INFO: Adding M.2 NVMe SSD with PCIe 3x4 Adapter Card to the x16 slot ?

tttttttttt Member Posts: 560 Seasoned Specialist

Dear Trailblazers Billsey  and Egydiocoelho,

Thanks for the info before I decided to get the PCICe x4 adapter card. Since I think other users may be interested in the topic too, I am posting it as a new one here.

Hardware Involved:

Shinedisk VME PCIe 3 x4 Adapter (the x4 adapter)

Silicon Power 512GB NVMeM.2 PCIe Gen 3x4 2280 TLC A80 SSD (the x4 SSD)

WD  512 GB SN 520 M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe 3x2 SSD (the x2 SSD)

ZTC M.2 NVMe PCIe to USB3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A Enclosure (the enclosure)

Here are my findings:

1) The x4 adapter has 11+21=32 pins, not enough to occupy all the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot pins

2) Put the adapter in the x16 slot, Windows 10 took no actions, nothing showed up in “This PC”, of course!

3) Blank x4 SSD put in the adapter uninitialized, nothing showed up under “This PC”. However, Disk Management saw the

    x4 SSD. Initialized to NTFS format with Disk Management. X4 SSD appeared under “This PC”, WIN 10 has reported

    476GB capacity.

4) Used CrystalDiskMark to test speed of x4 SSD. Sequential read was 3,168 MB/s, sequential write was 2,380 MB/s.

    x4 SSD specifications for sequential read is 3,400 MB/s, sequential write is 2,300 MB/s. It is strange that the 2,380 MB/s

    exceeded the spec. The x4 SSD without heat sink briefly in the red zone at 60 degree for a couple seconds while testing

    with CrystalDiskInfo program, but the condition was still “Good”.

5) The speed of the x2 SSD where Windows 10 was residing was tested too. Read=1,700 Mb/s, Write=1,399 MB/s

6) Copied 56GB of test data from the x2 SSD to the x4 SSD (without heat sink) in one chunk. Initial transfer rate reported

    by WIN 10 was around 1,200 MB/s, lasted a few seconds, then dropped to around 530 MB/s. Did not time the process,

    probably finished in half minute.

7) Tried to install LinuxMint 20 “Cinnamon” to the x4 SSD

First installation failed, as LinuxMint requested to turnoff RST With Optane under Integrated Peripherals of the

Advanced Tab in BIOS

Changed setting to ACHI at the second attempt, the 56GB test data automatically erased under new installation

SUCCESS! Shutdown the computer.

8) With both x2 SSD and x4 SSD in the computer, boot up to “BOOTMENU”, selected to boot from Linux there

9) Booted to LinuxMint, checked VGA+ 2 HDMI ports all turned on and three displays were working

    Checked printer was working. Installed some programs with LinuxMint.

    Shut Down.

   Cold boot again to this Linux in the adapter, plugged to the x16 slot. It proved that it is able to boot from the PCIe 3

    x16 slot with the adapter.

10) Used a ZTC M.2 NVMe PCIe to USB3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A Enclosure to test out the performance of the front panel

    USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. Results: Seq. Read=1,048 MB/s; Seq. Write=986 MB/s, this helped me to determined that

Best Answer

  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 560 Seasoned Specialist
    Accepted Answer
    THIS IS PART 2 OF MY INFO:

    10) Used a ZTC M.2 NVMe PCIe to USB3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A Enclosure to test out the performance of the front panel

        USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. Results: Seq. Read=1,048 MB/s; Seq. Write=986 MB/s, this helped me to determined that

          it is really a Type-C port with the speed close to 10 Gbit/s range. I actually did this test before copying the 56GB of

          test data.

    Hope this will help some users who may be interested in adding M.2 NVMe SSD using the adapter and x16 slot.

    My next project will be to clone the x2 SSD to the x4 SSD for the sake of doubling the performance.


FAQ & Answers

  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 560 Seasoned Specialist
    Accepted Answer
    THIS IS PART 2 OF MY INFO:

    10) Used a ZTC M.2 NVMe PCIe to USB3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A Enclosure to test out the performance of the front panel

        USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. Results: Seq. Read=1,048 MB/s; Seq. Write=986 MB/s, this helped me to determined that

          it is really a Type-C port with the speed close to 10 Gbit/s range. I actually did this test before copying the 56GB of

          test data.

    Hope this will help some users who may be interested in adding M.2 NVMe SSD using the adapter and x16 slot.

