Boot times under NVMe?

smirk

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Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
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Orange County, CA
Hi, I've been itching to replace my SATA SSD boot drive with an NVMe one (plus PCI card, probably a cheapie). But I'm not sure if it's worth it.

How much faster would Mojave boot on NVMe at 1500MB/s or 3000MB/s compared to a SATA SSD? Did anyone happen to do a timed test?

Thanks!
 

theone29

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May 6, 2013
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I just upgraded my SSD to NVME 1500/s on my cMP5,1 and honestly, it is not huge IMO. I'm not impressed with the boot time going from SSD to nvme.
 
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crjackson2134

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Mar 6, 2013
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I have done a lot of detailed testing on this. Basically, the fastest boot time is already achieved by a fast SSD installed in your native SATA bay connectors.

NVMe performance is much faster than an SATA SSD after booting depending on what you are using it for. If you are only interested in boot speed, stick with the bay mounted SSD. It’s faster because you don’t have to wait for PCIe Buss scan and speed negotiation to occur when using the native SATA, as that’s where the search for a boot drive starts. If it weren’t for that, I expect NVMe booting would be faster, but that’s just not how it works.
 

tpivette89

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Jan 1, 2018
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Newark, DE
Is application loading and operation quicker than doing so from a bay mounted SSD? Boot times aren't really a concern (for most) as these computers are generally left on for long periods of time after booting. Application performance on a NVMe drive vs a SATA 2 SSD would be more interesting to hear about in my opinion.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2010
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Boot times matter a little to me. My MP is an energy hog. About 30 watts when sleeping, last I checked. But as noted above, SATA or PCIe doesn't really matter much, as long as it's solid state.
 

smirk

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
657
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Orange County, CA
How many times a year do you reboot? How much better is your life if you can shave 10 to 30 seconds off the time to reboot?
For me, quite a bit. This computer is used for home use, and since it's an electricity guzzler we turn it off when we're done using it. I realize that everyone's usage patterns differ, though.
[doublepost=1542862721][/doublepost]
I have done a lot of detailed testing on this. Basically, the fastest boot time is already achieved by a fast SSD installed in your native SATA bay connectors.
That's all I needed to hear. :) Thank you!!
 
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h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,768
5,579
Hong Kong
Hi, I've been itching to replace my SATA SSD boot drive with an NVMe one (plus PCI card, probably a cheapie). But I'm not sure if it's worth it.

How much faster would Mojave boot on NVMe at 1500MB/s or 3000MB/s compared to a SATA SSD? Did anyone happen to do a timed test?

Thanks!
Practically zero (if not slower).

The NVMe itself is faster.

If you go for the real high end NVMe, their 4k random speed can be quite a bit faster than a normal SATA SSD. Which may help to save few seconds loading time.

However, the extra time required to initialise the hardware may completely offset the time saved by fast loading. End up almost no difference.

Also, that 1500MB/s or 3000MB/s is the sequential performance. When talking about boot time, the main limiting factor is the 4K random read QD1 performance. Except the Optane NVMe, all others are not even over 100MB/s in real world test.

And here are some reference for you.

900P ~193MB/s
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 00.01.56.png


970Evo ~58MB/s
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 00.02.06.png


970 Pro ~53MB/s
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 00.02.17.png


860Evo ~37MB/s
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 00.02.29.png


As you can see, the 1st column (4k Read) is nowhere near 250MB/s for any SSD (including NVMe). That's the reason why we said the optical cage's SATA II connection is more than enough is you only want fast boot time.

And moving form SATA II to SATA III won't help.

For NVMe, the real high end one is definitely faster than SATA SSD now. However, the difference may be not as significant as you believe.

And for some "normal" NVMe, the performance may be even worse then SATA SSD in 4K read speed. e.g. KC1000
Screenshot 2018-11-23 at 00.16.14.png


Therefore, if you upgrade to this kind of NVME. They may actually make you boot slower even no extra hardware initialisation time required.

If you only care about boot time. Go for 900P may save you few seconds (if you are lucky, and money is not a concern at all). But in general, stay at SATA SSD make more sense if you don't need any super fast SSD in your real workflow.

970 Evo etc should still make your system snappier. However, so far, only few reported that has noticeable difference in boot time and happy with it. Some others like theone29 reported no significant difference, and not worth to go NVME if you only care about boot time.

If there is very good return policy in your country, you may buy them and give it a try. However, if you are at somewhere like mine, basically no return policy exist, you better think twice before you go for this "upgrade".
 

