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Question on NVMe compatibility

Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1
CPU
i7 4770K
Graphics
HD 4600 / Sapphire Pulse RX Vega 56
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hey all,

Been a long time since I've done any significant hardware changes to my hack. Currently have a Gigabyte Z87 board with an i7-4770k running 10.14. Have an opportunity to pick up a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H cheap, which has a 10Gbs M.2 slot. Since I need to upgrade the size of my boot drive anyway, and want to do a fresh install of 10.15, I thought I would take this opportunity to pick up a 1TB or 2TB NVMe instead of a SATA SSD and improve boot time and file access and such slightly.

So my specific questions:

1) does pretty much any NVMe SSD work these days or are there specific brands/controllers to avoid? Was thinking about picking up an Inland Premium from Microcenter since there is one close to me. I don't need the highest spec NVMe, but I'll pay the extra for a 970 EVO if it'll make installing the OS significantly easier.

2) would it be worthwhile to get a PCIe to NVMe adapter instead of the built-in M.2 slot in order to be able to get more speed out of the drive?

3) not hardware specific, but for either option above, is there anything different I need to be looking out for when installing Catalina to an NVMe drive vs SATA?

Thanks!
 
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
363
Motherboard
Gigabyte Aorus Z390 Ultra
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i5-9600K
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Vega 56
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro
Mobile Phone
iOS
Hey all,

Been a long time since I've done any significant hardware changes to my hack. Currently have a Gigabyte Z87 board with an i7-4770k running 10.14. Have an opportunity to pick up a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H cheap, which has a 10Gbs M.2 slot. Since I need to upgrade the size of my boot drive anyway, and want to do a fresh install of 10.15, I thought I would take this opportunity to pick up a 1TB or 2TB NVMe instead of a SATA SSD and improve boot time and file access and such slightly.

So my specific questions:

1) does pretty much any NVMe SSD work these days or are there specific brands/controllers to avoid? Was thinking about picking up an Inland Premium from Microcenter since there is one close to me. I don't need the highest spec NVMe, but I'll pay the extra for a 970 EVO if it'll make installing the OS significantly easier.

2) would it be worthwhile to get a PCIe to NVMe adapter instead of the built-in M.2 slot in order to be able to get more speed out of the drive?

3) not hardware specific, but for either option above, is there anything different I need to be looking out for when installing Catalina to an NVMe drive vs SATA?

Thanks!
If your motherboard supports SLI then the absolute fastest speed will be using an adapter in the second GPU slot to connect directly to the CPU like a real Mac. The X87 motherboard only has generation 2.0 from the chipset where the CPU has generation 3.0.

There is no difference between installing to SATA or NVMe as long as your motherboard supports booting from NVMe, which it should.

My favorite NVMe for performance and value is the Sabrent Rocket NVMe drives from Amazon. Have used several of them on Windows and Mac and they work great are reasonably priced.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1
CPU
i7 4770K
Graphics
HD 4600 / Sapphire Pulse RX Vega 56
Mobile Phone
iOS
If your motherboard supports SLI then the absolute fastest speed will be using an adapter in the second GPU slot to connect directly to the CPU like a real Mac. The X87 motherboard only has generation 2.0 from the chipset where the CPU has generation 3.0.

There is no difference between installing to SATA or NVMe as long as your motherboard supports booting from NVMe, which it should.

My favorite NVMe for performance and value is the Sabrent Rocket NVMe drives from Amazon. Have used several of them on Windows and Mac and they work great are reasonably priced.
Good to hear that someone uses Sabrent. Was curious about them, as well as the Silicon Power and Sk Hynix. Sabrent comes in a 4TB version (or it used to a few months ago - haven't seen it in stock on Amazon in a while). That would be fun. :-D Not that I have any need quite yet for a boot drive that size, and it's QLC only. Speaking of, just checked their website, and the Rocket NVMe comes in both TLC & QLC. Which version do you have experience with? The Inland Premium line at Microcenter is still TLC.

The board in question is a Gigabyte GA-Z97X-UD5H, so yes, it supports PCIe boot and SLI. I don't believe my current board, the Z87, supports PCIe boot, but I could be wrong.

