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Old 05-11-2020, 10:29 AM   #1
enorbet
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NVME Recommendations for Mobos w/o M.2 or U.2 slots


Greetz
The combination of improved Linux support and reduced costs have me contemplating getting NVME... finally. Over the years I've noticed quite a few Linux guys opting for the Plextor PCIe card versions because they don't require special drivers while offerring substantially improved performance over SATA interfaces. I wouldn't be surprised if SATA didn't last another 3 years.

Since Plextor introduced those around 5 years ago, there are now lots of non-SATA NVMEs around at reasonable prices. Unfortunately the field has not "settled down" yet so the purpose of this thread is to

1) Insure Linux compatibility (my mobo is Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 with a Bios that handles NVME)

2) Get the best performance bang-for-buck

3) Not lock myself into hardware that won't transfer well to a newer mobo in a year or two.

So, I'm thinking an adapter card for a PCIe x 16 slot is probably wise... BUT I see that some rather severely limited performance NVMEs get "pawned off" as PCIe compatible but are still stuck at SATA or only slightly better bandwidth speeds. Those will never come close to saturating the bus. It's basic marketing it seems.

So my first question is.. is U.2 enough superior to M.2 to ignore M.2 or is M.2 where the better bang-for buck reside for the next 5 years or so?

Right now I'm looking at comparing the M.2 GIGABYTE AORUS Gen4 AIC Adaptor GC-4XM2G4, Easy One Click RAID, Full PCIe 4.0 Design, 4 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 M.2 Slots with Syba SY-MRA25060 2.5" U.2 NVMe Drive to PCI Express x16 Slot Card or SATA III SSD/HDD PCI Mount and for drives I'm looking at ADATA, Samsung and Intel but Seagate has Enterprise drives on sale like the Nytro series.

I want improved performance I can feel (compared to SATA III mechanical drives)but reliability and compatibility is very important. Obviously since I've waited this long for any SSD upgrade, cost is an important issue but I'm willing to spend up to ~$400 USD to get decent tradeoffs.

So... U.2 or M.2? for starters....
 
Old 05-11-2020, 10:43 AM   #2
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
Greetz
The combination of improved Linux support and reduced costs have me contemplating getting NVME... finally. Over the years I've noticed quite a few Linux guys opting for the Plextor PCIe card versions because they don't require special drivers while offerring substantially improved performance over SATA interfaces. I wouldn't be surprised if SATA didn't last another 3 years.

Since Plextor introduced those around 5 years ago, there are now lots of non-SATA NVMEs around at reasonable prices. Unfortunately the field has not "settled down" yet so the purpose of this thread is to

1) Insure Linux compatibility (my mobo is Asrock Z77 Extreme 4 with a Bios that handles NVME)

2) Get the best performance bang-for-buck

3) Not lock myself into hardware that won't transfer well to a newer mobo in a year or two.

So, I'm thinking an adapter card for a PCIe x 16 slot is probably wise... BUT I see that some rather severely limited performance NVMEs get "pawned off" as PCIe compatible but are still stuck at SATA or only slightly better bandwidth speeds. Those will never come close to saturating the bus. It's basic marketing it seems.

So my first question is.. is U.2 enough superior to M.2 to ignore M.2 or is M.2 where the better bang-for buck reside for the next 5 years or so?
u.2 is currently only common in servers. I don't see this changing anytime soon, although a few consumer boards do support it, they're mostly Threadripper boards. Go m.2

Quote:
Right now I'm looking at comparing the M.2 GIGABYTE AORUS Gen4 AIC Adaptor GC-4XM2G4, Easy One Click RAID, Full PCIe 4.0 Design, 4 x PCIe 4.0/3.0 M.2 Slots with Syba SY-MRA25060 2.5" U.2 NVMe Drive to PCI Express x16 Slot Card or SATA III SSD/HDD PCI Mount and for drives I'm looking at ADATA, Samsung and Intel but Seagate has Enterprise drives on sale like the Nytro series.

I want improved performance I can feel (compared to SATA III mechanical drives)but reliability and compatibility is very important. Obviously since I've waited this long for any SSD upgrade, cost is an important issue but I'm willing to spend up to ~$400 USD to get decent tradeoffs.

So... U.2 or M.2? for starters....
So with Covid-19 the prices are in fluctuation, so everything I can recommend you may find massively overpriced...so take it with a grain of salt. Also I'm only covering PCIe 3.0 since I have no PCIe 4.0 yet. However...ALL current PCIe 4.0 drives are physically mostly identical. They ALL use the Phison E16 controller as it is the only PCIe 4.0 controller that has shipped in quantity to system builders. Right now the power usage of PCIe 4.0 makes it unfit for laptops (if any even supported it), so I probably won't have one until that changes as most of my systems are laptops.

AS to my thoughts on drives:

Obviously, Samsung 970 series is top of the heap. And $$$$$. I'd pass.
Adata (XPG) SX8200 Pro is one of the top non-Samsung drives, and can be found relatively inexpensive. I just bought a 1TB for $100, my boss just bought a 1TB for $120.
The various Phison E12 + BICS 3 clones are VERY good. And very efficient on power. MyDigitalSSD BPX Pro, Corsair MP510, Pioneer APS-SE20G, Sabrent Rocket 3.0, Silicon Power P34A80, Inland has one (forgot the model). These are all physically mostly identical. Some use different DRAM, different overprovisioning, different firmware, but they all use the Phison E12 controller with Toshiba (Kioxia) BICS-3 64-layer TLC Nand.
HP EX950 is very similar to the Phison E12 + Bics3 drives, although a LITTLE slower rated max write speed.
HP EX920 is getting older now, but still a great drive especially for read speeds.