Eneco

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2018
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Is application loading and operation quicker than doing so from a bay mounted SSD?
I'm also interested in some real world experience when doing some tasks. Do macos and apps run smoother, feel snappier, load faster? Even though the jump from SATA to NVME isn't that big in terms of 4k read as it was with traditional HDD, but it can be double. For example my 860 EVO only reaches 30 MB/s and the 970 EVO almost 60 MB/s. Would that make a difference in the everyday use?

I don't care about boot times, just some improvement in doing tasks.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
12,768
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Hong Kong
I'm also interested in some real world experience when doing some tasks. Do macos and apps run smoother, feel snappier, load faster? Even though the jump from SATA to NVME isn't that big in terms of 4k read as it was with traditional HDD, but it can be double. For example my 860 EVO only reaches 30 MB/s and the 970 EVO almost 60 MB/s. Would that make a difference in the everyday use?

I don't care about boot times, just some improvement in doing tasks.
I think it very very depends on which NVMe (and adaptor) you go for, and your real world workflow.

So far, it seems the 970 Pro + High Point works the best in cMP. Users reported with countable improvement (e.g. from 1-2 second loading time improved to almost instance pop up).

And some other reported no noticeable difference from 970 Evo + DT120 on apps loading.

By numbers, 970 Evo can only be faster but not slower. And whenever the apps need to read / write large sequential data. The 970 Evo will kill the 860 Evo.

However, if you don't care boot time because you rarely need to reboot the Mac. Then as long as you have enough RAM. The apps data most likely can be cached in the memory, which further reduce the benefit of using NVMe on apps loading.
 
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Eneco

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2018
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I think it very very depends on which NVMe (and adaptor)
My plan was to get the 970 EVO with the Angelbird card.

and your real world workflow.
I'm doing audio for films and games and need to stream / scrub / handle large video files, load and transfer samples and software instruments, render audio and fire up different apps.

So far, it seems the 970 Pro + High Point works the best in cMP. Users reported with countable improvement (e.g. from 1-2 second loading time improved to almost instance pop up).
Well the High Point is a little bit out of my prince range at the moment. Even though I like the concept of multiple SSDs, a cooling system and the higher performance rates.

However, if you don't care boot time because you rarely need to reboot the Mac. Then as long as you have enough RAM. The apps data most likely can be cached in the memory, which further reduce the benefit of using NVMe on apps loading.
Well, I'm booting up my machine every morning and shutting it down every evening. But whether I wait 38 secs to boot up or 35 does not matter to me. What matters to me is how fast my workflow is. I don't like waiting for an app to respond while I'm working, as this somewhat slows down my creativity.
 

h9826790

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Apr 3, 2014
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Well, I'm booting up my machine every morning and shutting it down every evening. But whether I wait 38 secs to boot up or 35 does not matter to me. What matters to me is how fast my workflow is. I don't like waiting for an app to respond while I'm working, as this somewhat slows down my creativity.
You may check activity monitor. If the 860 Evo is the bottleneck apparently. Then upgrade to 970 Evo should help.
 

Eneco

macrumors member
Jul 1, 2018
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You may check activity monitor. If the 860 Evo is the bottleneck apparently. Then upgrade to 970 Evo should help.
Which values should I check? IO? Data? How do I interpret these numbers and know that the SSD is the bottleneck?
 
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MIKX

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2004
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Japan
A little off topic but as I'm now booting exclusively from a Samsung 970 EVO with two SSDs in the DVD drive space and NO HDDs installed at all in the SATA II bays. . my overall internal case temperatures have dropped substantially plus my PCIe slots must be getting more cooling due to the ( hot running spinner HDDs being absent.
As I live in Japan where summers are quite hot & humid I'm quite happy. Winter is virtually a non-issue as it will probably get down to 4°C in mornings from late November.

I like M.2 NVMe ! :)

PS : I wonder if WARM re-boot times are substantially faster then cold bootups ?
 
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Eneco

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Jul 1, 2018
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my overall internal case temperatures have dropped substantially plus my PCIe slots must be getting more cooling due to the ( hot running spinner HDDs being absent.
That's interesting as I've read multiple times here on this forum, that NVME PCIe SSD blades are getting easily hot, like 50-70C. Some users even modified the PCIe cards with custom heatsinks and get ahold of this issue. Compared to my 31C cold HDDs or 38C SATA SSD that's quite a contrast. How hot do your PCIe SSDs get?
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
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Which values should I check? IO? Data? How do I interpret these numbers and know that the SSD is the bottleneck?
Data, if stuck at 500MB/s for that few seconds waiting. Then 99% the bottleneck is from the SSD.

But if when you waiting, there is nothing special on the storage reading rate. But there is a CPU single process shows just a bit above 100% (e.g. 107%), then most like the CPU single thread performance is the bottleneck. further upgrade the storage may helps nothing.