PCIE part option question..

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by LEOMODE, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. LEOMODE, Feb 26, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017

    LEOMODE macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #1
    Currently on slot 1, I'm using GTX680.

    I have slot 2,3 and 4 open and it seems like 3 and 4 are speed 4x.

    Here are my questions:

    1) what is the speed for slot 2? is it the same 16x as slot 1?
    2) What would be some part option that a lot of people use in these pcie slots?
    3) If the option is blade ssd, since I can't boot my OS up from there, it's just for data backup purposes right? I mean, I would love to have blade for my main OS and bootup for my current SATA2 speed ssd, but if that's not the case I don't see a point.
    4) For 3), can you boot up for Windows Boot Camp though?
    5) I already bought usb 3.0 hub, but I can utilize that in slot 3 or 4 and still wouldn't make a difference than putting on slot 2 right?

    FYI, I'm not into raid.

    Thank you so much for your help in advance.
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #2
    I assume you are talking about 4,1 / 5,1.

    1) same as slot 1, PCIe 2.0 x16

    2) 2nd GPU, PCIe SSD (or even 4x SM951 in RAID 0), USB 3.0, etc.

    3) you can boot from a PCIe SSD. Also, "booting" from a super fast SSD is one of the most meaningless reason to move to PCIe SSD. The boot time won't improve significantly from SATA II SSD to PCIe SSD, at least not for this generation's OS (zero improvement in some case indeed). The idea of using SPCIe SSD is for something else, but not for faster boot.

    4) 100% yes, if your question means "boot from the SSD on a PCIe card", however, not all adaptor / SSD can do this job properly.

    5) no difference.
     
  3. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    Thanks a lot for your reply. That was really helpful. One question though. For 3) and 4), I am not to replace ssd to pcie blade for booting purposes of course, but for a performance boost overall like from a conventional hdd to ssd.

    Now that you confirmed it is bootable for both OS, are you saying that ssd and pcie blade still wouldn't make any noticeable real world difference? I mean I don't transfer a lot of files anyway, maybe photo video editing once in a while but not always. My main tasks are Office, internet, gaming and such.

    If it does make a difference and is worth upgrading, which blade and adapter is capable of booting in both Mac os and boot camp?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  4. h9826790, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017

    h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #4
    For PCIe SSD, they are very good for dealing with very large files. e.g. copying videos, unzipping huge files, loading a VM, etc.

    For office, gaming, web browsing. There is not much difference between PCIe SSD and SATA SSD. 100% sure the difference is nowhere near the improvement from HDD to SSD.

    I do some photo / video editing as well. And this is my SSD usage history.
    Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 03.17.54.jpg
    Despite the SATA II speed limit is around 250MB/s, and my SSD can run at 250MB/s (confirmed by benchmark). My real world usage rarely hit 50% of the bandwidth over the last 7 days. That's including some photoshop, and simple video editing. So, in my own workflow, even SATA II is not a limiting factor for me. Moving to PCIe SSD is more for fun if I do that.

    Reality is, PCIe SSD only able to achieve that crazy speed in sequential read / write. So, if you are not dealing with huge files regularly, you can hardly benefit from a PCIe SSD (AHCI).

    For small files read write (e.g. 4k random read), there is only minor performance difference between a SM951 and a 850 Pro. Both are doing <50MB/s (for your info, HDD is about 1MB/s, that's why you feel the significant improvement from HDD to SSD. It's nothing about the sequential speed, but random read speed. Because OS are formed by thousands of small files, but not a single huge file)
    Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 03.35.02.jpg

    In any case, PCIe SSD is faster, but most likely not that much as you are expecting (depends on your workflow). If your SSD history shows that you regularly hit the 250MB/s limit, then a SATA III card or PCIe SSD will help.

    Since the PCIe SSD adaptor is nothing more than a pure adaptor (no controller on it), that means any adaptor should able to do the job, just different in price, looking, quality, etc. For SSD, SM951 (AHCI) is the best you can get. However, installing Windows on it is tricky. Only few members here report success, quite a few goes into different kind of trouble. Since there is no significant benefit by "booting" from PCIe SSD, or even from a SATA III card, so, I personally won't recommend anyone to do it. Booting from a SSD that connected to the native SATA II port is the most trouble free solution, boot time is more or less the same, apps loading time may be just half second more. So, store the OS and apps on the SATA SSD, and install another PCIe SSD for very heavy duty make more sense to me. The space on PCIe SSD is valuable, storing OS files / apps is not the best way to utilise it.

    e.g. For VM, I will choose to install Parallel on the SATA SSD (same SSD as the OS), but the entire VM file will be on the PCIe SSD. Or FCPX is on the SATA SSD, but put the 100GB 4K video file on the PCIe SSD for editing.

    As a general rule, PCIe SSD is good for everything, but since the price is high, and the size is relatively small. So, better to use it for very large files. If money is not an issue, go for it, it's no doubt the best hard drive.

    SATA SSD is good for most stuff, not as fast as PCIe SSD, but small files read write are good enough for OS, apps, photos. By considering the price is much lower than PCIe SSD and the size is larger. It should be the optimum solution for most normal computer user.

    HDD is good for providing storage space. It's cheap. In fact, it's quite good for medium size files (e.g. 100MB). By considering it's sequential speed is usually >100MB/s. Loading medium size files still just a matter of second. However, dealing with small files is horrible (because of the latency from the mechanical movement), we should let SSD to take over this job. And deal with huge files also very painful (e.g. it can take >20min to just copy a 150GB video file, which a PCIe SSD only need <2min)..
     
  5. LEOMODE, Feb 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017

    LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #5
    Oh man, thank you so much for your long and informative post. You might've just saved a person from spending extra money.

    The reason why I asked was because I did notice some snappiness on newer Macbook Pro retinas (or even quadcore windows equipped pc laptops) which seemed to be a bit faster visually than my Mac Pro. So i just thought pcie was a bit faster not like hdd to ssd but slightly on ssd to pcie.

    Now that I just realized there was a program that tracks my ssd speed usage, I will definitely track mine and see what my usage is too (what's the program name by the way? I want to use for both Windows and Mac OS...I actually use Windows more often).

    I hope my usage is just SATA II level which I believe so. In that case I can just probably upgrade to a bigger storage instead to 1TB.

    Again thanks so much. You really helped.
     
  6. LEOMODE thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
    Hey there, mind if you can tell me which program/app you use to find out ssd speed usage for both Windows and Mac OS? :) Thanks.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #7
    One other thing to consider is virtual memory. On my very old MacBook, I was limited to 8GB RAM and I often found the system using virtual memory and lots of page outs. Having my SSD on SATA 2 definitely had an impact on how sluggish everything felt when this happened.

    One of the reasons why more modern Apple laptops get away with having only 8GB RAM or less is that they use very fast SSDs which greatly lessen the impact of virtual memory.
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #8
    Very true, but I think on the cMP,upgrade the RAM usually is the cheaper, easier, and more direct solution.

    I use iStat for that. I only use Windows for gaming, so don't really too care about it.
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #9
    It depends a lot on apps. I have 64GB and I still end up using swap memory.
    Screen Shot 2017-03-03 at 6.36.18 AM.png
     

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