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PCIe x8 or x4 Sata III card for SSD

By Nivi3
Aug 2, 2016
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  1. I have an old HP Pavilion a1600n desktop computer with PCI-E x16 Version 1.0 slot in which I want to use Samsung 840 EVO SSD. My computer currently boots from Samsung 840 EVO SSD but only at about 120 MB/s speed as my motherboard supports Sata 1 only. I want the PCIe x8 or x4 card to make my SSD bootable when I attach it and if possible let it run at Sata 3 speeds.

    What speeds will I get roughly considering my PC has PCI-e x16 Version 1.0 slot?

    I looked at following on Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Accelsior-PCIe-SATA-Adapter/...

    The problem is is doesn't seem to make SSD bootable. Do you know any such cards which are reasonably priced? Please let me know.
     
  2. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 164   +34

    That's a 2x adapter, not a 4x/8x model. You would also need to make sure your motherboard could boot from a PCI-E device.

    PCI-E 2.0 has a post-encoding data rate of 250MB/s per lane. That includes the rest of the overhead though, so actual transfer rates will be a bit lower. Maybe 200MB/s per lane.

    Are the sequential transfer speeds that important to you? The big deal with SSDs for most user is the access times and small file performance as they're a far bigger improvement over hard drives than sequential speeds (100x instead of 4-5x). They're much less impacted by older SATA versions.
     
  3. Nivi3

    Nivi3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot for your post!

    Looking at the length of the card it seems like 4x adapter. I ordered it and will be installing shortly.
    I am a regular PC user and need fast access times. I don't thing I will need sequential transfer speeds.
    Will let you know the speed when I install it!
     
  4. Nivi3

    Nivi3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hello! I have a Samsung 840 EVO SSD with Windows 7 64-bit which connects to motherboard Sata connector which is Sata 1. It boots to Windows 7 fine. Today, I tried to install OWC adapter in PCI-E v1 x16 slot with my Samsung 840 EVO SSD attached to it. After booting OWC adapter ecognizes the Samsung SSD but refuses to boot to Windows 7. Do you know what could be done to make it bootable?
     
  5. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 164   +34

    The length of the connector is 4x but you can see that the PCB traces only go to half of the pins, which is consistent with the stated 2x in the description.

    Can you be more specific? What error message is it giving when it 'refuses' to boot?

    If the computer is handing off control to the adapter then I would suspect a software issue. Is this a fresh install of Windows 7 64-bit?
     
  6. Nivi3

    Nivi3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks again for your reply. After reading your post I realize now that the card is x2. I was totally mistaken.

    After I install the card and attach the SSD on it, the computer tries to boot up. After that it runs BIOS and the card firmware seems to take over and the following message appears:
    _________________________________________________________
    Copyright(c) Asmedia Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved
    S.M.A.R.T Supported
    Using PCIE Gen 1 x2
    Firmware Version: 140916_00_00_00_02
    Port PMP Model
    1 0 Samsung SSD 840 EVO 500GB SATA 3
    __________________________________________________________

    After that the message stays for ever and it doesn't try to load Windows 7 which is installed on the SSD. Note, also that while booting, BIOS screen appears and if I try to press F1 (which is key for my BIOS configuration), it doesn't let me go there.
    My motherboard can boot from HDD, CD-ROM Group, Floppy Group, Network Boot Group.
    If I select HDD, then there is also option to select which HDD I want to boot from. It is already set to boot from Samsung SSD so if I move the SSD from Sata port to PCIE slot it should work but it doesn't.

    1. Do motherboards need to have the option to boot from "PCIE" to use SSD attached to PCIE slot?
    2. Do I need to reinstall Windows 7 on the SSD after attaching it to the card? I will hate to do it as I have at least 50 applications installed. My data folders are on 2 other partitions on the same SSD.
    3. If I must reinstall Windows 7, then can I do non-destructive install so that my applications and data partitions remain intact? I don't want to partition the whole SSD as I will loose every thing. I have a spare magnetic drive in the same computer on which I backup my data folders.
    4. If I attach the OWC card with SSD on it, and put Windows 7 installation DVD and then reboot, will Windows 7 boot process give me the option to install Windows 7 on SSD attached to the PCIE card? For that to happen, the motherboard and BIOS need to recognize SSD attached to PCIE slot.

    Please guide me in this scenario. Waiting for your reply.
     
  7. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves TS Booster Posts: 164   +34

    Despite showing the device name I'm guessing it'll be recording that as Controller #1, device #1 so that's not going to work.

    1. My knowledge of this area isn't great, but there are definitely situations where it's not possible to boot from drives attached via PCI-Express. The fact that it's showing up after the BIOS is a good sign though, I think that means that the BIOS is successfully handing over control to it.

    2. Windows 7 isn't as good as modern versions about working with hardware changes but hard drives are fairly common so it could be the issue is just the bootloader-type stuff.

    3. That option was introduced in Windows 8.

    4. It might be a good idea to run the Windows 7 installer and see if it detects the drive there. You can exit out at that point so you don't reinstall but if it detects the drive then that's a good sign and it's definitely bootable. You will only be a step or two away from reinstalling though, so make sure your backups are up to date in case of mistakes.
     
  8. Nivi3

    Nivi3 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks a lot for your reply. I will try it later when the time permits. It is lot of work though to reinstall the OS and all the applications and data.
     

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