cMP PCIe SSD + NVMe FD - upgrade to HS

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2015
372
141
Deep South
I know my setup is a bit unusual/unique because I'm using a PCIe SSD for my boot/apps drive, and an NVMe + HD spinner Fusion Drive for all of my main User data. I just want to be certain of what methods for upgrading to HS are best for my setup. I don't want the hassle of having to install HS from scratch, and then having to install all of my apps etc, nor do I want to stuff up my FD User data as it's about 2TB and overtime I play around with my User data it has to re-upload all my 250GB Photos library (photos/videos) which takes almost 2 days (even though I've got super fast 960/400mbps Fibre).

As per my sig, I have a cMP 4,1>5,1 and I'm not completely sure what I need to do to upgrade to HS. I'm not sure whether I should just pull all of my drives and only upgrade with the Accelsior S PCIe SSD boot drive in place so that the upgrade doesn't interfere with my NVMe/spinner Fusion Drive or any of my other HFS+ HD spinners. And I'm not sure if there is native support for my NVMe drive, and if I need to curate a new NVMe kext (I currently use the Github method for Sierra).

My set up is as follows:
  • Accelsior S SATA III PCIe card with a Samsung 850 EVO for boot and apps, plus two Admin accounts (just in case the FD has issues).
  • A NVMe Samsung 960 EVO M.2 blade in a Fusion Drive with a WD spinner, for two primary User accounts.
  • Multiple other HD spinners for TM and backups etc.
  • Another Samsung 850 EVO for Windows 10 Pro.
Upgrading to HS
Q1: Remove other drives?
Should I remove all my other drives when upgrading to HS, just leaving the Accelsior S PCIe card with my current SSD boot on it, or is it safe for all/some of the other SSDs and HD spinners to remain in place?

Q2: Will my PCIe SSD boot drive be upgraded to APFS?
If I remove all of the other drives, will it upgrade my boot PCIe SSD to APFS, or leave it at HFS+? I read that if it sees HD spinners then the HS installer doesn't upgrade the boot SSD to APFS, but I can't confirm this anywhere. It does't bother me if it upgrades by boot SSD to APFS.

Q2: NVMe - to kext or not
Will I have to curate an NVMe kext in order for the NVMe drive to be seen in HS, or is there native support when I upgrade to HS?

Q3: Fusion Drive considerations
Will it matter that my NVMe is in a Fusion Drive with a HD spinner when I upgrade to HS?
Will my NVMe blade be upgraded to APFS if I left it installed when I upgrade to HS?
Can I upgrade my FD NVMe to APFS after I upgrade to HS? What are the benefits?
Would I need to disable the FD, then reformat it as APFS, and then rebuild the FD again?

Q4: Graphics card
Can I upgrade to HS with both my GT120 and my R9 380X GPU in place, or do I need to remove the R9 380X?

It's unlikely I'll upgrade this cMP before 10.13.1 comes out, just to be sure. But I need to have all of my ducks in a line before I start. I'll experiment with my other cMP 4,1>5,1 Hexa-core first, but it doesn't have a PCIe SSD (just a SSD in a direct connect bay) nor a NVMe FD setup, so it won't answer any of my questions for my main cMP. Any advice, suggestions appreciated.
 

MIKX

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2004
1,183
447
Japan
"
Q2: NVMe - to kext or not
Will I have to curate an NVMe kext in order for the NVMe drive to be seen in HS, or is there native support when I upgrade to HS?"

Sorry, no offense meant but .. what do you mean by "CURATE" ? Do you mean "CREATE " = "MAKE " ? Is "CURATE" a new tech word I haven't caught on to yet ?
 

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2015
372
141
Deep South
No offence taken - curate is sometimes used to describe "take control of, build, assemble in order to create a unique thing using a prescribed method" = create. More of a colloquial prose than the literal meaning, so I suppose it could well be regarded as a tech-specific word in this context. If I said "create" then that wouldn't necessarily indicate there was actually a strict process to follow that required several sequential steps. I could have used "craft" or "build", but I must have seen someone else use the term "curate" and have just continued using that for this context. Hope this didn't bore you or send you to sleep. As you can see from my OP, I respect verbosity - even regard it as a virtue. :)
 
Last edited:

MIKX

macrumors 65816
Dec 16, 2004
1,183
447
Japan
Nice, precise, edifying, polite and to the point answer. Thank you. Henceforth I will refer to you at Macrumors NVMe curator :).

PS: We can only hope that Apple will eventually allow us native NVMe booting.
 
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JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2015
372
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Deep South
Oh, forgot to mention that the kext you create has to be continually maintained when you apply security updates and/or macOS point updates, so kind of like what a museum curator does with antiquities and collector's pieces = cMP. Just applied the security update for macOS 10.12.6 and had to go through the rigmarole of having to go and remove the IONMVeFamily.kext file again so the HackrNVMeFamily kext hack would work. Grrr! I'd be happy just with NVMe mount support, even if I didn't/couldn't have boot support.
 

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Dec 6, 2015
372
141
Deep South
Sorry team, but I don't have the answers I need in order to know if I can update to HS.

Quick recap of my particular setup:
cMP: 4,1>5,1 – 12-core 3.33GHz (two X5680's) – 48GB ram (1333MHz) – GT120 (boot screens) – Sapphire R9 380X
Boot drive: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD in a PCIe card – contains my macOS system and all my apps as well as a spare Admin account.
User data: On a Fusion Drive – a Samsung 960 EVO 500GB NVMe blade in a PCIe card, paired with a 2TB HDD spinner in one of the internal direct connect bays. This is where all my main everyday User data resides.

As per my OP, before upgrading my boot PCIe SSD to High Sierra, should I remove (i.e. just take them out of the cMP, not deactivate the actual FD itself) my User data Fusion Drives (the NVMe and the HDD spinner) first? I'm thinking that taking the drives in the FD out of my cMP before I upgrade to HS would be safer than leaving them in when I upgrade.

Once my PCIe SSD is upgraded to HS, and after I put the FD drives back into my cMP (i.e. the NVMe and the HDD), will it automatically see and mount my NVMe and therefore will it see my FD and all the User data? Is there any chance that taking out the drives in the FS will somehow destroy the FD when I put those drives back into my cMP? And, will HS see the NVMe and be able to mount it without having to create a NVMe kext?