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NVMe SSD for H97M-itx Motherboard

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ASRock H97M-ITX/AC
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i3-4170
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HD4400
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  1. MacBook Pro
I currently have a MacOS Sierra build that runs on an H97M-itx motherboard with a spinning HDD as the boot/storage drive. As part of an update to High Sierra I'd like to install an SSD for the OS and storage of frequently used files (apps, etc.).

The H97M-itx board does not natively support NVMe or M.2 drives however there is a single PCIe 3.0 x 16 slot that is normally used for graphics cards. Since I use the integrated Intel graphics on my processor I am wondering whether I might use the PCIe slot, with a suitable adapter card, to install and NVMe SSD.

The primary reason for considering this route is future proofing. I'm thinking that I could reuse the NVMe drive in the future if/when I upgrade my system with a new motherboard / processor combination.

So I'd appreciate feedback as to whether any NVMe SSD might work with this motherboard and, if so, what kind of Read/Write speed might I expect to see. Also confirmation that the motherboard would be able to boot into MacOS using the NVMe drive as the boot drive.

Thanks.
 

BreBo

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So I'd appreciate feedback as to whether any NVMe SSD might work with this motherboard and, if so, what kind of Read/Write speed might I expect to see. Also confirmation that the motherboard would be able to boot into MacOS using the NVMe drive as the boot drive.
Not the same motherboard but see Post #1195 to give you an idea.
 
Joined
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Motherboard
Asrock H97M-ITX/ac
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i5-4460
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integrated
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  1. MacBook Pro
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  1. Android
  2. iOS
I've tried a Samsung EVO 950 with a PCIE-Adapter, but it doesn't work as expected.
It does not show up as a Drive in the latest BIOS of this board. (v 2.0) - that is just calling for problems, if you ask my opinion.
I'm currently updating to Catalina and have to switch bootloaders quite frequently, when I break things. Not beeing able to select it as a boot-drive rules this out in my opinion.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
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32
Motherboard
Supermicro X8DTL-3
CPU
Dual Xeon 5687
Graphics
HD 5870
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
So I'd appreciate feedback as to whether any NVMe SSD might work with this motherboard and, if so, what kind of Read/Write speed might I expect to see. Also confirmation that the motherboard would be able to boot into MacOS using the NVMe drive as the boot drive.

100% do it. Especially as you have PCIe 3.0. I have PCIe 2.0 and get 1500+ MB/s Read/Write (Corsair Force MP510 SSD 960GB or thereabouts). It doesn't matter if your BIOS natively supports NVMe drives on the PCI bus or not, because Clover is your boot software then macOS is your operating system and both have native drivers that talk directly to the drive.

I've just booted by legacy BIOS Supermicro server board circa 2010 from the NVMe to type this, it works lovely.

Its straight forward if you search on how to do it, with no issues. The NVMe drives only need a x4 slot though, but will work in x8/x16 fine, just a waste of a faster slot. Dont be tempted by a dual M2 PCIe card as in theory you can use RAID 0 for double the performance but Clover won't recognise a RAID boot device.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
Messages
32
Motherboard
Supermicro X8DTL-3
CPU
Dual Xeon 5687
Graphics
HD 5870
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
I've tried a Samsung EVO 950 with a PCIE-Adapter, but it doesn't work as expected.
It does not show up as a Drive in the latest BIOS of this board. (v 2.0) - that is just calling for problems, if you ask my opinion.
I'm currently updating to Catalina and have to switch bootloaders quite frequently, when I break things. Not beeing able to select it as a boot-drive rules this out in my opinion.

The BIOS doesn't need to support is as the Clover NVMe driver doesn't use the BIOS and neither does macOS.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2016
Messages
24
Motherboard
Asrock H97M-ITX/ac
CPU
i5-4460
Graphics
integrated
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
  2. iOS
Yes, but how do I change boot priorities then? Sorry, if that is a dumb question. I would have 3 Clover-Bootloaders then:
1. from my current SATA-Drive.
2. from my USB-Test-Installation
3. from the PCIE-Drive

Or will disabling all Entries in the Bootorder within the BIOS do the trick then?
Just installed the driver in my Clover, but I probably won't be able to try out the PCIE until the coming weekend.

I need to fix the dual-monitor-crash at boot first. Catalina is giving me a hard time.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
Messages
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Motherboard
Supermicro X8DTL-3
CPU
Dual Xeon 5687
Graphics
HD 5870
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
Normally your computer BIOS points at the drive/partition that then boots the operating system (Windows / macOS etc). In a Clover based Hackintosh Clover sits in-between the BIOS and the Operating System. So your BIOS needs to point at the partition that has Clover on it. Clover effectively replaces your BIOS as far as boot options are concerned. I only have one boot device active in my BIOS. That can be a USB stick, or as I have, a small SATA SSD, that contains Clover.

The BIOS always boots Clover, then Clover searches all your connected devices for things it thinks are bootable and you get lots of icons depending whats in your machine. The list could include macOS, Windows, DVD drive, USB sticks etc. it often contains a few weird ones too which you tend to get Clover to ignore in its config.

If you have the Clover NVMe driver in Clovers folder, then it will also search the PCI channels for an NVMe SSD and list that as a boot option too. Thats what boots the NVMe SSD with your macOS on.

As long as your BIOS can boot the device that Clover is sitting on, you can boot an NVMe PCIe drive.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2016
Messages
32
Motherboard
Supermicro X8DTL-3
CPU
Dual Xeon 5687
Graphics
HD 5870
Mac
  1. MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
  1. iOS
It does mean you need another (SATA or USB) device that has Clover on, which just has Clover. That then finds your NVMe device.
 
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