MP 1,1-5,1 I did a silly thing, bought a NVME ssd without thinking. Can you save me?

LordGrep

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 14, 2019
4
0
Hey good people!!

I have spent the last few months trying to bring my Mac Pro 5.1 back to life on a very silly budget (I'm disabled, and trying to live on £40 a week)...

I FINALLY did it!!! After months of saving for things, installing them only to find out it's not the issue, then selling them, saving more, and repeating I have a working Mac Pro 5.1 .

I had a bit of a windfall and thought I would treat myself with an SSD. I knew the NVME drives were the fastest, and all I have ever seen of them are little pictures on eBay or Amazon, I had just assumed they were 4X PCIe cards (they did have PCIe in the description so could you give me the tiniest bit of slack?

I ordered one of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/ADATA-SX8200-512GB-Gaming-Solid/dp/B07K1HMMJC

It had some really good reviews so I felt really happy about it. It hasn't arrived yet, but when I was looking at a larger picture that appeared in an email I realised something wasn't quite right. I looked into it, and sunk in my chair. Seems there is more to it than I thought.

I have spent the last 6 hours reading and watching youtube videos trying to find out the best way to go forward. Honestly, at one point, I had 50 tabs open on my browser. It's a real pain because trying to search for PCIe gen3 SSD in a PCIe gen2 motherboard as all sorts of ways of going wrong.

So I thought I would ask you amazing people, see if the hive mind can rescue me from myself.

It seems like an adapter that has switching or something is the best thing to go for, but I am just lost now.

Can someone suggest a card for me that costs less than £40 and isn't going to take a month to arrive from China, and will give me a decent performance boost over just a normal SATA SSD? Or can you tell me if my best bet is just to send it back, and give up? I have put so much love, effort and (as a percentage of my income) money into my lovely MacPro, I just want the best for her. (God it's so nice to be back on a mac compared to winblows)...

Thank you all for your help !!!
 
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TheDevler

macrumors newbie
Apr 13, 2019
3
1
I think you're fine. You just need to be running the latest bootrom. You can find bootrom details and what they do on this forum. But the short answer is update your mac using the FULL download from the Mac App Store. Not just by hitting update. And then you need a NVME to PCIE card to put in one of your PCIE slots inside. These are fairly cheap as they don't require as special processor on the board. It's just rewiring your card from NVME to PCIE so there's no speed loss as a result.

It's all pretty common and should be a stress free operation.

Edit: I went back and looked and the NVME update requires running Mojave which requires a GPU that has "Metal 2.0" support. The GPU thread here will help you find that as well. So sorry that there maybe more money involved.
 
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thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
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known but velocity indeterminate
I haven't had old hardware since it was new hardware so I'm not an expert on what can/can't be done with those old systems but is there something in your workload that requires NVME speeds? Traditional SSDs aren't slow for general computing tasks (although I think you'll be limited slightly by SATA II rather than III in those old systems, still much faster than spinners though) so canceling your order and just picking up a basic 2.5" SATA SSD could be an option as well. I don't know if you plan to edit 4K+ video or such though on a regular basis.
 
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defjam

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2019
515
385
Edit: I went back and looked and the NVME update requires running Mojave which requires a GPU that has "Metal 2.0" support. The GPU thread here will help you find that as well. So sorry that there maybe more money involved.
OP, given your limited budget the acquisition of a Metal capable GPU may be a road block for you. Do you have someone who can lend you a Metal capable GPU so you can perform an upgrade to Mojave? I believe you would only need the GPU for the Mojave installation (which is where the firmware is upgraded). I would recommend reading this thread which is very detailed and written by the very knowledgeable tsialex:


Once you've got the firmware upgraded all you would need is an inexpensive PCIe to NVMe adapter. If you're unable to do this then I agree with thisisnotmyname and send it back and remain with the SATA SSD. Unless you have a need for PCIe speeds it's unlikely you'll ever notice the difference.
 

LordGrep

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 14, 2019
4
0
And then you need a NVME to PCIE card to put in one of your PCIE slots inside. These are fairly cheap as they don't require as special processor on the board. It's just rewiring your card from NVME to PCIE so there's no speed loss as a result.
Thanks for that. I am running Catalina, my issue is knowing what PCIe board to buy as the NVME is PCIe gen3, but the Mac Pro is Gen2, and I have read a lot that suggests that if I get any old adapter card it will revert to PCIe gen1... It's the card adapter I am stuck for, as there are tones out there and they vary from £5 to £400... I am trying to find the card that will take the best advantage of the SSD for the least amount of £££s

I haven't had old hardware since it was new hardware so I'm not an expert on what can/can't be done with those old systems but is there something in your workload that requires NVME speeds? Traditional SSDs aren't slow for general computing tasks (although I think you'll be limited slightly by SATA II rather than III in those old systems, still much faster than spinners though) so canceling your order and just picking up a basic 2.5" SATA SSD could be an option as well. I don't know if you plan to edit 4K+ video or such though on a regular basis.
Yeah, I am running a SATA drive at the moment. It's ok, I am just trying to get the most I can out of the old girl. I will be using it for mostly video editing, and music production. The SATA drive I have though is a really old one 8 years old I think.

