Question Can I use a M2 NVME PCIe Adapter with the Gigabyte GA-Z97-HD3 ?

consptheory77

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I know some variation of this question has probably been asked before, but I want to ask afresh so I don't get confused.

I understand enough about CPUs and RAM and even PSUs, built my own desktop but I remain perpetually confused about PCI and lanes.

I have a SSD as the boot drive. I want to use one of those NVMe drives, but I imagine I will have to buy an adapter, right?

I have, in order from top to bottom of the motherboard

PCI Ex 1x1
PCI Ex 16
PCI Ex 1x2
PCI Ex 4
PCI 1
PCI 2

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/831656/Gigabyte-Ga-Z97-Hd3.html?page=4

The GPU is connected to the PCI Ex 16

Since the adapter I prospectively intend to buy says "PCIe Adapter X16 PCI Express 3.0" does that mean the adapter must be in the place where the GPU is, or can I put it in one of the the other PCI slots?

I don't care about speed, I'm fine with the performance of the boot drive, but I want to see if I can free up a SATA slot in which to put another hard drive.
 

Phillip Corcoran

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If the adapter card requires a PCIe x16 slot then that's where you must put it.

Your motherboard should have two PCIe x16 slots according to motherboard specs sheet, so you should have an unused slot as below:

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)

x4 will be okay for an SSD.
 

USAFRet

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As a secondary drive, but can I use it as a boot drive? I saw one thread which said the Z97 motherboard can do that.
Some of them can. Not all.
It will almost certainly depend on a BIOS update that enabled that. Most Z97 boards did NOT have that capability upon release.

Look through ALL of the BIOS updates for your specific board, and see if that is addressed.

What is your current OS drive?
 

consptheory77

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Look through ALL of the BIOS updates for your specific board, and see if that is addressed.

What is your current OS drive?
There is a revision 2.1, but I suspect it's years old, the revision list does not address NVMe. I'm pretty sure I updated the BIOS after I built the computer.

Current OS drive is Samsung SSD 850 EVO 120GB
 

consptheory77

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If the adapter card requires a PCIe x16 slot then that's where you must put it.

Your motherboard should have two PCIe x16 slots according to motherboard specs sheet, so you should have an unused slot as below:

1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4 (PCIEX4)

x4 will be okay for an SSD.
"When installing a x8 or above card in the PCIEX4 slot, make sure to set PCIE Slot Configuration (PCH) in BIOS Setup to x4"
 

USAFRet

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There is a revision 2.1, but I suspect it's years old, the revision list does not address NVMe. I'm pretty sure I updated the BIOS after I built the computer.

Current OS drive is Samsung SSD 850 EVO 120GB
If there are no BIOS updates that specifically address this, using it as a boot drive is probably not going to work.

Except for the size, I'd leave the OS on your existing 850 EVO.
 

consptheory77

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Well, I took the plunge with the Samsung QVO. The reason I got the Samsung when I first did my build was because (a) they make their parts in-house, (b) the NAND controllers were supposedly superior, and (c) the other brands supposedly had slightly higher rates of failure, usually attributed to the lack of (a) and (b). And I've never had any issues with the EVO.

Making the switch, I don't notice a speed problem - this gen of QVO is supposed to be faster than the last gen of EVO. I'm getting speeds as low as 39 MB/s but as high as 170 MB/s. I may get different speeds transferring files to the SSD from the same platter-based drive, so there is some variable other than the flash memory. I tried to saturate the pipeline by maxing out the speed of a file download while also transferring a file to the SSD. This did not seem to have any effect. The only thing I've noticed since making the changeover (a drive cloned over with Acronis, which I also have set to an image backup in case the flash memory goes poof) is that for some reason the multitasking has taken a hit. I've enabled RAPID, TRIM, and initialized overprovisioning, but using Windows Explorer and the browser, or opening up Task Manager, it has hung on several occasions while making the file transfers. Now, when I first did my desktop build, I had 4GB in use with my 120GB SSD, and it still seemed sluggish, I was disappointed. But when I soon after added another 4GB stick, then everything ran smooth as butter.

And I found out why:

https://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/will-adding-more-ram-increase-your-ssd-s-performance-1208124

I'm running at 16GB RAM, but 120GB SSD to 1TB SSD is almost a tenfold increase, so I'm seriously wondering if upgrading the RAM to 32GB (which I was already planning to do anyway) will make a difference with this drive.
 

USAFRet

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Reading from a spinning drive to an SSD, the overall throughput is determined by the read rate of the HDD.
And the same in the other direction.

Performance is determined by the slowest device in the chain, whatever that may be.

Nothing to do with the SSD, no matter what make or model.

RAPID Mode? That doesn't do a whole lot except show you big benchmark numbers.
It is simply using a portion of your actual RAM as a cache. I tried it for a while, saw NO user facing benefit.
So I turned it off.
 

consptheory77

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RAPID Mode? That doesn't do a whole lot except show you big benchmark numbers.
It is simply using a portion of your actual RAM as a cache. I tried it for a while, saw NO user facing benefit.
So I turned it off.
A lot of the articles about RAPID mode (which is Samsung's proprietary name for "RAM disk caching") are from years back, I imagine there has to have been improvement in the software since then, but who knows?

Yes, I don't care about benchmarks either. What does concern me is the potential loss of data from unexpected shutdowns (I don't have a UPS) as well as "deferred writes" wherein the system is telling there was a complete transfer but it's still strictly in queue. I haven't noticed any corrupted files as a result of this, but primarily I am transferring files to the SSD from platter drives, not from the SSD to platter drives.

Someone else said RAPID only benefits from "sequential reading on large, contiguous files" (and I know my platter drives are fragmented). I haven't seen any apparent benefit from turning the RAPID on, and am thinking the overprovisioning may be sufficient.
 

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