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Gigabyte Z390 M Gaming build with working NVRAM

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Pastrychef:

I trust all is good with you and Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m hoping to make the jump from Catalina to Big Sur in a month or 2, but first I plan to address some memory and storages issues. My system is running well, but I am continually bumping up against my constraints of 32Gb internal memory and a 256Gb M.2Q SSD. And yes, I have trimmed and pared down as much as I could!

I’ve purchased 2 more of the same OLOy memory cards that are currently running in the system.
For storage I’m planning a Samsung 1Tb NVMe M.2P SSD. I have 2 installation options:

  • Install the card directly into the M.2P slot
  • Mount the card on a M.2 SSD to PCIe expansion card and install in my empty PCIe3 x 4 slot.
The reasoning is that I’m not sure how much I will need to disconnect/remove and reinstall in order to mount the card directly into the M.2P slot. Or, since the empty PCIe x4 slot is the last one, it may just be easier to slip the expansion card in there. Not sure about performance advantages/disadvantages as I haven’t been able to make a clear comparison. What are your thoughts?

When everything is installed, I still want to boot off of the 256Gb M.2Q card. The system folders and files would still reside there, but everything else would be moved to the 1Tb M.2P card. Is this a reasonable approach?

After all this is running satisfactorily, I’ll begin the search for a good Radeon graphics card, and replace my current NVIDIA card, so that I can move beyond Big Sur. That’s the plan. Now all I have to do is implement it!

Thanks for your help!
@flatlander48,
I can contribute that you probably should stay away from a Samsung m.2 as you will likely experience TRIM issues once you go up to Catalina. The WD SN drives are widely regarded as a good option.

As far as M.2 slot vs PCIe; I’d bet there wouldn’t be a tremendous performance difference either way — unless the card happens to live in a slot that utilizes CPU lanes instead of chipset. Not sure how possible that even is with this board. In any event, my preference is to always save your slots for something else down the road. In my case, there aren’t enough as it is, and especially if you end up getting a GPU that eats up more than two slots (like 6800, 6900). They’re HUGE.
 
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Well, the 512Gb M.2Q card that I have been using for about a year and a half is a Samsung 970 Pro. It has been running under Catalina for that time and is the boot drive. So far, no issues noted. The Samsung site says that TRIM is supported.

However, were you speaking about something with the newer ones or the M.2P running under PCIe3 or?
The SSD that I’m looking at is the Samsung 980 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe 1TB. The Samsung site says that TRIM is also supported for his one.

I built the 1st incarnation of the machine 7 1/2 years ago and updated it 1 1/2 years ago. In that time, I’ve never added cards beyond the original builds. I don’t anticipate adding anything else that requires card slots after this upgrade. Anyway, the point is that I really don’t want to disassemble half the machine to add an M.2 card. It’s going to be hard enough adding the memory cards as it appears that at least one location will fall under the CPU cooler. In the photo the 2 current memory cards are under the outboard fan of the CPU cooler.

B7B0BA25-2981-4C79-9B13-DAA8CCA25665.jpeg
 
Last edited:

pastrychef

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Pastrychef:

I trust all is good with you and Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m hoping to make the jump from Catalina to Big Sur in a month or two, but first I plan to address some memory and storages issues. My system is running well, but I am continually bumping up against my constraints of 32GB internal memory and a 512GB M.2Q SSD. And, yes, I have trimmed and pared down as much as I could!

I’ve purchased two more of the same OLOy memory cards that are currently running in the system.
For storage I’m planning a Samsung 1TB NVMe M.2P SSD. I have 2 installation options:
  • Install the card directly into the M.2P slot; or
  • Mount the card on a M.2 SSD to PCIe expansion card and install in my empty PCIe3 x 4 slot.
The reasoning is that I’m not sure how much I will need to disconnect/remove and reinstall in order to mount the card directly into the M.2P slot. Or, since the empty PCIe x4 slot is the last one, it may just be easier to slip the expansion card in there. Not sure about performance advantages/disadvantages as I haven’t been able to make a clear comparison. What are your thoughts?

When everything is installed, I still want to boot off of the 512GB M.2Q card. The system folders and files would still reside there, but everything else would be moved to the 1TB M.2P card. Is this a reasonable approach?

After all this is running satisfactorily, I’ll begin the search for a good Radeon graphics card, and replace my current NVIDIA card, so that I can move beyond Big Sur. That’s the plan. Now all I have to do is implement it!

Thanks for your help!

If the RAM is the same type as you already have installed, you can just plug them in now and it will work.

For NVMe SSD, I agree with SmackAttack. I'd avoid Samsung due to compatibility issues with later versions of macOS. Personally, I switched to WD.

