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Boot and Storage NVME/SSD?

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Bustos

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Location
KS, USA
I see it often with a small capacity NVME or SSD as a boot drive and a larger HDD as the storage drive. This is usually to save money and have the best of both worlds.

One of the reasons I rely on USB flash drives for back up storage and/or cloud storage is because I’m always messing with the OS in one shape or form. I usually end up deleting something I shouldn’t and need to do a fresh install. This was never an issue for me and find the whole process fun. One thing I didn’t realize, and in hindsight should have known, was all my Dark Souls info sits in my HDD and when I did a fresh install, lost all of that play time. I thought that info was stored on their servers like most of my other games. To prevent this in the future, having two separate drives come to mind.

With prices dropping, does anyone have, or considered, using two NVMEs or two SSDs? Or one NVME and one SSD?
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
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Go Blue!
This is a good example why frequent back-ups can be helpful. I have a large External drive that use to back up my three current systems. As far as altering my OS I haven't really messed with that since I was benching frequently (win7 & XP days). Even back then I only edited a fresh benching install and never on my 24/7 rigs.

Also your use of the terms NVMe and SSD are confusing. I'm assuming you mean M.2 and SATA or you mean NVMe and SATA.
 
OP
Bustos

Bustos

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Location
KS, USA
Also your use of the terms NVMe and SSD are confusing. I'm assuming you mean M.2 and SATA or you mean NVMe and SATA.

Ah, thank you. Yes, M.2 and SATA.

For my new build, I’m considering two M.2 drives, one 256gb boot drive and a 500gb storage drive.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
M.2 comes in two flavors. SATA and PCIe
SSDs include M.2.

To answer your question, we have to know what your end goal would be. If you want the fastest of the fast, NVME PCIe x4 is the top of the line right now. Your system will have to have an M.2 slot that supports PCIe x4. The more common 2.5" SSD just needs a SATA cable for up to SATA III. The Samsung 970 EVO Plus does come in a 2 TB flavor.

NVME in PCIe x4 flavor is much faster than SATA III but it needs the PCIe lanes and the built in connector.

I use a 500 GB 2.5" SSD right now and it fits my Windows 10, Office 2019 and about 6 Steam games including the newest Dark Souls, Witcher 3 and a couple of Total War games with the high res packs. I use my spinning drive for documents, pictures and videos. My new rig will keep the spinning drive and use a new NVME to replace the 2.5". For me, the mix of SSD and HDD is perfectly fine and I see no need to change that out. OS and games are fast, images and documents are more than fast enough.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
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Go Blue!
Based on his/her first post I'm assuming he/she want to store game/ media/ non-OS data on the second drive. I have done this in the past, and in a sense am currently doing this. Up until my most recent build I had 2x SATA SSD's. 1 for OS and 1 for everything else. My current build I'm using a single 1TB M.2 NVMe drive for everything except media. That is getting stored on my NAS/File Server which gets backed up externally weekly(ish).
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
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I'm currently all M.2 NVMe based storage for OS and games/warm storage. Cold storage goes to a HDD.

What are you asking specifically though Bustos? It can be done... it is faster than any HDD (a SATA SSD of any form). Not sure what you are trying to ask. :)

I keep backups of my games through steam or origin and restore through there. All backups are on HDD storage since I rarely need it.
 

Nebulous

Señor Senior, Senior
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Location
The Empire State
I use an Nvme M.2 drive as boot/os and several spinner drives in 2 raid configs for all my media, games and back-ups. I've been running raid for ages so everything that's on them are backed up and can be replaced quickly incase one of my drives fail.
 
OP
Bustos

Bustos

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2012
Location
KS, USA
Sorry for the confusion on the terminology. I didn’t realize I was using them incorrectly this whole time. I am looking at M.2 PCIe drives x3 because x4 is cost prohibitive at the moment.

Blaylock has the correct concept I am aiming for. I am trying to figure out if this is a good way to go about it or if there is a better one. I also wanted to see how you guys were managing your storage. I don’t need much storage but I’d like to keep the OS separate from my data, so I can do fresh reinstalls without losing any data.

I’d like the rest of my data, games in particular, to still be at M.2 PCIe speeds. So one drive to hold the OS only and the other drive to hold the data. I am checking out mobos that are able to hold 2 M.2 PCIe drives.

ED, I do have another 1TB WD HDD drive that I do not use. I think I may add that the new build as a backup drive to the games/data M.2 PCIe drive.

Hopefully I have clarified my goal. Thanks for explaining the separate specific drive terminology for me. And thanks for sharing your storage set ups.

With this separation in mind, could I go as small as 128gb for the OS boot drive?

On another note, I have a twig and a pair of berries. Male pronouns are appropriate. :D
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
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Location
Go Blue!
Lol Roger that.

128Gb should be plenty for OS only, though, I'm not aware of any NVMe drives that small. The smallest I remember seeing is 256Gb. That doesn't mean they don't exist, I just haven't seen them.

