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mrg_50_68
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m.2 support for Z420 v2 Motherboard

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Z420
Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

Hello I have purchased a z420 Workstation with the V2 motherboard (coupled with the v2 E5-2690 Processor).   My question is that I happen to have a spare m.2 2280 SSD drive from my old computer.   First of all, does the motherboard support the m.2 adapters that are sold on Amazon for a PCI-E slot? 

 

Secondly, does anyone know that if it does support it, would it be possible to boot from that m.2 SSD if I get that adapter?

 

I have not heard of a case where a MOBO could boot from a PCI-device - but then again, I have not ventured too much into wild configurations.

 

It is more or less a curiosity question as I wiped the m.2 and put up for sale on Ebay, but if I could somehow still use it, then I'd possibly consider keeping it.

 

Please advise.

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DGroves
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we really don't feel like repeating ourselves for the 20th time, please use this forums "search" box reguarding booting nvme/sata SSD's on the zx20 line

 

I have not heard of a case where a MOBO could boot from a PCI-device - but then again, I have not ventured too much into wild configurations.

 

then you have been living a sheltered life,.......................... any motherboard that uses the x99 chipset or later or a current AMD chipset  can boot from  a SSD the M.2 socket is just that a socket, nothing special what counts is how the board maker wires the socket, it can support NVME or SATA, Or Both NVME And SATA

 

card makers have been making bootable PCI-e SATA, Pci-NVME and PCI-e SAS/SATA cards for years, again nothing new or unique about this

 

a real short bit of information for you (read the forum posts/replies for more info)

 

anx intel chipset from x99 and newer have the nessary NVME boot code in the bios to boot from a nvme drive dosen't matter if the M.2 slot is on the motherboard or on a PCI-e card

 

pre X99 systems like the zx20 line can not boot from nvme, but can use them as a non booting data drive

the zx20 is able to boot from a SATA (not NVME) PCI-e M.2 4x slot/card using the SATA based sm951 series or the unique SM950 pro which while nvme based, has a unique boot rom that contains the missing nvme boot code that almost all other nvme ssd's lack

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DGroves
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we really don't feel like repeating ourselves for the 20th time, please use this forums "search" box reguarding booting nvme/sata SSD's on the zx20 line

 

I have not heard of a case where a MOBO could boot from a PCI-device - but then again, I have not ventured too much into wild configurations.

 

then you have been living a sheltered life,.......................... any motherboard that uses the x99 chipset or later or a current AMD chipset  can boot from  a SSD the M.2 socket is just that a socket, nothing special what counts is how the board maker wires the socket, it can support NVME or SATA, Or Both NVME And SATA

 

card makers have been making bootable PCI-e SATA, Pci-NVME and PCI-e SAS/SATA cards for years, again nothing new or unique about this

 

a real short bit of information for you (read the forum posts/replies for more info)

 

anx intel chipset from x99 and newer have the nessary NVME boot code in the bios to boot from a nvme drive dosen't matter if the M.2 slot is on the motherboard or on a PCI-e card

 

pre X99 systems like the zx20 line can not boot from nvme, but can use them as a non booting data drive

the zx20 is able to boot from a SATA (not NVME) PCI-e M.2 4x slot/card using the SATA based sm951 series or the unique SM950 pro which while nvme based, has a unique boot rom that contains the missing nvme boot code that almost all other nvme ssd's lack

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mrg_50_68
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hello,

 

Following your advice - I purchased a z420 Workstation, a 950 PRO SSD, and an adapter for the X4/X8 slot.

 

At this point in the game, Windows sees the new drive.   However, I have not migrated software to it yet.

 

What is necessary inside the bios, besides changing the boot order, to get the BIOS to see the 950 Pro as a bootable drive?   I have the most current bios now installed.

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DGroves
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to make things easer, it's recomended that all other hard drives/SSD'd be disconected except for the on the OS is being installed to

 

boot the USBkey/DVD with the windows 10 install and let it install taking all defaults, (if nessary enter activation key) if previously activated by a win 7 upgrade, select i don't have a key, and auto activation will happen appon internet connection to MS activation servers

 

once the os is installed, do all updates and when current power down, reconnect all other drives, boot into bios and confirm  950 pro is first in boot list  (you will not see/have a windows boot manager entry, as that is only for UEFI/Gparted setups) and the z420 is a Legacy only system in reguards to not having NVME boot support

(it can however support non boot drives of any size as it is a UEFI enabled bios

 

here's a usefull overview of a win 10 install procedure

https://www.partitionwizard.com/partitionmanager/install-windows-10.html

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mrg_50_68
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hello,

 

Thanks for the reply and all of the info.    I originally had tried using Partition Master to completely clone my c: drive - but that never worked out for some reason.   So then  used the same software to completely remove all partitions from the Nvme drive (950 Pro).   I figured this would make Windows very happy.

