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Thread started 05 Nov 2017 (Sunday) 11:59
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Using M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD instead of hard drives.

 
Perfectly ­ Frank
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Nov 05, 2017 11:59 |  #1

I've been doing some reading on the M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. This drive uses the PCIe NVMe bus interface to provide very fast data transfers. In contrast to the usual SATA SSD (which looks like a little block), these new drives plug into a mother board that has PCIe NVMe connectors. This SSD is faster than SATA SSD and PCIe SSD.

Here's a M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs, available in different capacities...

https://www.amazon.com ...300_QL70_&dpSrc=src​h&th=1 (external link)

Okay, now my question...

A common pc build uses a "boot" SSD that stores the OS and programs, and a hard drive to store data. But how about a build that uses two SSDs, one for boot, the other for data. For example, two M.2 PCIe NVMe SSDs: a 120GB or 240GB for boot, and a larger size (1TB) for data. Of course the MB would need to have two M.2 PCIe NVMe slots. The main drawback I see is the expense of using this type SSD.

Or, just use one large M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD for OS, programs and data? External mechanical hard drives would be used for backing up data.

Let me know if you see flaws in my thinking on this subject. But be nice about it, I'm a sensitive guy ;-)a
Thanks!


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MalVeauX
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Nov 05, 2017 12:21 |  #2

I think the answer(s) to your question(s) really depends on what you're doing with the machine.

For example, at these capacities, it's clear that you probably are not dealing with large data pools, so this is probably more for the speed of the small data transfer at high volume, and high volume access speeds, especially random ones. Otherwise, the drive(s) in this configuration don't offer much benefits unless you have applications that demand this side of things (again just judging from the small capacity of the drive). You may want to ensure that your applications actually are bottle necked by the hard drive access speeds and that what you really need may be something else, but again depends on your applications and use.

120Gb is fairly small, but only you know what you need. That will run an OS and some software with a little room to spare maybe, but it heavily depends on your software.

Also one big thing to consider is there's theoretical and measurable throughput and access times, but some software just simply isn't coded to be as efficient in its reading and memory handling and simply will not show a performance increase, even when the hardware is improved. Might want to look for real world benchmarks for these kinds of things (especially when it comes to image handling, video editing, etc, and specific software).

I would go for the 240Gb minimum for the boot/OS/applications, and then a large capacity drive for storage of data that isn't to be accessed fast, but rather just a place to dump data (but not considered real storage or backup). These drives are not that expensive at these lower capacities, so again, it really comes down to what you're using them for and what you expect to get out of them compared to a good quality larger capacity SATA based SSD.

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alex66
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Nov 05, 2017 12:22 |  #3

Apart from cost I can see a couple of advantages, speed as you mentioned also a reduction of cables inside the machine that should improve airflow for cooling. I did consider doing this at one point, but the cost performance increase was not there at that point, although I would have kept a couple of large HDs in the machine and just the MVMe's for current images. It is likely going to be on the next machine build though just waiting for other parts to have a speed jump to make it worth it. Seems a good idea to me though ultimately for the as fast as you can make it machine and they do do PCiE cards that can take MVMe drives and also PCiE SSD drives too so its doable if the board had spare slots but no MVMe slots.


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davesrose
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Post has been last edited 17 days ago by davesrose. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 05, 2017 12:28 |  #4

The typical computer build has a SSD for boot, application, and cache data. They are quite a bit more expensive on a per MB basis then magnetic HDs. So I still use 7200 RPM HDs for storing data. You're not going to see much speed differences with data that isn't constantly being accessed. People tend to recommend your SSD boot drive being anywhere from 128-500GB. I personally would either consider 256 or 500GB drives. I have one desktop workstation that I use for 3D animation. It's older, so my boot drive is a SATA SSD, and has a large RAID setup for being able to store all the frames an HD animation can take. I have a mobile workstation laptop which I upgraded to a mini PCIE SSD (256GB for boot) and it has conventional 7200 2.5 HD as well. After all my apps, the main drive tends to have 90+GB remaining for cache. I recently got a new laptop with similar i7 quad core processor, with more RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVM HD. I don't see much of a difference in load times between my laptop with NVM vs older mini PCIe interface. NVMe has the potential for higher bandwidth, but YMMV on whether it gets utilized.


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CyberDyneSystems
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Nov 05, 2017 12:56 |  #5

As to the specific question, one drive vs. two, I ALWAYS keep my data off the OS drive.
I've been doing that since DOS/Windows 3.1

Back up DATA to one location, and create OS restores to another.. etc.
If the OS drive fails, is corrupted, no data is ever damaged.

Just a handful of advantages I can think of off the top of my head;

- Setting "restore points" never involves data
- Wiping C: drive for any reason = no cause for alarm.
- You'd be amazed how many viruses historically would not migrate off the C: drive.
- Should you outgrow your data drive, it can be swapped without having to migrate your OS install to another drive, which can be a much more finicky project than mere data copying.


