Recommendation on the SSD on Mac Pro 2006 and 2009

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by philm001, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. philm001 macrumors member

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    #1
    Hello all,

    This is another topic that I have been looking into that I have some questions about. I remember that there was a SSD guide somewhere on this forum. But for the life of me, I can't seem to find it. I have some questions about SSDs in Mac pro 2009 and 2006 and I have a few items that I need help clarifying.

    For the 2009 Mac, I am looking at adding in a M.2 card. I know that the Macs do not boot from PCIe. But, I found a guide (and downloaded the guide) that basically hacks the Mac firmware to allow booting from PCIe. It is titled "The Mac Pro NVMe upgrade Apple forgot..". So I am all set there. Only issue is the parts that I need to pick out. I think I need some assistance sifting through all of the information. So I am going to place down what I understand and hopefully someone will let me know if I am right or not.

    Out of the box, PCIe M.2 can only be used for storage. Ideally, I should be placing the M.2 adapter in slot 3 or 4 of the PCIe bus for 2009. If I place the card in anything other then slot 3 or 4, my speeds will be halved. Supposedly, I can get 6000 MB/s speeds but that requires the Highpoint 7101 adapter and that is like $300. Looking into it, it looks like the highpoint adapter uses the full x16 lane so I was wondering, if I get this adapter, would I be able to get speeds higher then 1500 MB/s (the speed for the x4 adapter):

    https://www.amazon.com/SHINESTAR-Ad...662733&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=x16+PCIe+2+Squid

    Now, I was watching this guys video:


    and he is using this adapter:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...e=shr&tag=zpmedia-20&linkId=OJOKJYGAANKATDMO&

    the benchmarks are around 1300 MB/sec. If i go for the Squid, would that enable faster speeds then the link above if I placed the Squid in slot 3? The SSD that I am looking at would be Samsung EVO 970?

    Note: I am also looking at:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GNDDNLD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0FGTBbJCHV88D

    Or, it doesn't matter what adapter I go with, I can only get a theoretical max speed of 1500 MB/s?

    As an additional side note, are there any particular adapters that I should go for and can I use any of them in general?

    Now, onto the 2006 Mac pro.

    PCIe storage was added in OSX 10.13. Which, I can only go up to 10.11 on this machine so no M.2 storage for me. That is fine. So what about a SATA to PCIe in the 2006 Mac? The SATA drives only go up to SATA 2. Would I be able to use something like this and then place a SATA 3 SSD into the adapter?

    https://www.amazon.com/Apricorn-Velocity-Extreme-Performance-VEL-SOLO-X2/dp/B0090IA3GY/

    Now my next question would be, can any adapter work or are there any particular ones that I need to get?

    I also believe that even if I get the PCIe to Sata 3 adapter, I still can't boot from the SSD because that is totally not supported. I also can't apply the same hack that I found for the 2009 mac because that hack is not supported on 2006 machines.

    So, if I wanted a bootable SSD on the 2006 Mac, I would need to use the SATA 2 ports in the harddrive bay or is there another way?

    *I should also note that the 2006 mac has been flashed to 2.1 and the 2009 mac has been flashed to 5.1
     
  2. h9826790, Oct 4, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018

    h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #2
    Flash your 2009 to 5,1. Then upgrade to firmware 138.0.0.0.0. This will fix the "half speed issue".

    Except with the Highpoint 7101A, your SSD will be locked to 1500MB/s (single SSD), this is the limit of PCIe 2.0 x4. You can't bypass that without a PCIe switch (this is exactly what the Highpoint card gives you).

    With 138.0.0.0.0 + Highpoint 7101A + 970 Evo. This setup will give you about 3000MB/s in slot 2.

    Anyway, all these info are in the first page of this forum. You better spend some time to read them all. (Especially the sticky thread at the top)
     
  3. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 29, 2018
    #3
    Ok, so I went through the sticky thread about the different PCIe SSDs. And I still have those questions. unless I missed something?
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors G5

    h9826790

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    #4
    Screenshot 2018-10-05 at 16.29.40.png
     
  5. philm001, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018

    philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Thank you for pointing that out.

    I did read that posting. This does confirm that the Highpoint has a higher speed then the other adapters because it includes a 48 lane 5 port switch.

    So does that mean all adapters would need to include such a switch if you want faster speeds? What if the adapter is a full x16 lane? Will I get faster speeds (maybe not 6000 MB/s) or will I still be limited to the 1500 MB/s speeds?

    For reference, I am looking at these three adatpers:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GNDDNLD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0FGTBbJCHV88D

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...e=shr&tag=zpmedia-20&linkId=OJOKJYGAANKATDMO&

    https://www.amazon.com/SHINESTAR-Ad...662733&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=x16+PCIe+2+Squid
     
  6. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #6
    Without the PLX PEX 8747 PCIe switch, the magic is done there, you will be limited to ~1500MB/s.
     
  7. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 29, 2018
    #7
    Ah, I see. the switch does the magic in boosting the speed. So even if the card is advertised as x16 or x4, I am going to be limited to the 1500 MB/s speed. Which would basically mean that the I am not gaining any bandwidth on a x16 or x4 device?

