NVMe on MacPro 3.1 Success! (sort of...)

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by PaulB-UK, Jan 9, 2017.

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  1. PaulB-UK macrumors newbie

    PaulB-UK

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
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    #1
    This may have been discussed to death already, so my apologies if I'm covering old ground.

    I decided to treat my trusty old Mac Pro 3.1 running El Capitan to an internal SSD. Impatience, lack of research and possibly a tiny bit of stupidity led me to buy a 256GB Samsung NVMe PM961. (I now know I should have bought an AHCI card, but they don't seem to be for sale any more...) I also bought a generic M.2 PCIe adapter.

    Fitted it, and... no surprises, it didn't work.

    A bit more Googling led me to http://www.macvidcards.com/nvme-driver.html by JimJ740.

    As per the FAQ, installed the kext to /Library/Extensions (along with setting the permissions...)

    Again, nothing.

    Loaded the kext manually. SUCCESS! The drive appeared and was dealt with by Disk Utility.

    Flushed with success, I copied the kext to /System/Library/Extensions

    After a reboot... Kernel Panic.

    So, card out, reboot, delete the kext from /System/Library/Extensions.

    Power down, card re-installed, machine booted fine, but no sign of the drive until I manually loaded the kext again.

    Reboot again... Kernel Panic. Remove card. Boot fine. Shutdown. Install card. No sign of it until manually loading the kext.

    Lesson learned: manually *UNload* the kext before shutting down.

    So, there we have it. I have a working 256GB NVMe SSD, albeit I have to load and unload the kext for it, which isn't a major problem.

    I then wondered why it was so slow (yes, it is plugged into Slot 2, the spare PCIe 2 slot).

    More Googling led me to this fine forum, and after removing 16GB of ram to bring my total down to 48GB I now have quite impressive performance! (I'll add a speed-test screenshot later - on a different computer atm).

    So, thanks to JimJ740 and others of this fine forum. 2 problems solved for the price of one :)

    Cheers

    Paul B.
     
  2. Acden macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    #2
    So, it's good idea to buy NVme or not?!

    Ram improves your desktop better?
     
  3. PaulB-UK thread starter macrumors newbie

    PaulB-UK

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    #3
    The NVMe drive gives me a 700MB/s drive! Roughly 7 times faster than the current boot drive I have. So, yes it's worth it if you want a drive with lightning fast I/O.

    "You can never have too much ram." - Well, it seems you can. My machine performs better with 48GB than it did with 64GB. Strange, but true.
     
  4. Slash-2CPU macrumors member

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    Dec 14, 2016
    Location:
    New Orleans, USA
    #4
    Not. NVMe is not bootable on Mac Pro 4,1 or 5,1. It's also not simple to use and unsupported, which means any OS update could break functionality.

    AHCI PCIe SSD is bootable and completely supported. Kingston HyperX Predator would be the best easily-available example. Samsung XP941 and SM951(AHCI version) are two other, harder to find examples. The SM951 is the fastest, but in ordinary use, the difference isn't noticeable.
     
  5. patdohere macrumors newbie

    patdohere

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
    #5
    The Mac Pro 4,1/5,1 runs its memory at different speeds depending on if you install 6 modules or 8 modules. With 6 modules your memory runs in triple channel mode while with 8 modules it runs in dual channel mode.

    Reference: http://apple.stackexchange.com/ques...-slots-in-dual-channel-mode-or-6-ram-slots-in
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

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    #6
    For just 700MB/s, I can't see any reason to use a NVMe drive. Any AHCI PCIe SSD can easily perform better than that with native support and bootable.

    48G (optimised to triple channel architecture) can easily score a lot higher than 64GB (use all slots) in benchmark, but it rarely work better in real world.
     
  7. PaulB-UK thread starter macrumors newbie

    PaulB-UK

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    #7
    "I can't see any reason to use a NVMe drive." - See the 2nd paragraph of my original post.

    700MB/s is perfect for my Aperture library, especially for such an old machine.

