Which M.2 PCIe X16 adapter card?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MisterAndrew, May 31, 2018.

  1. MisterAndrew macrumors 6502a

    MisterAndrew

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2015
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #1
    Which M.2 PCIe adapter cards will run in X16 mode (in slot 1 or 2). I see the Amfeltec squid does, but are there others? How about this cheap one on eBay? https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-M-2-NV...epid=0&hash=item1a38632576:g:0y4AAOSwrhlayqLd

    According to Bare Feats a single SSD appears to run at full speed in the Squid3 adapter so I don’t really need RAID 0. I see there are also the Dell Ultra-Speed and Asus Hyper cards.
     
  2. MisterAndrew thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MisterAndrew

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    #2
    Okay, so I guess it needs a PCIe switch chip on-board. It looks like the Dell card does not.
    --- Post Merged, May 31, 2018 ---
    It looks like the HighPoint SSD7101A-1 NVMe RAID Controller is an option. :)
     
  3. MisterAndrew thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MisterAndrew

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    #3
    Maybe I’ll get that cheap single X16 card though and see if it works. Has anyone tested one? I know the PLX switch is necessary for pcie bifurcation (multiple SSDs on a single card), but is it also needed to enable the 3.0 X4 M.2 card to negotiate at 2.0 X16?
     
  4. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #4
    So far, the evidence point to that the PCIe switch is a requirement to let any PCIe 3.0 device correctly negotiate at PCIe 2.0 speed.

    Without the switch, the device will automatically fall back to PCIe 1.0 speed.

    And you won't get anything faster than PCIe 2.0 x4 for a single SSD. Even with the switch, it can only allow the PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD negotiate at PCIe 2.0 x4. But won't re-allocate other lanes' bandwidth to let it run at PCIe 3.0 x4.
     
  5. MisterAndrew thread starter macrumors 6502a

    MisterAndrew

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    #5
    Oh I see. So the ~1500 max speeds we are getting currently are PCIe 1.1 X4? And the ~3000 speed the Amfeltec Squid can attain are at PCIe 2.0 X4?
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #6
    1500MB/s is the max real world speed for a PCIe 2.0 x4 connected SSD.

    If further fall back to PCIe 1.1 x4, the speed will further limited to 750MB/s.
     
  7. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #7
    Exactly right, I've tested it MANY times. Also when you place the device into a proper x4 slot, you will get significantly slower cold boot times. Placing the card in the x16 slot gives much faster boot times, but reduced performance otherwise.

    I plan to grab a x16 Amfeltec and just consider it a drive bay expansion so I can all future high speed SSDs.
     
  8. XNorth macrumors member

    XNorth

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    Feb 23, 2018
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    United States
    #8
    For a single nvme blade, a cheap Lycom x4 pcie 3 is comparable to the expensive Amfeltec Squid x16 PCIe 2. Was interested in the Highpoint NVMe RAID but didn’t get a response from them about Mac support.
     
  9. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #9
    ONLY when the SSD is installed in slot 3 or 4.
     
  10. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    #10
    Also consider that the Amfeltecis like adding 4 drive bays for NGFF SSDs. For some of us, the expandability is worth more than the speed.
     
  11. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    #11
    For those of you who have, or have tested the Squid, does the PLX cause a boot delay when placed into Slot2 (x16) in a 5’1.

    I moved my SSUBX from Slot3 to Slot2 because the insane cold boot times in slots 3/4 were making me batty. Right now I have my choice of 2 min. Boot time w/1500 MB/s file transfers, or 14 sec. Boot times w/780 MB/s file transfers.

    I’m trying to achieve both fast boot, and full speed x4 transfers. Not to mention the ablility to add NVMe storage devices with the Squid.

    I have an adapter that will allow me to put my SSUBX into the Squid for booting, but if this card will cause a boot delay like placement in slots 3/4, then I’ll pass on this purchase.
     
  12. handheldgames macrumors 65816

    handheldgames

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    Apr 4, 2009
    #12
    Besides the SLOOW boot, My SSUBX also hiccups at times and cold boots into recovery mode.

    TIP: With the mac turned off, press power to turn it on. Immediately turn it off and back on. Taking this approach provides the fastest route to the desktop.
     
  13. XNorth macrumors member

    XNorth

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    #13
    Can't say. I use it for a media and cache drive, not for a boot disk, using 960 PRO with no adapter.