IMO:Avoid the Crucial P1/Intel 660p. They're trash.
Also most of the entry level DRAM-less SSD's (SX6000 {lite,pro}, Kingston A2000, etc). While they're perfectly fine budget drives, and I would actualy take them over the P1/660P, they're simply not priced ENOUGH lower than the really good drives to justify their loss of performance.

Obviously, this list is FAR from covering every option. But hopefully it helps some.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 05-11-2020 at 10:47 AM.
 
Old 05-11-2020, 12:03 PM   #3
enorbet
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Thanks Timothy Miller... helpful post. I have been wondering about U.2 for two main reasons besides the reduced costs for some like Seagate Nytro. They seem to be optimized for random reads and that seems a larger percentage of operations, especially if I keep things like /home/foo/Downloads on a separate drive. The 2nd reason is emphasis on reliability/longevity.

Additionally, I'm already looking ahead to a system upgrade a year or so from now and I'm pretty stoked by the new Supermicro z490 mobos. Not only are these server quality components but they use PLX and PEX controllers and provide both M.2 and U.2 slots. AFAIK Supermicro is the only manufacturer using thes better (and more expensive) controllers so I don't see the Phison proliferation as limiting my choices. I want performance gain but reliability is very important to me. Could you possibly expand on why you recommend choosing M.2 over U.2?... and thanks again.

NOTE: - FWIW here is a sale on Enterprise quality Seagate Nytro at an extremely attractive price but the sale ends in a little over 12 hours.
https://www.newegg.com/seagate-nytro...quicklink=true
What do you think? Seems worthy?

Last edited by enorbet; 05-11-2020 at 12:24 PM.
 
Old 05-11-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
Timothy Miller
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So I'll admit that currently I don't follow Intel boards. Simply put, the cpu's are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO far behind AMD in performance for the $$$, that it's a waste of time considering wasting my money on one. B550/X570 don't (generally) have u.2 ports, they do (generally) have 2 m.2 NVMe however. So u.2 isn't a realistic priority. I don't have the $$$$ for Threadripper (which do sometimes have u.2 ports) or Epyc (which pretty much ALWAYS have u.2 ports), so if I were building something u.2's not really a viable consideration.

Also, m.2 drives are physically smaller, and I like that (even if it constrains the max storage size more than u.2).
 
Old 05-11-2020, 02:19 PM   #5
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
So I'll admit that currently I don't follow Intel boards. Simply put, the cpu's are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO far behind AMD in performance for the $$$, that it's a waste of time considering wasting my money on one. B550/X570 don't (generally) have u.2 ports, they do (generally) have 2 m.2 NVMe however. So u.2 isn't a realistic priority. I don't have the $$$$ for Threadripper (which do sometimes have u.2 ports) or Epyc (which pretty much ALWAYS have u.2 ports), so if I were building something u.2's not really a viable consideration.

Also, m.2 drives are physically smaller, and I like that (even if it constrains the max storage size more than u.2).
Thanks again Timothy and that makes sense since apparently you're fond of laptops and I don't like them. Now your POV is even clearer since you also prefer AMD. I'm no Intel fanboi... in fact I expected great things once AMD hired a bunch of DEC Alpha boys which did come to fruition and I bought stock in AMD back when they not only rerouted Intel's Slot 1, but developed Super 7 completely taking all of the wind out of Intel's fanciful coup de grace. I made considerable profit selling the stock and promptly bought an AMD FX-57 flagship CPU... awesome chip for a single core.

These days I perceive AMD CPUs as only very far ahead in multiple core architecture and more than 4 cores is a waste on me so Intel has been my last few choices despite how impressed I was with the FX-57 (it still runs great BTW even after handling a 24/7 Minecraft server for a little over a year). Some of that has probably come from my decades long love affair with Supermicro. The hour is growing short on that sale and I may just cave by midnight tonight and pull the trigger on that Seagate drive sale. Since that Syba adapter will take U.2 drives and interface with either PCIe x16 or SATA I can transport the Seagate to every PC I own, Intel or AMD assuming BIOS compatibility.

Last edited by enorbet; 05-11-2020 at 02:22 PM.
 
Old 05-11-2020, 02:32 PM   #6
Timothy Miller
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Actually, I'm a fanboy of whoever offers better value, since I'm not rich. I was a big fan of the Sandy Bridge generation of Intel because it just absolutely OBLITERATED everything else in the market (inlcuding the prior generation from Intel). I liked Broadwell due to the large jumps in efficiency which helped with battery life on laptops. But with the current desktop CPU's, Intel has single core max frequency as it's advantage. That's it. AMD wins in IPC, AMD wins in #/cores for $$$, #/threads for the $$$, multi-threaded efficiency, and TDP efficiency (desktops, their mobile pre 4000 still suck with battery life and get dominated by Intel). So for now, yup, I love AMD. When that changes in a couple years, I'll love Intel again. I'm a fickle lover, always going to the arms of whoever delivers me a better system for the $$.

To which, you speak of more than 4 cores being overkill...right now AMD just released the 3300x. $120, 4 core, 8 thread. Actually outperforms the i7-7700 which was the flagship desktop processor only 3 short years ago and retailed over $300.

Last edited by Timothy Miller; 05-11-2020 at 02:35 PM.
 
Old 05-11-2020, 02:34 PM   #7
enorbet
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Absolutely agreed!!! As for battery life, I only care about the one in my UPS. However if docks and phones continue to evolve (and why wouldn't they?) I may become concerned about smartphone battery life but afaik Librem 5 is not quite ready for prime time. I surely will pounce on the first complete LinuxPhone.

Last edited by enorbet; 05-11-2020 at 02:37 PM.
 
  


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