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OS X Driver for NVMe M.2 Solid State Drives Released

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Due m.2 is just the mechanical variant and NVMe over PCIe is the protocol, it should work for your direct PCIe SSD too.
Sounds good, thanks. I'll update once I found out.
 
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Great news for those who want to use the same types of super fast solid state drives that Apple uses. NVM Express (NVMe) M.2 solid state drives are now working in OS X with a new driver by JimJ at macvidcards. Because of Apple's EFI, these off the shelf SSDs cannot be used as boot drives in a standard Mac. However, any CustoMac with M.2 slot running Clover can use them as boot drive.

Download the NVMe driver for OS X:

http://www.macvidcards.com/nvme-driver1.html

M.2 is really a small PCI-Express (PCIe) connector on a motherboard which provides bus interfaces for PCIe, SATA, and USB 3.0. The M.2 standard and replaces the old mSATA standard. These slots were first available on the 9 Series chipset (16/32 Gbps, PCIe x2/x4) and are now double the speed (32Gbps, PCIe x4) on 100 Series chipset. Adapters are also available for any standard PCIe slot.

Here's an example of a three native M.2 slots on the Gigabyte Z170X SOC FORCE (between the normal PCIe slots):

View attachment 167621
There are three different types of standard M.2 drives. The first two use Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI); legacy SATA using AHCI and PCIe using AHCI. Fully functional drives such as the Samsung EVO M.2 (SATA using AHCI) and the Samsung SM951 M.2 (PCIe using AHCI) are already in the CustoMac Buyer's Guide. The third type is the new NVMe technology, only available over the M.2 PCIe slot. An example of this drive is the Samsung 950 Pro.

  1. SATA/AHCI drives are completely equivalent to normal SATA drives except with a different size/connector. Max bandwidth 600 MB/s. Example: 850 Evo M.2 (SATA)
  2. PCIe/AHCI drives use a faster connection than SATA/AHCI above, but still have the overhead of the AHCI protocol. Max Bandwidth 985 MB/s per lane (up to 4 lanes), but in practice limited by the protocol. Examples: Kingston HyperX Predator, SM941, SM951 AHCI
  3. NVMe drives have a streamlined protocol better optimized for solid state drive. Max Bandwidth 985 MB/s per lane (up to 4 lanes). Examples: Intel 750, SM951 NVMe, Samsung 950 Pro
Please note, some M.2 slots are keyed only for SATA and PCIe devices, and cannot accept NVMe devices. The most common SSD slot types are Type B or M for SATA drives; type M for PCIe or NVMe drives.

We've tested using the M.2 Samsung 950 Pro and the SM951 NVMe drives with success in OS X. To run the new drivers, install the NVMeGeneric.kext in Clover's EFI/CLOVER/kexts/10.11 folder and boot. The results show NVMe drives are some of the fastest SSDs available.

If you have tested using the new drivers, please let us know by sharing your results here!

Related:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2
View attachment 167616
Device Size Amazon Newegg
Samsung 950 PRO 512GB Amazon Newegg
Samsung 950 PRO 256GB Amazon Newegg
F--- YES!! Thanks Tony!!!

Does anyone know if the SM951 will boot with Chimera and MultiBeast? Have this on a Lycom adapter for my x79 but have not been able to boot with it on OS X 10.10. Shows up fine as a storage drive and its fast but want it as the boot drive.


Thanks!!

-G
 
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I have SM951 AHCI and it will boot like a charm with clover in EFI partition
 

anonym323

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You dont need any driver for an AHCI Version...
 
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I believe any Z97 board that has NVMe capability will run into the issue with PCIe lanes…

Please correct me if I am wrong, but if you get a PCIe 3.0 x4 device running, it drops the x16 slot (where most everyones GPU resides) to x8…

But according to what the Internet tells me, the performance drop from x16 to x8 is not that much, literally only a few FPS…
On my motherboard GA-Z97-UD5H the M.2 slot (pci-e x2) shares Bandwidth with some of the SATA slots

(M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5 connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.)
 