    Is this understanding correct?
     
  8. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #8
    Yes.
     
  9. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    Ok, thank you so much for clearing that up

    For anyone, is there any compatibility things that I need to look out for when choosing an adapter. (I am not going to go for the 6000 MB/s speeds. Just the regular 1500 MB/s speeds)
     
  10. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #10
    Just the M key.

    One thing, I first tried the cheap PCIe adaptors and my SM951 started heat throttling easily, if you don't want this happening buy a heatsink or go for a more robust solution like Angelbird Wings PX1 or Aquacomputer kryoM2.

    Adorama eBay store has the best price on Wings PX1.
     
  11. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 29, 2018
    #11
    Oh, I see, so it sounds like I should be going for an adapter with the heatsink.

    Which would be something like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F9RBP5...&pd_rd_r=6e0f85a0-c7e1-11e8-954f-1d474762b736

    But, if I wanted to be cheap, I could equally go for something like this:

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GNDDNLD/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_0FGTBbJCHV88D

    Thank you for the recommendations! I will take a look at the parts that you suggested
     
  12. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #12
    Don't buy a model without slot bracket, with the weight of the heatsink and gravity you gonna have problems with the PCIe slot.
     
  13. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    Oh ok, I did not consider that. Thank you very much for pointing that out.

    But the idea would be to buy one that comes with the heatsink. I am leaning towards that direction.

    But if it gets too expensive (which I doubt), then I can go for the heatsink less one and functionality speaking, it will work (but I will have a concern for the thermals)?

    Is this understanding also correct?
     
  14. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #14
    If you want to be on the cheap side, buy a kit with heatsink from AliExpress. In my opinion, Angelbird Wings price is worth.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 5, 2018 ---
    Best price for Angelbird Wings PX1 - Adorama eBay store:
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Angelbird-...1977903154?epid=691190907&hash=item5b43b42432
     
  15. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #15
    Great! Thank you so much for the recommendation!
    With the recommendations in mind, I ended up finding this:

    https://www.amazon.com/GLOTRENDS-PC...sr=1-26-spons&keywords=m.2+pcie+adapter&psc=1
     
  16. Squuiid macrumors 65816

    Squuiid

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    #16
  17. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #17
  18. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #18

    I apologize, but I am not sure what you are getting at. I found a kryoM2 card:

    https://www.amazon.com/Aquacomputer-kryoM-2-adapter-passive-heatsink/dp/B06ZZX417T

    The only difference that I can pick out between the two is that the heatsink for the kryoM2 adapter appears to be bigger and that there is another heatsink on the bottom of the card.

    With the Global trends one, there is a heatsink on the top but there are thermal vents on the bottom. Not sure how well those vents will work but ok. The heatsink also looks smaller compared to the kryo. Other then that, thye appear identical. Am I missing something?

    @Squuiid

    LOL, I thought that it was a good find! :)
    --- Post Merged, Oct 5, 2018 ---
    For thermals, maybe go with a fan?

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FXMLB7M/ref=sspa_dk_detail_9?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B07FXMLB7M
     
  19. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #19
    That Glotrends heatsink is insufficient and the card is badly constructed. Top NVMe SSDs get hot.

    You don't want a small fan making noise and having to be cleaned frequently. Go for a card with a big passive heatsink.
     
  20. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Hello,

    So, this maybe a dumb question but I can't seem to find the answer on the internet. Coming back to the SSD transfer speed. I understand that it needs a special chip in order to have faster speeds. But for regular adapters, what limits the bus speed? Is it because the controller chips on the adapters are rated for x4 lanes? If so, are there any adapters out there that utilize the full x16 lane?
     
  21. tsialex, Oct 5, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018

    tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #21
    No, the SSD itself uses 2 or 4 lanes. Almost all adapters are passive ones, just converting format and feeding power, without controllers whatsoever.

    Only high end ones like Amfeltec Squid and HighPoint SSD7101-A have controllers/PCIe switches.

    2 lanes of PCIe 2.0 = 1000MB/s with ~750MB/s usable. Ex: Samsung XP941 512GB
    4 lanes of PCIe 2.0 = 2000MB/s with ~1500MB/s usable. Ex: Samsung SM951 512GB

    A PCIe 3.0 SSD like 970Pro will get around 3200MB/s on a HighPoint SSD7101-A, because the PCIe switch convert 16x PCIe 2.0 into 4x PCIe 3.0.
     
  22. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 29, 2018
    #22
    What are your thoughts on this adapter? It is the Asus Hyper M.2 card. Would I be able to go above the 1500 MB/s speed limit?
    https://www.amazon.com/Asus-Hyper-M-2-x16-Card/dp/B0753JTJTG

    So far, I am assuming that this post still applies:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/does-asus-hyper-m-2-x16-card-work-for-mac-pro.2128240/
     
  23. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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    #23
  24. philm001 thread starter macrumors member

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  25. tsialex macrumors 601

    tsialex

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33 October 4, 2018