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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Nov 05, 2017 12:59 |  #6

davesrose wrote in post #18489249 (external link)
The typical computer build has a SSD for boot, application, and cache data. They are quite a bit more expensive on a per MB basis then magnetic HDs. So I still use 7200 RPM HDs for storing data. You're not going to see much speed differences with data that isn't constantly being accessed. I recently got a new laptop with similar i7 quad core processor, with more RAM, and a 512GB PCIe NVM HD. I don't see much of a difference in load times between my laptop with NVM vs older mini PCIe interface. NVMe has the potential for higher bandwidth, but YMMV on whether it gets utilized.

(italics added by me)

Ok, this is good to know. Thanks, Dave.


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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Nov 05, 2017 13:01 |  #7

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18489271 (external link)
As to the specific question, one drive vs. two, I ALWAYS keep my data off the OS drive.
I've been doing that since DOS/Windows 3.1

Back up DATA to one location, and create OS restores to another.. etc.
If the OS drive fails, is corrupted, no data is ever damaged.

Just a handful of advantages I can think of off the top of my head;

- Setting "restore points" never involves data
- Wiping C: drive for any reason = no cause for alarm.
- You'd be amazed how many viruses historically would not migrate off the C: drive.
- Should you outgrow your data drive, it can be swapped without having to migrate your OS install to another drive, which can be a much more finicky project than mere data copying.

Great answer, makes a lot of sense. Thanks.


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CyberDyneSystems
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Post has been last edited 16 days ago by CyberDyneSystems. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 05, 2017 13:03 |  #8

P.S. I like Corsair, it's one of two RAM that I will buy and I prefer it over the other (crucial)

For SSD, you might also want to look at Samsung (in this case EVO or PRO 960 series)
Haven't looked at specs recently, but historically Samsung has really been a leader is all things SSD.

There are a lot of RAM/dimm/flashcard manufacturers out there making lower priced also-ran SSDs. I won't go near them. Not saying Corsair is one of them, haven't looked into it.


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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Nov 05, 2017 13:08 |  #9

MalVeauX wrote in post #18489246 (external link)
I think the answer(s) to your question(s) really depends on what you're doing with the machine.

For example, at these capacities, it's clear that you probably are not dealing with large data pools, so this is probably more for the speed of the small data transfer at high volume, and high volume access speeds, especially random ones. Otherwise, the drive(s) in this configuration don't offer much benefits unless you have applications that demand this side of things (again just judging from the small capacity of the drive). You may want to ensure that your applications actually are bottle necked by the hard drive access speeds and that what you really need may be something else, but again depends on your applications and use.

120Gb is fairly small, but only you know what you need. That will run an OS and some software with a little room to spare maybe, but it heavily depends on your software.

Also one big thing to consider is there's theoretical and measurable throughput and access times, but some software just simply isn't coded to be as efficient in its reading and memory handling and simply will not show a performance increase, even when the hardware is improved. Might want to look for real world benchmarks for these kinds of things (especially when it comes to image handling, video editing, etc, and specific software).

I would go for the 240Gb minimum for the boot/OS/applications, and then a large capacity drive for storage of data that isn't to be accessed fast, but rather just a place to dump data (but not considered real storage or backup). These drives are not that expensive at these lower capacities, so again, it really comes down to what you're using them for and what you expect to get out of them compared to a good quality larger capacity SATA based SSD.

Very best,

Thanks for the info. After reading your post and others, I understand that applications like LR, PS, and video editing won't benefit from a super fast data drive.


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Perfectly ­ Frank
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Post has been edited 16 days ago by Perfectly Frank.
Nov 05, 2017 13:37 |  #10

CyberDyneSystems wrote in post #18489277 (external link)
P.S. I like Corsair, it's one of two RAM that I will buy and I prefer it over the other (crucial)

For SSD, you might also want to look at Samsung (in this case EVO or PRO 960 series)
Haven't looked at specs recently, but historically Samsung has really been a leader is all things SSD.

There are a lot of RAM/dimm/flashcard manufacturers out there making lower priced also-ran SSDs. I won't go near them. Not saying Corsair is one of them, haven't looked into it.

Right on. The Samsung Pro 960 series uses the M.2 PCIe NVMe bus, which is supposed to be the fastest, but also the most expensive...

https://www.amazon.com ...T=_SX300_QL70_&dpSr​c=srch (external link)

Their EVO also uses PCIe NVMe and is a little slower and less expensive.

https://www.amazon.com ...&keywords=Samsung+E​VO+SSD (external link)

In real world use I doubt I'd see much difference in speed between the two (but that's a guess on my part).
I'm thinking of these as boot drives (OS, programs, etc). And I'd have to buy a MB that supports this NVMe bus.