    My next project will be to clone the x2 SSD to the x4 SSD for the sake of doubling the performance.


  • Piero1Piero1 Member Posts: 5 New User
    Dear TTT
    Thank you for all the good work you did for the Community! However, allow me to summarize what you accomplished with your tests:

    1. The  PCIe 16 slot of the TC-895-UA91 motherboard IS CAPABLE of supporting a PCIe to NVMe M.2x8 (two four lanes SSD) and, theoretically, even M.2x16 (four 4 lanes SSD) adapter card WITHOUT DISABLING the onboard graphics (UHD 630).
    GREAT NEWS!
    2. WD  512 GB SN 520 M.2 NVMe SSD PCIe 3x2 SSD. This must be the drive that comes with the desktop and works fine along with the PCIe to M.2 adapter in the PCIe 16 slot.
    GREAT NEWS!
    3. ZTC M.2 NVMe PCIe to USB3.1 10Gbps Type-C/Type-A Enclosure. Was the Acer standard Power Supply (almost 300W) capable of standing all this....extra load on it? I would be curious to know whether a compatible but of higher wattage Power Supply is available for purchase.

    Thank you again for your great job
    Piero  
        
  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 560 Seasoned Specialist
    @Piero1

    Glad that you found this topic is of interest. Ever since I 'd posted this topic, people did not seemed to care about it.

    1) Theoretically the x16 slot should be able to support four 4 lanes SSDs. In the market, I have yet to see an adapter that will house two PCIe 3.0  x4  M.2 NVMe SSDs . One M.2 NVMe plus one M.2 SATA is common, but who cares about M.2 SATA when you can use NVMe. For the mean time, just can use one M.2 NVMe on the adapter.

    2) Yes, the x2 M.2 NVMe SSD comes with the PC works fine with PCIe to M.2 adapter in the PCIe x16 slot.

    3) I would not recommend the ZTC type-C enclosure, it did work up to 10 Gbps speed but poor ventilation, do expect thermal throttling if want to move sizable data there. Actually I have separate adapter for each M.2 SSD. Since it is so easy to remove and insert the adapter to the x16 slot, I use these SSDs with adapter as mobile devices. After removing the PC 's side panel, it will usually take me less than 20 seconds to remove and insert the adapter. I don't even put the adapter card bracket screw in position, as the latch there is good enough to secure the adapter with the side panel closed. 

    My PC's 300W PSU is good enough to handle all the devices connected. If you have the same model, it is easy to find PSU upgrade as it is just standard PSU with ATX form factor. I'll bet you don't need a powerful PSU if you intend to use only M.2 SSD to this x16 slot, not a graphics card.
  • Piero1Piero1 Member Posts: 5 New User
    Thank you again tttt
    However, my desktop, a TC-895-UA91 came with (I'm quite sure) an ATX12VO PSU for which, at this time, there are not available compatible replacement. If there were compatible PSUs, I would purchase one a little bit more powerful, capable of supply the necessary power to a PCIe to M.2 adapter with, at least,  two NVMe 970 SSD.  
      
  • Piero1Piero1 Member Posts: 5 New User
    By the way, In the market, it looks like there is an ASUS Hyper M.2x16 Card capable of supporting 4 M.2 SSD on a PCIe 3.0 slot with Intel type motherboards and a PCIe 4.0 slot with a latest AMD motherboard.

    Ciao, Piero
  • tttttttttt Member Posts: 560 Seasoned Specialist
    @Piero1
    Thank you for the info about this ASUS Hyper card. Since my PC is TC-885-UA91, not having an AMD PCIe 4.0 motherboard, just don't see I can use it without issue. However, I begin to have some interest in this

    ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 PCIe 3.0 X4 Expansion Card V2 . 

    Now gathering info about this card to see if it can be used for TC-885, not sure if the BIOS supports bifurcation (never checked the RAID section).  

    I know TC-895 users currently having headache finding PSU upgrades. Powering two NVMe SSD probably need 20W. I  still believe the PCIe x16 slot should be able to handle it without imminent need of PSU upgrade.
  • billseybillsey ACE Posts: 16,048 Trailblazer
    It's worth noting that the NVMe 970 SSD specs says power consumption is 6W for a 1TB or 2TB version. The PSU will not be a problem, even with four of them and the extra draw the adapter itself will have.
    Click on "Like" if you find my answer useful or click on "Yes" if it answers your question.
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