OP, given your limited budget the acquisition of a Metal capable GPU may be a road block for you. Do you have someone who can lend you a Metal capable GPU so you can perform an upgrade to Mojave? I believe you would only need the GPU for the Mojave installation (which is where the firmware is upgraded). I would recommend reading this thread which is very detailed and written by the very knowledgeable tsialex:
I already have Catalina installed.. Used the cheeky upgrade script: http://dosdude1.com/catalina/ If I need to go back to Mojave that is doable. I might be skint but I'm not afraid of getting my terminal dirty <grin>.
 

LordGrep

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 14, 2019
4
0
OP, given your limited budget the acquisition of a Metal capable GPU may be a road block for you. Do you have someone who can lend you a Metal capable GPU so you can perform an upgrade to Mojave? I believe you would only need the GPU for the Mojave installation (which is where the firmware is upgraded). I would recommend reading this thread which is very detailed and written by the very knowledgeable tsialex:


Once you've got the firmware upgraded all you would need is an inexpensive PCIe to NVMe adapter. If you're unable to do this then I agree with thisisnotmyname and send it back and remain with the SATA SSD. Unless you have a need for PCIe speeds it's unlikely you'll ever notice the difference.
I forgot to say thank you for the link to the instructions, so.... Thank you for the instructions.. <grin>.
- - Post merged: - -

If anyone has any X5690 pairs they want to sell or swap or donate I'd be very grateful indeed or any large ram chips. I've got 18GB in there at the moment. I only just found out the processors were only 2.6Ghz, I should have spent the beans on those X5690s <shakes head>. Might just write to Santa Claws.
 
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fatespawn

macrumors regular
Feb 22, 2009
179
84
Chicagoish
Thanks for that. I am running Catalina, my issue is knowing what PCIe board to buy as the NVME is PCIe gen3, but the Mac Pro is Gen2, and I have read a lot that suggests that if I get any old adapter card it will revert to PCIe gen1
If you're running Catalina already, just buy this. Less than $40USD


That's what I'm running with a "Gen3" Samsung 970Pro NVME boot drive in Mojave.

Unless you spend big bucks on a faster PCI card, you're not going to exceed 1500MB Read/Writes anyway. Besides, 1500MB/s is about 3x faster than a SATA SSD.
 

tsialex

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
6,234
6,921
Brazil
Thanks for that. I am running Catalina, my issue is knowing what PCIe board to buy as the NVME is PCIe gen3, but the Mac Pro is Gen2, and I have read a lot that suggests that if I get any old adapter card it will revert to PCIe gen1... It's the card adapter I am stuck for, as there are tones out there and they vary from £5 to £400... I am trying to find the card that will take the best advantage of the SSD for the least amount of £££s



Yeah, I am running a SATA drive at the moment. It's ok, I am just trying to get the most I can out of the old girl. I will be using it for mostly video editing, and music production. The SATA drive I have though is a really old one 8 years old I think.



I already have Catalina installed.. Used the cheeky upgrade script: http://dosdude1.com/catalina/ If I need to go back to Mojave that is doable. I might be skint but I'm not afraid of getting my terminal dirty <grin>.
You are doing this the wrong way. To boot a NVMe device you need first to upgrade to a Mojave firmware >= 140.0.0.0.0. The current one is 144.0.0.0.0. Without this you won't boot from a NVMe blade.

Hacked installs don't work for firmware upgrade. You will need to install Sierra from a createinstallmedia USB installer in a fully erased drive and start from there, first upgrade to MP51.0089.B00 using 10.13.6 Mac App Store High Sierra full installer then to 144.0.0.0.0 with 10.14.6 Mac App Store Mojave full installer.

Read with utmost attention this post:MP5,1: What you have to do to upgrade to Mojave (BootROM upgrade instructions thread)
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,511
6,694
Can someone suggest a card for me that ...snip... will give me a decent performance boost over just a normal SATA SSD?
NVME does not give a human-noticeable performance boost over SATA SSD in almost all real-world scenarios. I think it is very unlikely your use cases include one of those rare scenarios. The best suggestion I can give to someone, especially trying to live off of 40 quid a week, is to return the NVME drive and get a SATA drive.
 

jbarley

macrumors 68040
Jul 1, 2006
3,805
1,639
Vancouver Island
THERE IS NO REASON ANY AUTHENTIC MP5,1 2010 OR 2012 MACHINE NEEDS TO USE DOSDUDE PATCHER OR OTHER HACK METHODS TO UPDATE TO THE 144.0.0.0.0 FIRMWARE
Just in case you missed it, the dosdude patcher was only used as a simple method to download the latest Mojave version, the patch features are not used at all.

The Tools menu.
Tools -> Download macOS Mojave
 
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bsbeamer

macrumors 68040
Sep 19, 2012
3,294
1,665
If you’re on an MP5,1 or even an MP4,1 that ID’s as an MP5,1 there is NO REASON to even install the DosDude patcher for Mojave installs or updates. The MP5,1 is an approved machine for Mojave by Apple. Keep it legit and avoid problems down the road.

The “installinstallmacos” script will solve any download issues from MAS with attempting to access the full installers.