NVMe: 2.5" SFF drives working in a normal desktop

Jun 24, 2015
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> I can't see how you'd notice it at all

I know with certainly that I would "notice it" :)

We copy each drive image of the C: system partition
to all other partitions -- for the sake of redundancy.

Not only does the initial WRITE task take several minutes;
"scattering" that newly created drive image to all other
partitions also takes a lot of time.

Another important speed difference will be routine
STARTUP and SHUTDOWN. We operate on our
12GB HTML database using a ramdisk managed
by RamDisk Plus from SuperSpeed, LLC.

That ramdisk is saved to permanent storage
at each SHUTDOWN, and restored from permanent storage
at each STARTUP.

Right now, that saved ramdisk image is hosted on
4 x Hitachi 2.5" 15,000 rpm HDDs, and they deliver
about 600 MB/second.

If/when we upgrade to 4 x Samsung 850 Pro SSDs in RAID-0,
the speed of those drive image SAVEs and RESTOREs
should triple to about 1,800 MB/second.

A RAID-0 of 4 x 2.5" NVMe SSDs should make those
tasks that much faster.

Then, there are other performance tweaks that would
be easy e.g. moving pagefile.sys to such a super fast RAID-0.

Hope this helps.

MRFS
 

Davewolfs

Active Member
Aug 6, 2015
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Does anyone know where I can find a simple M.2 to 8643 NVME adapter that will fit a 2280 style slot. The Asus is too small, I believe the MSI is 2280 but is only sold online in the UK.
 

Continuum

Member
Jun 5, 2015
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The MSI card might be coming to Newegg. Newegg shows now shows that the MSI Turbo U.2 Card is out of stock. Earlier this morning and for the past week, the MSI Turbo U.2 Host Card was a deactivated item at Newegg, indicating that Newegg might not receive any stock. I have my fingers crossed that it will be arriving soon in the US.
 

Continuum

Member
Jun 5, 2015
77
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The MSI card might be coming to Newegg. Newegg shows now shows that the MSI Turbo U.2 Card is out of stock. Earlier this morning and for the past week, the MSI Turbo U.2 Host Card was a deactivated item at Newegg, indicating that Newegg might not receive any stock. I have my fingers crossed that it will be arriving soon in the US.
And . . . the MSI turbo U.2 Host Card is a deactivated item again. :-/
 

CableGuy

New Member
Oct 1, 2015
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I have developed what I believe is a drop-in (plug-in) replacement for the cable assembly shipped w/ the Intel '750 Series' 2.5" PCIe NVME SSD's, currently shipped w/ the 1.2TB SSDPE2MW012T4RS, and the 400GB SSDPE2MW012G4R5 drives.
I understand that the SuperMicro AOC-SLG3-2E4R as well as ASUS Z97 & X99 mother boards support these 'add-on' SSD's via an SFF-8643 connection on their mother boards. I am expecting our solution to provide a connection to these devices.

As it is quite cumbersome to incorporate the SFF-8639 (U.2)drive connector onto a cable, with its requirement of *signal pairs, *'system management' lines, and *power wires, ..... we designed a PCB that integrates all of the above onto an adapter board that plugs onto the drive, and has a SAS high-density (12G-rated) SFF-8643 on the board to supply 'signals' and 'SM' from the Host to the drive.
The board has a standard 4-pin power plug (5v-GND-GND-12v) to supply power. We incorporated 3.3v regulator circuitry onto the board (derived from the 5v input) to supply 3.3v to the drive.
To connect from the drive adapter to the Host, as a part of our 'Kit', we supply a cable w/ SFF-8643's on each end.

As this is a BRAND NEW design, I would like to get a 'BETA' unit or 2 out to someone who has an existing system running the Intel 2.5" drive(s), and test our new design.

If you are interested, please contact me.

Chris Schwartz
CS Electronics - Irvine, CA
Home - CS Electronics
949) 475-9100

UPDATE ON THE 2.5" Cable/Adapter Solution above:
We have rec'd confirmation on our first units tested in a PCIe environment, and the news is that the units perform flawlessly.
We added to our web site today......
see here: Cable Kit for 2.5″ PCIe NVMe SSD Drives - CS Electronics

We have limited availability currently, which will be improving in the near future.

Current Web price will be ~$200/kit.

Thank you for your interest.
Chris Schwartz
CS Electronics
949) 475-9100
chris@cselex.com
 

iq100

Member
Jun 5, 2012
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CableGuy wrote>"... see here: Cable Kit for 2.5″ PCIe NVMe SSD Drives - CS Electronics
We have limited availability currently, which will be improving in the near future.
Current Web price will be ~$200/kit. ..."

