PCIE M.2 NVMe on MacPro

superparati

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 11, 2016
101
15
London
Hi,

Yesterday I did install my new Lycom DT-120 with its SM951 512GB (NVMe) M.2 PCIe.
I've to admit, it's fast! Moving from a SSD SATA II to a PCIe SSD it is a different world!

With the raise of the SSD it change my way of working but in the meantime the size of the files just boom!
After working/testing with a RAM disk to improve my way of working with all the pros and cons, I found the best of the two worlds! Secure and efficient!

Here is how i did proceed to install my card and the SSD on my MacPro running over El Capitan.
my SIP was already deactivated, before anything I suggest you to deactivate the SIP if you are going to do the same :)

  1. Install your card on the Slot 3 or 4 of your MacPro
  2. Download the NVMe driver here
  3. Copy the kext file NVMeGeneric.kext into /Library/Extensions
  4. cmd + i on the Extensions folder and update the permission by clicking on "apply to enclosed items"
  5. Reboot my computer
  6. Open the terminal and enter the following command line: "
  7. sudo kextload /Library/Extensions/NVMeGeneric.kext"
  8. A popup window should appear asking you to reinitialise the new detected support.
  9. Do it
  10. Happy!

You can reactivate SIP after :)

Bench



However, the system information software doesn't seems to recognise the PCI card or the NVMe support.
When I click on NVMEExpress tab i have this message
This computer doesn't contain any NVMExpress devices. If you installed NVMExpress devices, make sure they are connected properly and powered on.

PCI tab
There was an error while gathering PCI device information.

Do you know why? is it a limitation of El capitan?

Other quick question because I don't find the answer. How can I activate the TRIM and where can I see the TRIM support confirmation?
The SSD is displayed as an external support which is strange with Disk utility.

Thanks!
 

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2015
430
157
Deep South
I too have the problem the PCI info in System Information displaying "There was an error while gathering PCI device information.".

PCI slot1: Radeon Sapphire Nitro R9 380X
PCI slot2: Acceslsior S SATA III card with Samsung 850 EVO 500GB - my boot disk with all my apps (use a HDD for my User data)
PCI slot3: USB 3.0 card (4 external ports)
PCI slot4: Nvidia GT120 512MB (for boot screens)

I'm waiting for a M.2 Samsung 960 EVO 500Gb NVMe blade to arrive, which will go in either slot 2 or slot 4 to replace the USB 3.0 card as I don't use it. Will let you know if anything shows up in the NVMEpress info.
 

Daniel Reed

macrumors 6502
Sep 9, 2016
278
283
San Francisco
Hi,

Yesterday I did install my new Lycom DT-120 with its SM951 512GB (NVMe) M.2 PCIe.
I've to admit, it's fast! Moving from a SSD SATA II to a PCIe SSD it is a different world!

With the raise of the SSD it change my way of working but in the meantime the size of the files just boom!
After working/testing with a RAM disk to improve my way of working with all the pros and cons, I found the best of the two worlds! Secure and efficient!

Here is how i did proceed to install my card and the SSD on my MacPro running over El Capitan.
my SIP was already deactivated, before anything I suggest you to deactivate the SIP if you are going to do the same :)

  1. Install your card on the Slot 3 or 4 of your MacPro
  2. Download the NVMe driver here
  3. Copy the kext file NVMeGeneric.kext into /Library/Extensions
  4. cmd + i on the Extensions folder and update the permission by clicking on "apply to enclosed items"
  5. Reboot my computer
  6. Open the terminal and enter the following command line: "
  7. sudo kextload /Library/Extensions/NVMeGeneric.kext"
  8. A popup window should appear asking you to reinitialise the new detected support.
  9. Do it
  10. Happy!

You can reactivate SIP after :)

Bench



However, the system information software doesn't seems to recognise the PCI card or the NVMe support.
When I click on NVMEExpress tab i have this message
This computer doesn't contain any NVMExpress devices. If you installed NVMExpress devices, make sure they are connected properly and powered on.

PCI tab
There was an error while gathering PCI device information.

Do you know why? is it a limitation of El capitan?

Other quick question because I don't find the answer. How can I activate the TRIM and where can I see the TRIM support confirmation?
The SSD is displayed as an external support which is strange with Disk utility.

Thanks!
Nice, those results are near identical to nMP 1TB [ :apple: silent upgrade ] performance!

I'm curious to see any benchs for this over TB2
 
Last edited:

Acden

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2016
55
2
Russian Federation
Hi,

Yesterday I did install my new Lycom DT-120 with its SM951 512GB (NVMe) M.2 PCIe.

Thanks!
Is it bootable configuration?

I'm sure that fastest SSD PCIe drive should be system-bootable. And looking for the best way for my Mac Pro 3.1 (2008), as it has SATA II limitation.

superparati, flowrider, what MacPro versions do you have? Are your PCIe drives bootable?
 
Last edited:

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,998
6,618
Hong Kong
Is it bootable configuration?

I'm sure that fastest SSD PCIe drive should be system-bootable. And looking for the best way for my Mac Pro 3.1 (2008), as it has SATA II limitation.

superparati, flowrider, what MacPro versions do you have? Are your PCIe drives bootable?
ACHI is bootable, NVMe is not.
 

superparati

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 11, 2016
101
15
London
Thanks all of you for your replay. Those new SSD are very trendy now!
Acden, my MacPro is a 4.1 flashed into 5.1 and runs the latest El Capitan build.
My SSD is using the NVMe protocol and not ACHI which makes it no bootable under El Capitan.

None of you have enable the TRIM support?
What is the difference between El Capitan and Sierra about the NVMe support?
 

