bmcowboy
3 Silver

Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Hi there,

Tried reply to pervious threads with the same topic but all locked. Therefore I start a new one and hopefully it gives help to anyone with the same question.

Before getting the refurbished T5600 that received yesterday, I searched on Dell Community and see if PCIe boot with m.2 drive possible on this machine, and all negative. Once T5600 arrived, I installed a dual-NVMe PCIe adapter on it and successfully built a Win10 system with UEFI boot. Here's some of the information and let me know if you need further details:

- BIOS version: A06 (also work when updated to A18)

- m.2 PCIe adapter: Orico PRS2

- m.2 drive: WD Green 120GB x 2, run as RAID0

“May the Force be with Dell.”
Tags (2)
0 Kudos
1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
bmcowboy
3 Silver

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Hi Folks,

Big sorry for my critical mistake that wrongly identify ORICO PRS2 as a NVMe RAID card... Yes, it's just for m.2 SSD SATA. How dumb I am! Sorry again.

Let me provide a good news to make up for the mistake: I finally find a way to boot from NVMe on T5600.
Here's my parts Iist:
- m.2 PCIe adapter: Orico PDM2
- m.2 drive: WD Black 250GB
- an USB memory stick as a Clover bootloader

Thanks for this thread that gives me hope.

Generally, this Clover bootloader method works as this:
BIOS/UEFI->Clover-EFI->NvmExpressDxe-driver->bootpartition@NVMe-drive->OS

That means it bypass mainboard's BIOS or UEFI and allow boot from any detected storage device, including NVMe drive on PCIe adaptor. In other words, it works for almost any PCs with PCIe slot to boot from NVMe. I even try it on an Intel i7 870 PC and works fine!

Detail steps as below:
1. Follow NVME/Clover thread to set up Clover USB.
2. Install Win10 on SSD thru legacy BIOS.
3. Install cloner (I use Macrium Reflect) and clone Win10 SSD to NVME
4. Log into Win10 on SSD and convert NVME from MBR to GPT.
5. Use Clover USB to boot into Clover and choose, start Windows EFI to boot into NVME.
6. Leave the USB key in for every boot.

Yes, you have to leave the USB memory stick there for every boot. But once you found your machine able to boot from NVMe with huge speed improvement, it worths!

Someone even made a video for the whole process.


Hopefully it works for anyone in need as well.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
12 Replies
bitbang
1 Copper

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

I have A18 bios too. However, I still can't get it to boot off m.2 nvme SSD. Did you have to do anything special in the bios setup?

0 Kudos
bitbang
1 Copper

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Also, are you sure you got WD Green SSD? Because WD Green doesn't have pci-e nvme it only have M.2 SATA.

0 Kudos
Techgee
2 Iron

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

@bmcowboy wrote:

[...]

Once T5600 arrived, I installed a dual-NVMe PCIe adapter on it and successfully built a Win10 system with UEFI boot. Here's some of the information and let me know if you need further details:

- [...]

- m.2 PCIe adapter: Orico PRS2

- m.2 drive: WD Green 120GB x 2, run as RAID0


The ORICO PRS2 is NOT a NVMe adapter.  It's a SATA adapter that provides dual M.2 SATA SSD RAID.  It doesn't support 'M'-keyed M.2 SSDs - meaning NVMe.  You'll get similar performance to any other format SATA SSDs in a similar RAID setup.

The WD Green's are also SATA SSD devices, just in M.2 format.

0 Kudos
Techgee
2 Iron

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

@bitbang wrote:

I have A18 bios too. However, I still can't get it to boot off m.2 nvme SSD. Did you have to do anything special in the bios setup?


What SSDs have you tried?

The Dell T5600 supports Legacy Boot, so you should be able to boot from a M.2 NVMe SSD as long as it has a Legacy Option ROM.  Only a handful of M.2 NVMe SSD devices were made with a Legacy Option ROM, though.

You could also try "dual" or "split" device booting - boot to boot manager on a SATA drive, but have Windows installed on M.2 NVMe SSD.

0 Kudos
bitbang
1 Copper

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

I'm using Western Digital Black NVMe SSD M.2 im not sure if they support Legacy Boot Rom as you mentioned. If not, I was wondering if there are any cheap raid controller that support Legacy Boot Rom for NVMe.

0 Kudos
Techgee
2 Iron

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

The Samsung 950 PRO (was available in 256GB or 512GB) is the go-to M.2 NVMe device with a Legacy Option ROM.  Seems the Plextor 8MPe (which also has a Legacy Option ROM) has been tried here in the Dell Precision T5600, but had compatibility issues - recognized in BIOS, but failed part-way through boot.  Similar to my experience on a Dell X58 chipset non-UEFI system.  Although, I was able to boot and it worked fine once booted, it took 1 1/2 minutes to boot (obviously some boot-time communications handshaking issues).  The performance and 1TB was nice, but I passed on the slow boot.  Samsung 950 PRO 512GB was flawless, with similar performance.  Got mine off ebay.

To use the Legacy Option ROM the SSD needs to be initialized MBR, BIOS set to Legacy Boot and Legacy Option ROM's enabled if there is such a BIOS setting.  I usually set to AHCI so I don't have to mess with injecting Intel RST drivers during Windows install (and besides Samsung NVMe driver needs AHCI, if you want to use it instead of Windows default driver or Intel RST).

