the installing procedure differ from the standard install guide (create a bootable usb drive with unibeast and then copying multibeast on it etc...) I mean how would this be done step by step!


It does not differ in anyway .... once you have formatted it using GUID partition scheme then you can mount the EFI partition and install Clover or Open Core using your method of choice.

3-and lastly how would one go about using the rest of the drive as an installer and recovery drive (again kind of a step by step thing hehehe)


You can use the main partition of the drive for what ever you want, in my case I have a bootable version of Acronis installed which i use to backup windows.

Cheers
Jay
 
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@DieterJack,

Not really, when i originally built the system there was no support for booting from NVMe so that was also a consideration, but these days it is not. Being able to quickly remove the drive and attach it to my laptop is still handy in the rare times i screw up Clover or my Config.plist.




It does not differ in anyway .... once you have formatted it using GUID partition scheme then you can mount the EFI partition and install Clover or Open Core using your method of choice.




You can use the main part of the drive for what ever you want, in my case I have a bootable version of Acronis installed which i use to backup windows.

Cheers
Jay
thx for the answer JM
 
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