Thanks for the into on installing the OS.
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
893
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Gigabyte GA-B550M-DS3H
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RX 580
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I don't believe my current board, the Z87, supports PCIe boot, but I could be wrong.
Yes you can boot from NVMe on a 87 board. Install Clover on a separate SATA drive.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1
CPU
i7 4770K
Graphics
HD 4600 / Sapphire Pulse RX Vega 56
Mobile Phone
iOS
Yes you can boot from NVMe on a 87 board. Install Clover on a separate SATA drive.
Oh yes, I remember reading about that work-around now. I meant booting the whole kit and kaboodle from NVMe/PCIe, rather than first booting the kit from SATA and then the kaboodle from PCIe.
 
Joined
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Messages
893
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Gigabyte GA-B550M-DS3H
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iOS
Oh yes, I remember reading about that work-around now. I meant booting the whole kit and kaboodle from NVMe/PCIe, rather than first booting the kit from SATA and then the kaboodle from PCIe.
Aah!, no I don’t think it’s possible no. Though if I’m honest it’s pretty quick booting clover from SATA, then booting macOS from the NVMe.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1
CPU
i7 4770K
Graphics
HD 4600 / Sapphire Pulse RX Vega 56
Mobile Phone
iOS
Well, that's good to hear. My current setup takes an interminably long time to boot even though my boot drive is a 1TB SSD. I probably have something configured wrong. Or else it's the fact that I've got a second SSD with Windows on it, two regular HDD's - one of which has a CCC copy of my boot drive, and two optical drives hooked up. Clover takes forEVER to even get to "scanning entries" and then takes forever on that. But I digress. I'll straighten all of that up once I get around to doing the fresh Catalina install.

In the meantime I think I'll go for the Inland NVMe and report back in a few weeks or months (depending on how long it takes me to get to this project) on how it fairs. Thanks everyone for your help!
 
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
893
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-B550M-DS3H
CPU
Ryzen 5 3600X
Graphics
RX 580
Mac
iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac mini
Classic Mac
Power Mac
Mobile Phone
iOS
Well, that's good to hear. My current setup takes an interminably long time to boot even though my boot drive is a 1TB SSD. I probably have something configured wrong. Or else it's the fact that I've got a second SSD with Windows on it, two regular HDD's - one of which has a CCC copy of my boot drive, and two optical drives hooked up. Clover takes forEVER to even get to "scanning entries" and then takes forever on that. But I digress. I'll straighten all of that up once I get around to doing the fresh Catalina install.
Yeah sounds like something isn't right there. What version of Clover do you have installed?. When that's happened to me, I replace the current EFI with a backup, that usually solves the problem.
 
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
214
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GA-Z77X-UD5H
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i7-3770K
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Sapphire Radeon Pulse RX 580
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MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
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iOS
Well, that's good to hear. My current setup takes an interminably long time to boot even though my boot drive is a 1TB SSD. I probably have something configured wrong. Or else it's the fact that I've got a second SSD with Windows on it, two regular HDD's - one of which has a CCC copy of my boot drive, and two optical drives hooked up. Clover takes forEVER to even get to "scanning entries" and then takes forever on that. But I digress. I'll straighten all of that up once I get around to doing the fresh Catalina install.

In the meantime I think I'll go for the Inland NVMe and report back in a few weeks or months (depending on how long it takes me to get to this project) on how it fairs. Thanks everyone for your help!
Not sure if you're still having slow boot times on your SSD, but I ran across the following somewhere here in these forums (ironically, while searching for another topic), having had the same issue, and it ended up being the fix for me. Basically, somewhere along the way with a Clover update, the "debug" feature got activated in the boot options. It was taking between 3-5 minutes to boot and I though maybe my SSD was going bad as my backup SSD install would boot fine. I found the setting in Clover Configurator, unchecked it in the Boot tab, and I'm back to my regular speedy boot times. The weird part is, I never activated it myself, it just happened with a Clover update. Let me know what you find! :)
 
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