NVMe m.2 SSD PCIe card for MP 4,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Dark Goob, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Dark Goob, Oct 27, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015

    Dark Goob macrumors regular

    Dark Goob

    Jun 6, 2007
    Portland, OR

    I'm upgrading my 2009 MP's aging hard drive RAID finally. Replacing the boot drive with a PCIe SSD (m.2 card in a PCIe holder).

    I've zeroed in on the new Samsung 950 PRO (mfr. site | amazon), which is the new mass market version of the famous SM951. 950 PRO uses 3D VNAND and NVMe, and ships next week supposedly.

    Which PCIe card can I get that will give me NVMe booting support with the 2009 Mac Pro under El Cap.?

    Lycom's website says its DT-120 PCIe adapter supports NVMe... can anyone confirm this? That would be great because it is only $28 at Amazon. But I'm hesitant because of this Apple discussion thread that says MP 5,1's EFI will not allow booting via NVMe devices. I don't know if they tried under El Capitan, or if that would make a difference.

    I realize there won't be much difference to the older SM951, but it seems hard to find and is priced at $469 on NewEgg.com as opposed to the 950 PRO for $349.99. RamCity through Amazon SM951 for cheaper but they are based out of Australia, and I don't know how I feel about buying OEM components internationally.


    EDIT: I found some more threads claiming NVMe won't boot on cMP. WTF Apple?! We better organize for a firmware update. This is a travesty! But I see no word on this from Apple's own support website. How do we know it's not just from an incompatibility with the current PCIe cards? Has anyone tried other brands than Lycom to see if it makes a difference?
  2. SoyCapitanSoyCapitan macrumors 601


    Jul 4, 2015
    Don't blame Apple. The ageing X58 chipset doesn't support NVME. The OS has support built in.
  3. pastrychef, Oct 28, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015

    pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Why not blame Intel for the travesty of conspiring against the world because they were unable to predict that the future would bring this new technology when they created these chipsets all those years ago?
  4. 5050 macrumors regular

    May 28, 2009
  5. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    I want to upgrade my old 4,1 Mac Pro so bad because it's cheap, but it's little things like this that have me looking at a 5K iMac instead.
  6. dmylrea macrumors 68030


    Sep 27, 2005
    You don't need a NVMe SSD, you can get an almost equivalent Samsung SM951 AHCI version and it work just fine in your old 4,1. In fact, it's been said that these PCIe drives aren't realistically any faster than a SATA3 drive. Go with that. Lots of options other than a 5K iMac.

    Or, you can spend $2000-$3000 on a 5K iMac and have no upgradability in the future (except memory).
  7. mmendoza27 macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2007
    Well, the 5K screen plays a lot into my decision. I did do a quick search through the Mac Pro forums to see what's the best here and there and things have gotten cheaper since the last time I looked. RAM is $100 cheaper, you can get delidded CPUs on eBay for $200-$450 (with the 5,1 firmware update), and $430 or so for a 512 GB SM951 with the Lycom DT-120.

    Still looking at which GTX 970 to get and I could probably push some decent monitors as well.
  8. PowerMike G5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2005
    New York, NY
    If it gives you some peace of mind, I got my SM951/LyCom DT-120 from RamCity when it first came out and I've had no problems. They ship fast and have great customer service.

    As people have mentioned, it's 5+ year old logic board hardware that simply just doesn't support it, despite software being able to. But the SM951 is pretty much equal in speed and is fully supported, so you should certainly just go that route.

    Although PCIe SSDs are amazingly fast, its all in context of how you plan to use it. If you are looking for a boot drive, any 6G SATA SSD with similar small read/write operations will be just as fast, if not even faster, as long as its on a PCIe card on what of your x4 slots. Where these PCIe SSDs really shine is large sequential read/writes, which smokes any SATA-based SSD. So as a media scratch disk or read drive is where they really shine. But you do get the best of both worlds with a PCIe SSD blade like the SM951, so its the one to get if you are only looking to upgrade to one SSD.
  9. PowerMike G5 macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2005
    New York, NY
    I actually just got the top-line LG DCI 4K 31" monitor for my cMP and it runs beautifully from my GTX 980 in full 4K DCI mode. So you can have a ll the expendability of your pro while still have equal/better screens than the iMac available to you.
  10. downhillpony, Apr 12, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2016

    downhillpony macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2006
    what the heck is a cMP ?
    I realize it's some kind of acronym for a mac pro , but what ?
    I have a 2009 Mac Pro 4,1
    I would like to upgrade to an m2 card also ..
    but it's hard to follow this thread unless I know what the heck cMP stands for
  11. jameslmoser macrumors 6502a


    Sep 18, 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    cMP = classic mac pro, meaning before they turned it into a cylinder. Your 4,1 is a cMP. =)
  12. downhillpony macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2006
    thanks a lot ...
    that was bugging the crap out of me ..
    now I get it

    cMP = classic mac pro = boat anchor
    nMP = new Mac Pro = trash can

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12 October 27, 2015