cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
  • ×
    Information
    Fix Windows 10 Update Issues

    Resolve Windows 10 or update issues on HP computer or printer– Click Here

  • post a message
  • ×
    Information
    Fix Windows 10 Update Issues

    Resolve Windows 10 or update issues on HP computer or printer– Click Here

  • post a message
Highlighted
New member
1 0 0 0
Message 1 of 3
323
Flag Post

The truth about z620/z820 NVMe SSD boot

HP Recommended

One of the questions that seem to come up regularly is if a HP z620 workstation can boot from a NVMe SSD, and the often touted answer is that it can't without additional tools or modifying the BIOS.

 

I now want to point out that this answer is NO LONGER CORRECT!

 

While it is true that the z620 (as well as its bigger brother z820) didn't support NVME boot when they were released, HP has added NVME boot into of the later BIOS versions (starting with BIOS 3.84) so that the z620/820 could support Gen2 z Turbo Drives which use NVMe SSDs (G1 used PCIe SSDs), presumably so they could use Gen2 drives as replacement for failed Gen1 drives (adding NVMe support was probably cheaper than keeping separate stock for Gen1 and Gen2 drives). As a result, a z620/z820 updated with the latest BIOS (which currently is version 3.95A) will boot fine from most M.2 and U.2 NVMe drives as long as the machine is in UEFI mode.

 

I tested a number of NVMe SSDs from Sabrent (M.2), Micron (M.2 and U.2) and intel (M.2) in my z620, and the only one which the machine didn't boot from was a 4TB intel P4500 with speciality firmware (HPE/Facebook). All the others booted fine under Windows 8.1/10 and Linux (RHEL, SUSE),  with either 512 byte or 4k sector sizes (both worked fine). 

 

I've been running NVMe boot drives in z620/z820 for over a year now, and currently run a 3.84TB Micron 9200 U.2 NVMe SSD in 4k mode on a U.2-to-PCIe adapter in my personal z620 running Windows 10. 

 

The reason I posted this was that I still found threads from this year (2020) compiling a long list of steps one supposedly must to do to be able from NVME, which is a complete waste of time when there is now direct NVMe support.

 

Hopefully this information finds people looking for information regarding NVMe in z620/820 before the stumble upon the outdated information that is still promoted by other members.

2 REPLIES 2
Highlighted
Level 7
417 395 54 100
Message 2 of 3
Flag Post
HP Recommended

You didn't by any chance test any of the Samsung EVO/Pro NVMe drives did you? e.g. 970 EVO Plus, etc. Excellent post by the way and quite informative.

 

Can you post a bit more specific details on the NVMe drives that you tested please, (models, drive capacity), and what M.2/U.2 PCIe adapter cards you used? I need to replace my older generation 256GB Samsung SM951 AHCI M.2 boot/OS drive, as I'm quickly running out of space. Knowing which NVMe drives will work as a boot drive in the Z620 is a major help. 

 

 

 

HP Z620 - Liquid Cooled E5-1680v2 @4.7GHz / 64GB Hynix PC3-14900R 1866MHz / GTX1080Ti FE 11GB / Quadro P2000 5GB / Samsung 256GB PCIe M.2 256GB AHCI / Passmark 9.0 Rating = 7147 / CPU 17461 / 2D 1019 / 3D 14464 / Mem 3153 / Disk 15451 / Single Threaded 2551
Reply
0 Kudos
Highlighted
Level 3
20 19 3 7
Message 3 of 3
Flag Post
HP Recommended

@Brian1965 wrote:

You didn't by any chance test any of the Samsung EVO/Pro NVMe drives did you? e.g. 970 EVO Plus, etc. Excellent post by the way and quite informative.

 

Can you post a bit more specific details on the NVMe drives that you tested please, (models, drive capacity), and what M.2/U.2 PCIe adapter cards you used? I need to replace my older generation 256GB Samsung SM951 AHCI M.2 boot/OS drive, as I'm quickly running out of space. Knowing which NVMe drives will work as a boot drive in the Z620 is a major help. 


Posting from my other account now.

 

I did not try Samsung (the EVO/PRO drives have low TBW ratings, are comparatively expensive, and Samsung had a number of annoying bugs in their firmwares over the years), however some of their drives requires non-standard NVMe drivers to work properly, and these drives are unlikely to work in the z620 as boot drive (they don't work as boot drive in many other first gen NVMe systems like the original Apple Mac Pro). 

 

The same is also true for drives which come with OEM firmware, i.e. HPE, Dell, Lenovo or similar re-branded SSDs. Some work, other's don't, and in the case of Dell updating the firmware on a non-PowerEdge system is a PITA so I'd recommend to stay away from OEM drives completely. 

 

What worked:

- intel SSD DC P3500, P3600 and P3700 Series in various capacities (all retail drives with standard intel firmware, not OEM) 

- HP EX920 512GB and 1TB M.2 drives, which worked fine in the HP z Turbo Drive adapter (where they replaced the old 256GB PCIe SSD). 

- Sabrent Rocket 1TB M.2

- Micron 9200 and 9300 U.2 SSDs in various capacities (all with standard Micron firmware)

 

There were some other drives I tried over the years which I can't remember (and I can't find my notes). 

 

I'm mostly using Micron 9200 and 9300 drives as they are very fast, offer a range of capacities up to 15TB, and have high PBW ratings. They are also reasonably priced for enterprise drives. However, they tend to get pretty warm so they need some cooling airflow. The intel drives run a lot cooler and work fine even in uncooled U.2 quick swap bays.

 

As to U.2 to PCI adapters, I used a wide range from cheap no-name to StarTech or Icy Dock and all worked fine. Which isn't surprising as there is no electronics on these adapters, they are merely converting the physical connector format. 

 

Be alert for scammers posting fake support phone numbers and/or email addresses on the community. If you think you have received a fake HP Support message, please report it to us by clicking on "Flag Post".
† The opinions expressed above are the personal opinions of the authors, not of HP. By using this site, you accept the Terms of Use and Rules of Participation