Something else to be sure to research is available bandwidth. Certain boards and CPU's have PCIe bandwidth limits so make sure to research that before buying 2 NVMe drives plus a GPU (or 2) and expect high bandwidths across all lanes.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
I "just* bought the Samsung 970 EVO PLUS for just over $100. The 970 EVO is aroun $90 right now. Both are 500 GB and are PCIe x4. 256 GB are cheap too. Newegg has an HP PCIe x4 256 GB on sale for $35. That would hold your OS and about 3 or more games.

What is your budget for M.2?

The new gear that I'm referencing for myself should arrive today. That's how recently I researched and bought.
 
OP
Bustos

Bustos

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Dec 29, 2012
Location
KS, USA
Ack, I was thinking gen 4 vs gen 3. I thought the x4 and the x3 referred to their gen. :chair:

Looked up that Samsung 970 EVO Plus, it’s a PCIe Gen 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3, M.2 (2280). I don’t know why I am struggling to keep track of these separate details. Maybe age is finally catching up to me. :eek: I figured to allocate $150-$200 for the two separate drives.

Edit: Also looking at the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Elite mobo.
 
Last edited:

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
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Ack, I was thinking gen 4 vs gen 3. I thought the x4 and the x3 referred to their gen.
Mercy!



With a single, larger drive, you can simply partition it and keep the OS and apps on one partition, and games/storage on the other. This way if you need to obliterate the OS, you just reinstall on the OS partition without worrying about games and storage.

If you have two drives, a simple smaller one for the OS and apps (maybe 256GB PCIe NVMe) and a larger, slower drive (M.2 SATA for example) for games and storage.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
Yeah. The x2, x3 and x4 refer to the number of PCIe lanes that it will use.

Do you have a motherboard picked out yet? That may help determine what configuration you want to use too.
 
OP
Bustos

Bustos

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Dec 29, 2012
Location
KS, USA
I did not think about partitioning. I did test creating one before but screwed it up somehow. I was able to boot into two separate OS partitions and couldn’t figure out which partition was which. IIRC I had to DBAN that drive because I couldn’t figure out how to undo whatever I had done. I don’t always look up instructions before I try things. Another reason why I often do fresh OS installs. :D But that’s all part of the fun for me. I’ll look into how to do this properly as a possible option.

Looking at the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Elite. I still have plenty of time before I settle on a mobo but that is my first pick at the moment.
 

don256us

Uber Folding Senior
Joined
Jul 17, 2003
I did not think about partitioning. I did test creating one before but screwed it up somehow. I was able to boot into two separate OS partitions and couldn’t figure out which partition was which. IIRC I had to DBAN that drive because I couldn’t figure out how to undo whatever I had done. I don’t always look up instructions before I try things. Another reason why I often do fresh OS installs. :D But that’s all part of the fun for me. I’ll look into how to do this properly as a possible option.

Looking at the GIGABYTE X570 Aorus Elite. I still have plenty of time before I settle on a mobo but that is my first pick at the moment.

I used to partition in the olden days. I can't recall why I quit doing it. I would occasionally get confused and make a real mess of it. If I had my druthers, I'd rather have only one logical drive per physical drive. Just my two cents.
 

HankB

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Jan 27, 2011
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Beautiful Sunny Winfield
Another wrinkle with motherboard (and PCIE adapter) support is that only one NVME drive may be supported. This is true of the ones I have looked at which isn't a lot. When there are two M.2 slots, one will support NVME and the other will support SATA and the SATA drive will operate at about the same speed as a 2 1/2" SATA SSD.
Perhaps more modern motherboards do not have this limitation but it is something to look for when selecting one if you're thinking about adding a second NVME drive later.

Then again. maybe not. I just looked up this at Newegg

(Integrated in the CPU (M2A_SOCKET):
3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0 x4/x2 SSD support)
2nd Generation AMD Ryzen processors / 2nd Generation AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics processors / AMD Ryzen with Radeon Vega Graphics processors:
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 3.0 x4/x2 SSD support)

Integrated in the Chipset (M2B_SOCKET/M2C_SOCKET):
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 SATA and PCIe 4.0*/3.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2B_SOCKET)
* For 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors only.
1 x M.2 connector (Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA and PCIe 4.0*/3.0 x4/x2 SSD support) (M2C_SOCKET)
* For 3rd Generation AMD Ryzen processors only.)

If I interpret that correctly it lists one M.2 NVME socket connected to the processor (M2A_SOCKET) and two on the chipset (M2B_SOCKET/M2C_SOCKET.) I'm too lazy to lookup and study the board manual but I suppose it explains it better.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
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Location
Go Blue!
Right. That is what I was alluding too in my last post. I haven't researched it either but you "may" be able to get around that by using a PCIe adapter that can house two or more M.2's?
 

Robert17

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
The latest generation of AMD MBs + CPUs support more PCIe bandwidth so you can jam with more x4 sucking devices.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
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Location
Buckeyes!
He's using ryzen 3/zen 2...these boards shouldnt have a issue with 2 pcie nvme devices as x4 is fed from the CPU and another x4 from The chipset.

Even with Intel z390, the majority of boards will run 2x pcie m.2 devices.