    I thought AHCI PCIe SSDs were treated like SATA-III so are limited to 6Gbps (550MB/s) or thereabouts? I take your point about them being bootable though. That would be an advantage.

    And with 64GB ram, the disk test speeds were pitiful. Like painfully bad. After reading online somewhere about the issue, I removed 16GB and the speed tests were all over double. So, a heck of a real world difference...

    This is where my Googling led me: http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/cmp-2008-64gb-mem-slow-disks-while-48-gb-fast-disks-why.1940030/

    Screen Shot 2017-01-28 at 09.59.14.png
     
  8. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    Location:
    Poland
    #8
    Nope. Only these with PCIe 2.0 will in a 3,1.
    PCIe 3.0 ones will be maxed-out at the same level as this 961.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

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    #9
    Why the AHCI PCIe SSD's performance will limit to SATA III speed? That doesn't make any sense to me. The adaptor for AHCI SSD is the same as your current NVMe adaptor. So, the adaptor won't make any difference. And as long as the SSD is fast enough, that should gives you the same speed limit (700MB/s in your case) on the same machine (same slot) but not any slower.
     
  10. PaulB-UK thread starter macrumors newbie

    PaulB-UK

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    #10
    I was under the impression that:

    NVMe PCIe SSD = M key = PCIe(v3) x 4 so a throughput of nearly 4GB/s
    AHCI PCIe SSD = M+B key = PCIe(v2) x 2 so a throughput of nearly 1GB/s

    Many M+B key adapters also have a SATA III interface on the card. Maybe that's what confused me.

    It seems I'm facing another issue. *Every* PCIe slot in my machine is running at 2.5GT/s i.e. PCIe v1.0

    I suspect my video card is the culprit (a flashed Radeon HD7950). If I can get slot 2 up to 5GT/s then I should see double my current throughput on the NVMe SSD.
     
  11. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #11
    Nope, you won't. Unfortunately 3,1 has an issue with PCIe 3.0 SSDs. Can negotiate only 2.5GT/s with them. You'd need XP941 or Kingston HyperX which are PCIe 2.0 and work with full speed in a 3,1. AHCI SSDs are x2 and x4, depends on the controller they use.
     
  12. William_si macrumors regular

    William_si

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2016
    Location:
    Croatia
    #12
    AHCI SSDs as the Predator are M key and x4 2.0 or 3.0 (Samsung). They do not use SATA as connecttion protocol and just like SAS are not bound to the 6Gbit limit.

    B+M key can have x2 but this is rare, the MB Air uses something like that but custom.

    E key is x1 for wifi/BT
     
  13. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    The Peninsula
    #13
    Note that NVMe drives really shine when you have tens of thousands of concurrent IOs in flight. (NVMe can process the transfers in parallel, while AHCI puts them in a shallow queue based on the assumption of a spinning drive with a single arm for the heads.)

    NVMe's single-stream performance is similar to AHCI PCIe drives.
     
  14. PaulB-UK thread starter macrumors newbie

    PaulB-UK

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    #14
    Thanks for the replies. All good info. It seems I may be wasting my time with this NVMe SSD then... I'd better raid the piggy bank and buy something different I guess!
     
  15. Slash-2CPU macrumors member

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    Location:
    New Orleans, USA
    #15
    Look at the Kingston HyperX Predator. Will be as fast as your NVMe SSD, but bootable and cheaper per GB.

    The Kingston drive is *technically* slower than the Samsung you have now, but either drive can max out the PCIe bus in a MP 3,1 and the difference even in a MP 4,1 or 5,1 is minimal.
     