AidenShaw

macrumors P6
Feb 8, 2003
18,602
4,607
The Peninsula
A bit faster than my SM951 AHCI

Lou
In other words, the inconvenience of NVMe buys you very little performance benefit.

(And I wouldn't be surprised if you both ran the test 20 times on clean (freshly erased) disks and compared the average that they'd be even closer.)

The single stream performance of NVMe and AHCI is nearly the same. Under heavy multi-stream loads (think busy web server or database) NVMe is much faster than AHCI.
 

kschendel

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
1,054
332
Are you sure it is about SSD drives? I think it depends on PCIe card controller/chip ?
It depends on the boot firmware (BIOS), which predates the NVMe protocol and hence knows nothing about it. You can't boot from a piece of hardware that you don't know how to talk to.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,998
6,618
Hong Kong
Are you sure it is about SSD drives? I think it depends on PCIe card controller/chip ?
On cMP, it's about the SSD drive, unless you can mod the Mac Pro firmware and make it understand what is NVMe SSD, and how to deal with it.
 

Acden

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2016
55
2
Russian Federation
It depends on the boot firmware (BIOS), which predates the NVMe protocol and hence knows nothing about it. You can't boot from a piece of hardware that you don't know how to talk to.
So did you mean that we can use any PCIe to M2 adapter and it would be bootable on Mac Pro 3.1 (2008) if we buy AHCI M2 SSD?


Sorry, what is cMP?
 

JedNZ

macrumors 6502
Dec 6, 2015
430
157
Deep South
cMP = Classic Mac Pro - all models from 1,1 to 5,1 – or in other words, all models prior to the Trashcan (6,1 = nMP).

My understanding is that you've read that correctly - any PCIe M.2 adapter coupled with an AHCI M.2 SSD is bootable. But I recommend you only purchase one that says specifically it's Mac Pro compatible, just to be sure.

Obviously not all SSDs are made equal - some provide much better Read/Write speeds, durability, reliability and build quality. I believe Samsung is best in class.
 
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orph

macrumors 68000
Dec 12, 2005
1,884
391
UK
also i think it's kind of pointless as a boot drive :eek: much more valid as a work drive.
 

Acden

macrumors member
Aug 13, 2016
55
2
Russian Federation
also i think it's kind of pointless as a boot drive :eek: much more valid as a work drive.
why not??? For example, my cMP (thx to JedNZ), is SATA-II compatible. So, I'm looking to buy PCIe M2 or PCIe SSD drive which will work a lot faster that standard cMP drive SATA-II bays!!! And all of the programms would start a lot faster!

Now I have SSD (Crucial m2) on standard drive bay and it is not fast!
 

rhodesy22

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2015
44
2
Nice, waiting on a TB3 enclosure (ideally portable) for my Samsung 960 to give me the best of all worlds.
 

h9826790

macrumors G5
Apr 3, 2014
13,998
6,618
Hong Kong
But you were so critical that it pointless as a boot drive??? Why?
Because the "boot" time won't improve by upgrading from SATA II SSD to PCIe SSD.
900x900px-LL-1fb52e74_Screenshot_1.png


Another member here tested on his cMP from SATA II SSD all the way to 4x SM951 RAID 0 (about 5700MB/s), the boot time always ~17s on his machine. For "boot" drive, it's about the low latency, not the sequential speed.

PCIe SSD may help on loading very large apps with huge library. But in general (I mean loading apps, but not copying large file etc.), should makes very little difference. Anyway, this is a video to show the apps loading time on my cMP with the 840 Evo just plug in the optical bay (SATA II connection). I am sure the PCIe SSD can do better, but I doubt if that really matter in real world.

 
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vailance88

macrumors newbie
Nov 15, 2016
23
3
anyone know where to get sm951 ahci based m.2 ssd? 256 or 512GB
most on the market right now are nvme bsed
 

superparati

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 11, 2016
101
15
London
After few chat with pikeralpha about the NVMe being recognised as an external drive he told me about a patch to apply on the IONVMeFamily.kext

Disable the SIP
  1. Use a hex editor
  2. make the required changes in: /S*/L*/Extensions/IONVMeFamily.kext/C*/M*/IONVMeFamily
  3. Search for..: 0x48, 0x85, 0xC0, 0x74, 0x07, 0x80, 0x8B, 0x00, 0x01, 0x00, 0x00, 0x10
  4. Replace with: 0x90, 0x90, 0x90, 0x90, 0x90, 0x80, 0x8B, 0x00, 0x01, 0x00, 0x00, 0x10
  5. Save the file

I did it but my NVMe is still described as an external device on system info and Disk utility.

Any suggestion?

I guess until the SSD will be seen as an external device TRIM won't work.
 

flowrider

macrumors 603
Nov 23, 2012
5,955
2,237
^^^^TRIM works fine on my AHCI SSDs, Three of them (on PCIe cards) are shown as external devices. Internal/External makes no difference.

Lou
 

superparati

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 11, 2016
101
15
London
How do you see that TRIM is active your your SSD?
Under storage (system info) here is the detail of my M.2 SSD

Fuji:
Available: 261.68 GB (261,681,803,264 bytes)
Capacity: 511.77 GB (511,766,216,704 bytes)
Mount Point: /Volumes/Fuji
File System: Journaled HFS+
Writable: Yes
Ignore Ownership: Yes
BSD Name: disk6s2
Volume UUID: AAFD6965-B9A1-390D-8BC0-59AB615FFEC7
Physical Drive:
Device Name: SAMSUNG MZVPV512HDGL-000H1
Media Name: MinnowStor SAMSUNG MZVPV512HDGL-000H1 Media
Medium Type: SSD
Protocol: PCI
Internal: No
Partition Map Type: GPT (GUID Partition Table)​
 
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