    Amfeltec is pretty responsive to emails: support@amfeltec.com
     
  14. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    #14
    Cool tip... I’ll check it out...

    I’ve never had the cold boot into recovery. Mine is pretty flawless in Slot2 except for reduced maximum speeds (which I wouldn’t notice if it weren’t for benchmarks).

    Dead cold boot to desktop is at ~14 seconds. I’m good with that, but I want the max. Speed too. I guess I’m greedy.

    My plan (unless it would slow me down) is to put the adapted SSUBX on th Amfeltech as the boot drive, and populate the rest of the Squid with Samsung 970s. I’m just concerned that the Amfeltech may reintroduce the boot delay.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 12, 2018 ---
    Doesn’t have to be a boot drive to slow the boot. It’s a hardware detection delay that happens in slots 3 & 4 that I’m experiencing. In Slot2 booting is fast but my current card runs at 1/2 speed.

    If you have yours installed in Slot2 and you have no boot delays, I have to assume this card doesn’t introduce any noticeable latency.
     
  15. handheldgames, Jun 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018

    handheldgames macrumors 65816

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #15
    14 seconds? That’s stellar. My 09 currently takes 20 seconds to chime and I’m lucky to see the login screen by 59 seconds with a 970pro or a sm951 in slot 3 or 4.

    I’ll have to check boot times in slot 2 with the squid. I know I tested the ssubx in slot 2 and posted the results a couple years ago.

    With your ssubx in slot 2, reset your pram and see if it fixes the bus speed. I seem to remember letting it chime 2x before releasing the keyboard to get the desired effect.
     
  16. crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

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    #16
    PRAM has no effect on its buss speed. Done it hundreds of times during testing. I too have stupid slow boot speed in slots 3/4 and just couldn’t take it anymore.

    Recently I installed Win10 for the wife’s work. She works at a university so it’s mandatory. This means I reboot often, as I have no use for Windows and she has none foe macOS.

    I don’t mind sharing but the slow boots were killing us both.
     
  17. JedNZ macrumors regular

    JedNZ

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    Dec 6, 2015
    Location:
    Deep South
    #17
    I don't have a squid, but I have my Samsung 850 EVO SSD in an Accelsior S SATA III PCIe adapter in Slot3, and I have noticed a huge difference in boot times when I actually have the boot drive selected in System Preferences > Startup Disk. If I do a PRAM reset, it clears the startup disk setting, so the next restart is painfully slow. But when I set the boot drive, magic, lights and desktop within 40 secs (boot chime in 10 secs, status bar completed in 15secs, enter user/pass and desktop appears in 10-15secs).
     
  18. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #18
    Is that 14s start from the chime?

    Sounds quite impossible if start from pressing the button.

    The cMP take quite a few seconds to run POST, the more hardware, the slower the POST. With 48GB of RAM, multiple PCIe cards, it's quite hard to believe that the cMP can boot in 14s from pressing the button.

    Anyway, if selecting boot drive in system preference doesn't help, you may try some PRAM / SMC reset with the bare card (no SSD onboard). That occasionally can fix this kind of slow boot issue.
     
  19. crjackson2134, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018

    crjackson2134 macrumors 68030

    crjackson2134

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #19
    Yes, from chime. My hardware detection takes ~8 seconds roughly. I don’t and can’t count that because simply changing or removing memory, HDDs, and other PCIe card’s effects it drastically. Even the PCIe SSD introduces an EXTREME hardware detection delay (not counting slow OS boot) when placed in Slot3on my system.

    My point is this...

    Restart from booted system > very fast
    Powered off momentarily > fast but slower than restart
    Cold boot, off extended period of time > slowest boot, real test

    I get a boot chime in about 5~8 seconds with no keys pressed from a cold boot, regardless of SSD configuration. However, with the PCIe/SSUBX in slots 3/4, it hangs at the white screen from 1-2 minutes before the progress bar starts loading. In Slot 2, takes 14 seconds from BONG! to fullyloaded Desktop. The 5~8 seconds it takes for unrelated hardware devices to be detected are irrelevant to me, because the SSD in Slot 2 introduces no hardware detection delays. It’s the same even if I remove the device and boot from one of my other SSDs.
     
  20. handheldgames macrumors 65816

    handheldgames

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2009
    #20
    Amazon had the HighPoint SSD1701 for a prime warehouse deal of $271 that was too good to pass up.

    Hopefully it will work. Either way, I’m looking forward to clarify compatibility / performance / cooling capability.
     

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