  16. turtledrum13 macrumors newbie

    turtledrum13

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2017
    #16
    Paul,

    Could you please list the exact steps for manually loading and unloading the kext? I also have a 960 Evo series SSD I'm trying to get to work.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  17. JedNZ, Jun 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017

    JedNZ macrumors 6502

    JedNZ

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
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    Deep South
    #17
    Go to the Github page here and download the files. Follow the instructions to curate your own NVMe kext file that will allow your system to see and play with your 960 blade. My journey might also help you. Just make sure that when you install your newly curated NVMe kext file (titled HackrNVMeFamily-10_12_5.kext) using Kext Utility, that you also remove Apple's IONVMeFamily.kext - both located in System/Library/Extensions.

    To load the newly curated and installed kext, in Terminal type:
    sudo kextload (with a space afterwards)
    and then drag the new kext file so that it completes the file path.

    It should look like this:
    sudo kextload /System/Library/Extensions/HackrNVMeFamily-10_12_5.kext

    Shutdown, install your blade and reboot.

    In my case SIP was inadvertently enabled again because I unplugged the power (and therefore reset the SMC) when I installed the PCIe adapter containing my blade. So after successive boot crashes I rebooted into RecoveryHD, discovered SIP had been enabled again, so I disabled it and restarted again and *voila* my Samsung 960 EVO was magically there on my Desktop.
     
  18. armdn macrumors member

    armdn

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    #18
    Well, i have a full success with booting up macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 from Intel 750 NVMe SSD U.2 in Mac Pro 3,1.
     
  19. Acden macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2016
    #19
    What did you perform to make it visible in booting time (e.g. with Option button pressed during the start)?
     
  20. Acden macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2016
    #20
    It's cool!

    And how did you get it to see on boot menu (pressing option during the boot)?
     
  21. armdn macrumors member

    armdn

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2012
    #21
    Standard Boot selector will not recognize NVMe drive in cMP. But rEFInd will do with appropriate efi driver.
     
  22. fpdesign macrumors newbie

    fpdesign

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #22
    How to have bootable MACPRO3,1 and PCIe and NVMe drive

    Is important the Pcie card ?

    What the best Pcie card

    OWC Mercury AccelsiorM PCIe

    Or

    Lycom DT-120


    Or is more importante the SSD ?

    What the best SSD M2 for have Mac Pro 3.1 bootable ?


    Kingston Predator HyperX

    or

    Samsung MZ-N6E500BW 860 EVO M.2

    thanx
     
  23. tsialex, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68020

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #23
    To have NVMe with MP3,1 you need to inject the NVMe EFI module into your BootROM.

    Forget both this cards, go for:

    Angelbirds Wings PX1 or Aqua Computer kryoM2 evo

    The PCIe adapter is important, PCIe high performance blades get hot, you need a card with an integrated heatsink. You don't want the blade cook itself.

    860 EVO M.2 is a SATA disk in M2 format.

    The best PCIe NVMe blade today is Samsung 970Pro 512GB or 1TB, but with a MP3,1 you will get better throughput with a PCIe 2.0 AHCI like Kingston Predator or Samsung XP941. MP3,1 options are limited if you want the best possible throughput.

    Read this thread: Blade SSDs - NVMe & AHCI
     
  24. fpdesign macrumors newbie

    fpdesign

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Location:
    Italy
    #24
    Thanx. for the support

    I have find on ebay a used SSD 480GB Kingston Predator HyperX - M.2 (2280) PCIe / NVMe for only 135 euro/$

    I'm searching a bootable card for the Mac Pro 3.1

    How to inject NVMe EFI in my BootRom

    I will use

    macOS High Sierra Patcher - dosdude1

    So there is a solution Out of te box ?
     
  25. tsialex, Oct 12, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 68020

    tsialex

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Location:
    Brazil
    #25
    Old Predator HyperX is a AHCI PCIe, no need to inject or patch anything. If you get a new version, NVMe one, you will need to inject the NVMe EFI module with this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1WNkM9LuGPq1sArO9EedWBHYq14NU7m-mDBLAWWJipyM/mobilebasic

    Any AHCI blade will work out-of-the-box.

    Old models of Kingston Predator, Samsung XP941, Samsung SM951-AHCI are all out-of-the-box.
     

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