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MP 1,1-5,1 Best SSD SATA Upgrade

Balafre

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 26, 2020
2
0
Auckland, New Zealand
Hi Guys!
Am a photographer running a trusty MacPro 5.1 (w/3.46GHz double hex/GTX 980 Ti 11 Gb VRAM/128 Gb DDR3 RAM) and been using a Samsung 840 PRO SSD 512 Gb which will need replacing. The whole machine has been slowing noticably of late.
The SSD runs software only, and is the main scratch disk; all data stored in on-board RAID HD's. Mainly use Photoshop & Capture One v20 to process lots of 125MP image files ex Phase One IQ3-100 digital back.

I'm moderately tech literate - a highly skilled geek/genius I know (patronises/compliments) me with the term Power User.

Please, I'd be very grateful for your real world advice on
1) the best kick-ass SSD I can easily plug and play in this Mac to process bulk volume, very big still images.
2) Do SSD's bigger than 512Gb genuinely give a measurable increase in scratch disc performance?
3) Are blade SSD's like the Samsung EVO 970 Plus usable via my SATA mount? Is anyone using this and what issues have arisen please?

I thank you deeply for your time and experiences.

Wishing you health strength and sanity in this crazy world,

Charles
 
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flyproductions

macrumors 6502
Jan 17, 2014
286
93
3) Are blade SSD's like the Samsung EVO 970 Plus usable via my SATA mount? Is anyone using this and what issues have arisen please?
Why on earth would you use a 970 EVO via SATA, waisting 70 - 90% of it's performance while there are PCIe-NVMe-adapters available at around 15 bucks getting you at least 1.400 read/write?
 

Balafre

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 26, 2020
2
0
Auckland, New Zealand
WHY? because I'm largely ignorant of specific possibilities, and grateful to you for mentioning it! Thank You - I will investigate it further.

My reading had suggested that the adapters caused kernel panic errors and while there were work-arounds, as I'm self employed down-time costs me heavily, so plug and play is essential.

But I thank you again. Are you running the sort of set up you wrote of?

Best regards

Charles
 

Grumply

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2017
189
98
Melbourne, Australia
If you're after maximum speed, you'll want to put multiple NVMEs in a "bifurcating" PCIe adapter, and combine them into a RAID 0 stripe.

For a cheaper 2x NVME adapter, there's the Lycom-DT130, or for more money there's the Sonnet M.2 4x4 or Highpoint 7101a cards (which will both take up to four M.2s).

For maximum throughput you need a 4x PCIe lane PER drive. So for two M.2s you need a x8 slot or for four M.2s you'd need a x16 slot.

For a cheaper option, you could simply add another couple of SATA 512GB SSDs to your machine and RAID the three of them together (which will get you around 600-650MB/s). Not as fast as NVMEs, but still plenty fast enough to do most things easily.
 
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tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,373
8,910
If you're after maximum speed, you'll want to put multiple NVMEs in a "bifurcating" PCIe adapter, and combine them into a RAID 0 stripe.

For a cheaper 2x NVME adapter, there's the Lycom-DT130, or for more money there's the Sonnet M.2 4x4 or Highpoint 7101a cards (which will both take up to four M.2s.

For maximum throughput you need a 4x PCIe lane PER drive. So for two M.2s you need a x8 slot or for four M.2s you'd need a x16 slot.

For a cheaper option, you could simply add another couple of SATA 512GB SSDs to your machine and RAID the three of them together (which will get you around 600-650MB/s). Not as fast as NVMEs, but still plenty fast enough to do most things easily.

Sorry, but the way you are explaining multiple NVMe support on Macs is just wrong and why on earth you are using the bifurcating term? No Mac supports what is called bifurcation at all. With Macs, or it's a dumb adapter or a PCIe switched one, no other option at all.

Anything that is needed to know about PCIe NVMe drives are on the first post of the thread below:


Intel PCIe Lane Partition technology, aka bifurcation, has a long series of pre-requisites, one of them is to have chipset that supports it and a firmware capable of managing the lane partition at pre-boot. While one Mac has the chipset capable of Intel Lane Partition, 2019 Mac Pro, no Mac has the required pre-boot configuration firmware management for doing it.
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2017
189
98
Melbourne, Australia
Sorry, but the way you are explaining multiple NVMe support on Macs is just wrong and why on earth you are using the bifurcating therm? No Mac supports what is called bifurcation at all. With Macs, or it's a dumb adapter or a PCIe switched one, no other option at all.

So when the card itself handles the lane partition it's not called "bifurcation"? Does the term apply only to lane partitioning that's happening on the motherboard itself?
 

tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,373
8,910
So when the card itself handles the lane partition it's not called "bifurcation"? Does the term apply only to lane partitioning that's happening on the motherboard itself?
Bifurcation applies only to Intel Lane Partition or the AMD similar tech with another name, when the chipset/firmware partition the PCIe lanes. Bifurcation don't apply to PCIe switched cards at all. Chinese marketing guys started to use the bifurcation term totally wrong, I/O Crest marketing is an example of completely wrongly use of the bifurcation term.

There are motherboards that can do lane partition via chipset/firmware combo or have a PCIe switch - rare high-end and extremely pricy motherboards have both techs (2019 Mac Pro is one example of both techs on the same computer, but Macs don't have the firmware part of Intel Lane partition tech).
 
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Grumply

macrumors regular
Feb 24, 2017
189
98
Melbourne, Australia
Bifurcation applies only to Intel Lane Partition or the AMD similar tech with another name, when the chipset/firmware partition the PCIe lanes. Bifurcation don't apply to PCIe switched cards at all.

There are motherboards that can do lane partition via chipset/firwmare combo or have a PCIe switch - rare high-end and extremely pricy motherboards have both techs (2019 Mac Pro is one example of both techs, but Macs don't have the firmware part of Intel Lane partition tech).

Thanks 👍 So what's the appropriate term to describe the cards that have the lane partitioning built in? Just "PCIe switch cards" or "lane switching cards"?
 

tsialex

macrumors G3
Jun 13, 2016
8,373
8,910
Thanks 👍 So what's the appropriate term to describe the cards that have the lane partitioning built in? Just "PCIe switch cards" or "lane switching cards"?
PCIe switched cards is the usual term. Btw, switches don't do lane partition at all. At a very basic level, lane partition is similar of what railways did back in 1800's, switches are similar of what PSTN tech did back in the 1900's.
 
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flyproductions

macrumors 6502
Jan 17, 2014
286
93
Are you running the sort of set up you wrote of?
Yes! I am using this adapter for esthetic matters. Cause it's pcb is black like the mainboard and i like the activity led. But there are dozends of others. Some even cheaper. SSD is the same 970 EVO you have, but 1 TB in my case. Adding some passive cooling like this one is recommended. But most important is that, as you not already have it, you have to install the latest firmware available for the machine: 144.0.0.0.0. As far as i know any 14x.0.0.0.0 will do too, but earlier not. It can be installed withe the mojave full installer. If you prefer to use some earlier OS, you do not have to install the OS. Just the firmware will do.

With that you should get around 1.400 MB/s writing and 1.500 MB/s reading with boot support. Still only half of the SSD's potential, but you do not have to pay hundreds of dollars just for a card.
 
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