There shouldn't be much (if any) performance lost by using the last PCI-e slot but I'd still use the M2P slot since it's there...

If you just want to use it as storage, all you'll have to do is initialize it with Disk Utility and you're done.

If you want to install macOS on it, just boot in the Recovery partition at the OpenCore Boot Picker and you can install macOS from there. When done, copy your EFI folder to the EFI partition of your new SSD. You can also use Migration Assistant to migrate everything from your old SSD to the new one.
 
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If the RAM is the same type as you already have installed, you can just plug them in now and it will work.

For NVMe SSD, I agree with SmackAttack. I'd avoid Samsung due to compatibility issues with later versions of macOS. Personally, I switched to WD.

There shouldn't be much (if any) performance lost by using the last PCI-e slot but I'd still use the M2P slot since it's there...

If you just want to use it as storage, all you'll have to do is initialize it with Disk Utility and you're done.

If you want to install macOS on it, just boot in the Recovery partition at the OpenCore Boot Picker and you can install macOS from there. When done, copy your EFI folder to the EFI partition of your new SSD. You can also use Migration Assistant to migrate everything from your old SSD to the new one.
I duplicated the original order to purchase the 2 new OLOy cards, but the proof is actually having them in my hands! I’ve always given Newegg.com pretty reviews, so hopefully this transaction won’t be any different.

I would prefer to use M2P position as the expansion card adds a bunch of other points of potential failure. I don’t want to cut a bunch of cable ties and start disconnecting things, but I’ll see how it looks when the time comes.

By the way, did you start out using a PowerColor graphics card? Seems to me that you used something else, but it has been a while…
 

pastrychef

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I duplicated the original order to purchase the 2 new OLOy cards, but the proof is actually having them in my hands! I’ve always given Newegg.com pretty reviews, so hopefully this transaction won’t be any different.

I would prefer to use M2P position as the expansion card adds a bunch of other points of potential failure. I don’t want to cut a bunch of cable ties and start disconnecting things, but I’ll see how it looks when the time comes.

By the way, did you start out using a PowerColor graphics card? Seems to me that you used something else, but it has been a while…

I can't remember which video card I started this build with. Lol

I've had MSI Vega 56, PowerColor "Red Dragon" Vega 56, PowerColor Radeon VII, and ASRock 6600 XT.

I switched from MSI Vega 56 to Red Dragon Vega 56 for the improved cooling.
I upgraded to Radeon VII then sold it when GPU prices went insanely high and reverted back to the Red Dragon Vega 56.
When GPU prices came back down a bit, I upgraded to 6600 XT.
 
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Interesting. What you said has presented me with some other options when I start looking again. I suspect that it may be a while before prices stabilize. Unfortunately it’s a bad intersection between crypto currency mining and chip shortages…
 
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@pastrychef Hi there!

if you should consider a 10Gbe card nowadays with latest MacOS (Monterey/Ventura), what would you suggest? I'd like to buy something that has sleep/wake and WOL both working. Thanks! :)
 

pastrychef

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@pastrychef Hi there!

if you should consider a 10Gbe card nowadays with latest MacOS (Monterey/Ventura), what would you suggest? I'd like to buy something that has sleep/wake and WOL both working. Thanks! :)

By WoL, do you mean being able to power on the system remotely? If yes, idk which ones can do that... I never personally tried...

Please see post #3 for compatible 10GBase-T cards.
 
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For NVMe SSD, I agree with SmackAttack. I'd avoid Samsung due to compatibility issues with later versions of macOS. Personally, I switched to WD.
I went back and looked at the NVMe section in post #3. You mentioned the Phison controller that Samsung used in some of the M.2 cards. However, the 970 EVO Plus used the Samsung Phoenix controller. The 970 Pro that I have been using also uses the Samsung Phoenix controller. The SSD 980 uses the Samsung Pablo controller. The 980 Pro uses the Samsung Elpis controller, but that's for a PCIe 4.0 setup.

Anyway, what is confusing is that I've run across various threads here where people claim that they are running an SSD 980 with Catalina, Big Sur and Monterey and doing well. The only possibilities that I come up with are that the Pablo controller is OK and doesn't have TRIM-related problems or that the SSD might have been inaccurately described (maybe a 980 Pro?).

Any thoughts as to what is going on here?
 

pastrychef

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Any thoughts as to what is going on here?

No... I stopped following when it became clear the 970 EVO Plus and newer were causing random kernel panics and slow boot issues. I didn't feel the need to waste anymore time on it when there are so many NVMe choices out there that didn't cause any problems.

I only kept up with the Samsung NVMe SSD issues up to the 970 EVO Plus. I never investigated on whether any of the Samsung SSDs after that had issues. Again, there are so many SSD choices out there, why take a chance?
 
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