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The m.2 slot on the 3 No Z97X boards i own are all limited to x2 PCI-e lanes, while this is faster than SATA AHCI it does not use all of the available speed from the SM951 (I have two NVMe and one AHCI SM951's) or I would think any other NVMe SSD. You can get x4 PCI-e throughput with the Lycom m.2 adapter but to the detriment of your discrete graphics, which will drop from x16 down to x8 once you install the Lycom card and SSD in an available PCI-e slot.

Hopefully the next iteration of boards (after the Z100 range) will up the number of available PCI-e lanes so this limitation is removed, as this type of SSD becomes more mainstream.

If I recall correctly the 2011 boards have around 40 PCI-e lanes available so they night not have the same limitation, it would all depend on how the lanes were divided between the CPU, PCI-e slots and any other peripherals.
 

neilhart

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The AppleIIGuy is correct here "But according to what the Internet tells me, the performance drop from x16 to x8 is not that much, literally only a few FPS…".

I have two mini-ITX systems, each with 16GB of memory and MSI GTX 760 ITX GPUs. One is GA z97N-WiFi with an i7-4770K and the other is Maximus VII Impact with an i7-4970K and this system uses a Samsung XP941 in the M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot.

The Gigabyte system is running at x16 lanes and the ASUS Maximus is at x8 lanes.

Z97N-WiFi Cinebench 96.57 UNiGiNE Heaven 38.5 FPS, 970 Score, 10.6 Min, 82.6 Max

VII Impact Cinebench 106.01 UNiGiNE Heaven 37.5 FPS, 946 Score, 11.1 Min, 82.1 Max

Interesting...

Good modding,
neil
 
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I would caution the use of these new NVME SSD drives. From what I have read on the specs and intended use, these are optimized for laptops and have heat throttling built in for sustained data xfers. Depending on what applications you use, you could end up with less performance. I'm sure others have mentioned numerous times that these look great on benchmarks, but actually have little perceived performance increase. Last note, double check your motherboard m.2 slot and make sure it has 4 PCI lanes or else you will not achieve full speed. In most cases I think folks need to buy a PCIE adapter.
 
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You need to use clover configurator to mount the EFI of the UniBeast USB drive. Then copy the NVMe kext to USB/EFI/Clover/Kexts/10.11

Now you will be able to boot off the USB drive with NVMe support.

Sword: That worked. I was able to install successfully with the driver. I tried using El Cap Multibeast 8.01 after install, rebooted, but cannot get to the desktop. I always end up at "Prohibited" sign with a "Still waiting for root device" error in verbose mode. I cannot see a way to make the HFS drive bootable.

Is there another step to be done after Multibeast? Should I be using a different driver install tool instead of Multibeast?
 
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I would caution the use of these new NVME SSD drives. From what I have read on the specs and intended use, these are optimized for laptops and have heat throttling built in for sustained data xfers. Depending on what applications you use, you could end up with less performance. I'm sure others have mentioned numerous times that these look great on benchmarks, but actually have little perceived performance increase. Last note, double check your motherboard m.2 slot and make sure it has 4 PCI lanes or else you will not achieve full speed. In most cases I think folks need to buy a PCIE adapter.
http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Storage/Samsung-950-PRO-256GB-and-512GB-M2-NVMe-PCIe-SSD-Review/Thermal-Throttling-Conclusio

When Samsung announced the 950 PRO, several of you commented on potential thermal throttling due to heat generated in such a small package during heavy use. The following image represents a worst case scenario, with the 950 PRO being sequentially written with zero airflow across it:

As you can see, you would have to write nearly 150GB at over 1.5GB/sec to get a 950 PRO to warm up enough to throttle, and when it does, the throttling is very minor, dropping to only 1.2GB/sec intermittently. The slightest airflow prevents this from happening at all, and even if there was zero airflow, the chances of maxing a 950 PRO out on writes for that long of a burst is extremely unlikely in even the most demanding consumer usage scenario.
 
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