 

The problem now is not that the BIOS does not see the drive, it actually does.   Now I happen to have an older Win10 install DVD that was provided to me when I bought the Z420.     I go thru the install as you instructed, and the install appears to complete.   However, upon reboot, the new drive does not come up, and if I boot from that same Win10 install CD, it does not say anything about an incomplete install.   If I remove the Install CD, and try to just boot from Nvme - the system does not seem to see the OS.   I even tried the repair or reset option with install DVD, and that option stated that there was a partition missing (which I wondered which one - because I see them all).

 

I had thought since I blew away all of the partitions that Windows would do a very clean install.   I am now back on the original C: drive with the nvme still attached separately.   I investigated the partitions that the install created.   They are virtually identical to those of the main C drive.    But given the sizes of partitions, it is very clear that the install did not complete properly because only one has a few GB on it, and less than 10Gb at that.

 

So, my next step, unless you disagree, is to use the Media Creator tool to create a fresh install DVD  for Windows 10 1809 (i can't seem to locate my USB drive).   My thinking at this point is one of 2 things.

 

1) The 950 Pro drive is somehow corrupt or unusable as a Boot drive, but ok as a Data Drive.    That totally defeats the purpose of why I bought it.   I can return it, but I am only doing that as a last resort.

 

2) The Win10 installation DVD is too old to work with the updated BIOS (the BIOS is never than the install disc).      I know it is a bit of a stretch, but I have lack of any better ideas.

 

If 2) does not resolve the issue, and if you don't have any other options that I should consider, I might have to give up and go with the SM951 AHCI drive instead.   There are quite a few of them on Ebay available.   My preference based on posts I read though is to still go with the 950 PRO, unless I find another.   The SM950 PRO is beter performance wise.

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DGroves
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the z800 i know has problems with the Intel 750 pcie card and the 950 pro (it's not a UEFI bios) as a boot device due to a bug in the z800 bios the cards are not seen in the bios, but wildows 10 will see the device(s) but mark them as unable to install windows

 

however the intel 750 and 950 should be able to work  as a boot device in a z820 since you are saying they show up in the bios and windows 10 will install to the device

 

this forum link has a reply from a user who stated a 950 pro was working as a boot device on his z420

 

https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Business-PCs-Workstations-and-Point-of-Sale-Systems/HP-Z820-Motherboar...

 

make sure that UEFI and legacy (CSM) options are enabled in the z420 bios as both are required for the 950 to boot

 

the UEFI is what allows the 950 pro to have the nessary nvme boot code loaded, and then xfer the boot process back to the legacy rom to finish the boot process

 

 

 

 

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mrg_50_68
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Thanks for the info.

I am convinced by what I saw during my investigation that there was something inherently wrong with that 950 Pro (not the brand).    I have sent it back and am shopping for a replacement unit.

 

The UEFI is first in my bios, but the Nvme was showing under the Legacy area, which I think it was to be expected.

 

There were some non-hp posts out there on Tom's Hardware that suggested you have to enable "Secure Boot", but when I did that, my BIOS was not happy (though I am not sure I did it 100% correcT).

 

The 950 PRO's must be a fairly hot commodity because they are fairly pricey.   I also am using a very cheap PCI-E to m2 slot adapter as well.

 

Thanks again for all of your help and suggestions.   I am hoping that another drive gives me better luck next time around.

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DGroves
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some of the cheaper m.2 adapters may cause issues as the filtering and the power regulator ic on the board may not be up to spec but that's unlikely,....still a quality adapter is perfered over a cheaply made no name one which is why name brand is recomended

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mrg_50_68
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Hello,

 

Thanks for all of the help and posts.   I got another 950 PRO, followed your instructions, as well as one from Tom's Hardware about the Secure Boot option, and it worked on the first try.

 

It was not even necessary to do a clean install of Win10 PRO.   I used the Samsung Data Migration tool to clone the drive, and then disconnected the old drive per your recommendation.

 

Since I had turned the secure boot option on, the BIOS saw the new drive immediately and booted from it the very first time.

 

The hard drive that was in the Z420 was very slow and loud.   With the 950 PRO my performance is significantly better, and of course super quiet.

 

Now I can get on to more important things.

 

Thanks again.

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mrg_50_68
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Hello,

 

It has been a bit since we last corresponded.    I have a new development that I am confused on how to resolve.

For the past 7 days I have been running off of the 950 Pro without any issues.

Now, I want to re-introduce the legacy hard drive, but still boot from the 950 Pro.

I bought a new SATA hard drive because the original hard drive was really old and not the greatest drive.

So I want to take the 950 pro and copy some of the files off to the new hard drive.

But when I hook up the new SATA drive, in the BIOS it only sees the SATA drive and not the 950 pro.   It is still setup under the Secure Boot option that I had previously used to boot from the 950 Pro.

Do I need to revert the Secure Boot option?   But if I do I am presuming it won't see the 950 Pro.

 

I am probably being stupid about this , but this whole configuration is very confusing.

The reason I am wanting to copy some files from the 950 PRO is that the drive is not very big and I want to offload some files to the SATA drive.

 

Thanks in advance.

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