Another option for a boot drive is this M.2 PCIe (non-NVMe) SSD...

https://www.amazon.com ...&keywords=samsung+s​sd+PCI (external link)

But still lags behind the NVMe bus SSD, although Davesrose didn't see much difference between PCIe and PCIe NVMe.

I think if I do build my own pc, I'd go with a Samsung Pro or EVO that uses the PCIe NVMe bus for the boot drive. Maybe a bit over-kill but what the heck. And a 7200 rpm mechanical HD for data storage.

Thanks everyone for your advice!


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Post has been last edited 16 days ago by Scoobert. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 05, 2017 15:52 |  #11

Have these in my system.

950 Pro Pcie NVME (512 gig)
960 Evo Pcie NVME (512 Gig)
850 Pro Sata (512 Gig)
AMD R7 (480 Gig) which uses the OCZ Barefoot 3 controller


i7-7700K @5.1 Ghz
16 gig Gskill TridentZ ddr4 3200
Asus 1070
all mounted on a Asus Strix Z270 mobo.

Ruining LR on either of the pcie drives shows no discernible difference at all. Even though the 950 will benchmark faster than the 960 EVO.
Running LR on the Sata based SSD's you can tell a difference between both how smooth the program runs and its export speed. Not huge, but enough to notice that the pcie drives perform better. Again though even though the 850 Pro kills the AMD SSD in benchmarks running LR on the two drives results in almost identical performance.

Spinning drives (2tb WD Blacks) lagged so far behind the sata drives and especially the pcie drives that I removed them from the system. Now the only spinning drives I have (4TB WD Reds) run in a external USB 3.1 raid array as picture back up drives. The new usb 3.1 is so fast that the external drives benchmark at almost the same speed they did when hooked straight to the motherboard and mounted internally.


Win10 on the 950 Pro boots SUPER fast and runs really smooth, and this coming from a guy who said he would NEVER leave win7 ultimate.

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BigAl007
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Nov 05, 2017 17:12 |  #12

i had been planning on asking a question along these lines in a new thread, but I think here will do. I have a Dell XPS 8900 system which I know uses a Z170 chipset, and has an on board 256 GB M2 SSD for boot, and a 2TB HDD for data. I was running it with my LR catalogue and previews on the SSD, but given a 20 GB plus lrcat file, and 80 GB plus of previews; my monitor is 5K, so standard previews are rendered at 5120×3414 px, even for my old 3072×2048 300D images, and there are some 50K of them. The system has a GTX 960 video card in one PCIe slot, and there are three empty slots. Is it possible to fit a PCIe to M2 controler card in order to install an additional, or multiple, M2 SSD?

Alan


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Post has been edited 16 days ago by Scoobert.
Nov 05, 2017 17:35 |  #13

BigAl007 wrote in post #18489444 (external link)
i had been planning on asking a question along these lines in a new thread, but I think here will do. I have a Dell XPS 8900 system which I know uses a Z170 chipset, and has an on board 256 GB M2 SSD for boot, and a 2TB HDD for data. I was running it with my LR catalogue and previews on the SSD, but given a 20 GB plus lrcat file, and 80 GB plus of previews; my monitor is 5K, so standard previews are rendered at 5120×3414 px, even for my old 3072×2048 300D images, and there are some 50K of them. The system has a GTX 960 video card in one PCIe slot, and there are three empty slots. Is it possible to fit a PCIe to M2 controler card in order to install an additional, or multiple, M2 SSD?

Alan


Yes you can. The only thing you would have to worry about is flooding the pcie lanes if you went with 2 pcie m.2 and a video card.

https://smile.amazon.c​om ...T=_SX300_QL70_&dpSr​c=srch (external link)




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davesrose
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Post has been last edited 16 days ago by davesrose. 2 edits done in total.
Nov 05, 2017 17:47 as a reply to BigAl007's post |  #14

Most PCIe SSD cards (whether adapter cards or straight out PCIe SSDs) are PCIe 4x form factor. M.2 NVMe cards are now becoming the cheaper/defacto PCIe form factor (but there's still x4 ones too). Here's an example adapter board for M.2 NVMe:

Lycom DT-120 M.2 PCIe to PCIe 3.0 x4 Adapter (external link)


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Nov 05, 2017 17:53 |  #15

davesrose wrote in post #18489467 (external link)
Most PCIe SSD cards (whether adapter cards or straight out PCIe SSDs) are PCIe 4x form factor. NVMe cards are now becoming the cheaper/defacto PCIe form factor. Here's an example adapter board for NVMe:

Lycom DT-120 M.2 PCIe to PCIe 3.0 x4 Adapter (external link)

This ^^^

The one I linked to is also just an adapter board with a 512 Gig Plextor nvme ssd with a heatsink on it.




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Using M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD instead of hard drives.
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