This looks like an expensive solution to a temporary problem. That is the scarcity/cost of SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cables.
Furthermore more connections is usually worse. Your approach adds a board with two connections: SFF-8643 and SFF-8639 (aka U.2)
These 'extra' connection is not needed if one has a direct SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cable.
No one wants to have to purchase the Intel 750 NVME 2.5" SSD just to get its included SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cable.
The group purchase here I think got the price for this cable to $40. The $200 you suggest for your kit would be better used to purchase five cables! And you would save introducing another connection your kit uses.

Question: Couldn't you use your resource to provide low cost SFF-8643 to SFF-8639 (aka U.2) cables. Its just wire and two connectors. Once this temporary scarcity situation is addressed, the price for the cable will probably come down to less than $10!

Actually, if the U.2 2.5" NVME SSDs are going to be the accepted way, rather than the M.2 NVME SSD cards, then a well designed, quiet, 5.25 inch bay form factor which provided for four 2.5 inch SSDs would be the way to go since the Intel\Supermicro NVME capable backplanes is expensive. Make a quiet fan equipped $50 5.25 inch bay accessory that allowed 4x2.5 inch NVME SSDs and people would beat a path to your door!

PS: I sent you a PM message, but you never answered. You need to click on your profile and look at "COMMUNICATIONS".
 
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RchGrav

Member
Aug 21, 2015
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The MSI card might be coming to Newegg. Newegg shows now shows that the MSI Turbo U.2 Card is out of stock. Earlier this morning and for the past week, the MSI Turbo U.2 Host Card was a deactivated item at Newegg, indicating that Newegg might not receive any stock. I have my fingers crossed that it will be arriving soon in the US.
I ordered one of these from NewEgg on 9/24 received 9/29 from them in the US so they WERE available..

Is that a PEX chip on the card... or something else.. I can;t read the numbers they are so small.. I even tried taking a picture of the chip with my iphone and blowing it up to read the numbers.



[EDIT]
According to the specs of the adapter the chip is some kind of "redriver" circuit meant to increase signal integrity of the data over the cable.. not sure of how much of a difference the addition of this chip provides... here is the best picture of the chip I could get.

 
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Davewolfs

Active Member
Aug 6, 2015
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Regarding the MSI board, I noticed that it is available from Provantage via Special Order. Says 3 business day turn around. Will order and see if it shows up.
 

RchGrav

Member
Aug 21, 2015
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Regarding the MSI board, I noticed that it is available from Provantage via Special Order. Says 3 business day turn around. Will order and see if it shows up.

I had the same problem as you with the shorter ASUS converter card... I ordered it for the supermicro D-1540 motherboard, but the M.2 connection doesn't have a standoff close enough to securely mount the M.2 to U.2 ASUS card. The MSI version is definitely longer and I'm sure it will line up with the will do the trick for me once I have a moment to give it a shot. :)
 
Jun 24, 2015
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Update: ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme has an integrated U.2 port @ 32 Gb/s
right next to the standard on-board SATA and SATA-Express ports:

http://supremelaw.org/systems/asus/maximus.viii.extreme.jpg (I added the red circle)



Here's a brief review:

ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme Motherboard Pictured | techPowerUp

"Storage connectivity includes an SFF-8639 U.2 32 Gb/s connector"

Now, if tier one vendors like ASUS will just bite the bullet
and give us at least 4 x U.2 ports with full RAID support,
we Enthusiasts should really have something to brag about! :)

MRFS
 

Davewolfs

Active Member
Aug 6, 2015
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Perhaps Cable Guy can make us an M.2 to U.2 adapter with multiple ports. If we are lucky he will sell it for under $200 :)
 
Jun 24, 2015
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See: "Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, from which three are wired to the CPU"

Thus, I'm honestly "stuck" on an NVMe RAID controller with a full x16 edge connector,
particularly if motherboard vendors are NOT going to be integrating 4 x U.2 ports
with full RAID support in the near future.

If three such x16 slots are wired directly to the CPU (as reported above),
then there is a certain engineering elegance that results from:

x16 PCIe 3.0 lanes "fanning out" to four x4 NVMe ports (4 x 4 = 16)
like this (please forgive the repetition):

http://supremelaw.org/systems/intel/4-port.fan-out.cabling.topology.JPG


MRFS
 
Jun 24, 2015
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Re: "a well designed, quiet, 5.25 inch bay form factor which provided for four 2.5 inch SSDs would be the way to go since the Intel\Supermicro NVME capable backplanes are expensive."

EXACTLY!

FYI: I asked Icy Dock if they were planning to manufacture such an enclosure,
but their initial answer was NO.

It would come very close to this popular Icy Dock product:

ICY DOCK MB994SP-4SB-1 HDD Accessory - Newegg.com

... but with a compatible integrated backplane and connectors.


MRFS