I don't know of any M.2 NVMe SSD RAID controllers that are cheap - at least I wouldn't consider the High Point SSD7101A-1 cheap at $400.  (It also isn't clear to me whether or not this requires motherboard PCIe bifurcation support - meaning only works on newer motherboards.)

0 Kudos
bmcowboy
3 Silver

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Hi Folks,

Big sorry for my critical mistake that wrongly identify ORICO PRS2 as a NVMe RAID card... Yes, it's just for m.2 SSD SATA. How dumb I am! Sorry again.

Let me provide a good news to make up for the mistake: I finally find a way to boot from NVMe on T5600.
Here's my parts Iist:
- m.2 PCIe adapter: Orico PDM2
- m.2 drive: WD Black 250GB
- an USB memory stick as a Clover bootloader

Thanks for this thread that gives me hope.

Generally, this Clover bootloader method works as this:
BIOS/UEFI->Clover-EFI->NvmExpressDxe-driver->bootpartition@NVMe-drive->OS

That means it bypass mainboard's BIOS or UEFI and allow boot from any detected storage device, including NVMe drive on PCIe adaptor. In other words, it works for almost any PCs with PCIe slot to boot from NVMe. I even try it on an Intel i7 870 PC and works fine!

Detail steps as below:
1. Follow NVME/Clover thread to set up Clover USB.
2. Install Win10 on SSD thru legacy BIOS.
3. Install cloner (I use Macrium Reflect) and clone Win10 SSD to NVME
4. Log into Win10 on SSD and convert NVME from MBR to GPT.
5. Use Clover USB to boot into Clover and choose, start Windows EFI to boot into NVME.
6. Leave the USB key in for every boot.

Yes, you have to leave the USB memory stick there for every boot. But once you found your machine able to boot from NVMe with huge speed improvement, it worths!

Someone even made a video for the whole process.


Hopefully it works for anyone in need as well.

“May the Force be with Dell.”
bmcowboy
3 Silver

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Further input to share.

- BIOS
My T5600 came with A06 at the very beginning. USB boot, NVMe adapter detection and harddisk cloning were all fine. However, when I updated it to the latest A18, everything gone wrong. It couldn’t boot from USB no matter using legacy BIOS or UEFI. Tested A17, A15 & A14, all leads to the same problem. I then back to the starting point and downgrade it to the original A06, and then everything back to normal again. Strange but as least a way to boot from USB and start harddisk cloning. When all setup done and Win10 can smoothly run on the NVMe drive, I dare not to upgrade BIOS now ^^”

- PCIe slot
After installing a RTX 2070 display card into the default graphic PCIe slot (the blue one), I can only choose between 2 PCIe slots to install the NVMe adapter: the one next to the traditional PCI slot and the one next to RAM slot. Both are “x16 (wired as x4)” but only the one next to RAM slot is PCIe GEN3. So, you know what to choose! Check on page 4 of this PDF to know more about T5600 slot allocation if needed. Also, you can use tools from the original SSD manufacturer (e.g. Western Digital SSD Dashboard for WD SSD) to ensure you NVMe running on the right interface.

- Clover Configuration
Sometimes I found Clover bootloader may not boot correctly (stuck on drive detection, lead to system reboot, etc.). Note that the original concept of Clover is to build a "Hackintosh" system to run Apple OS X on non-Apple hardware. The USB stick generated from the Boot Disk Utility comes with lots of useless stuff in our case. I followed this post to configure Clover, then my system smooth on every boot.

- Choosing NVMe adapter
Apart from high-end adapter, I could only budget to choose cheap cards like costing at US$12 something. You may find lots of combo adapters that comes with 1 B-key slot and 1 M-key slot. I once wondering who would need such an odd combination. But soon I realize that it just serves our needs! T5600 comes with 4 HDD SATA port but only 3 15-pin power cable. And I never wanted to add any power cable splitter. These kinds of combo adapter allow me to connect a m2 SATA SSD without additional power cable. On the other hand, Clover can be installed not only on USB stick but also harddisk. Therefore, I can now run Clover bootloader from the m2 SATA and Windows from NVMe, i.e. no need using USB stick as bootloader. Perfect!

- Speed
WD Black 250GB NVMe speeds up to 3000MB/s. However, I could only get 18XX read / 16XX write during several benchmark tests. I still can’t figure out what’s the button neck. Hopefully anyone here try it out. Here’s my results for your reference.

49855656_10156046980881547_5685971692661243904_o.jpg

 

 

Thank you and Enjoy!

“May the Force be with Dell.”
Highlighted
bmcowboy
3 Silver

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

Jump to solution

Further investigation on how BIOS version affect NVMe boot on T5600

As day-off today, I've got spare time to perform varies BIOS version compatibility test with NVMe boot on T5600. Here's the results:

BIOS VersionRelease DateNVMe boot test
A0609 Nov 2012Pass
A1113 Sep 2013Pass
A1211 Dec 2013Pass
A1319 May 2014Pass
A1407 Nov 2014Failed
A1506 Jun 2017Failed
A1724 Apr 2018Failed
A1819 Jul 2018Failed

 

Seems like some changes on A14 made the difference. Checked on driver details and found this:

" Enhancements
- Set Max Read Request Size to 4096 bytes to enhance PCIe performance."

This changes affected normal reading of NVMe on PCIe adapter. In fact, even if you install the NVMe set as spare drive but not the OS drive, you would only locate it in MMC as an unknown drive and cannot format.

For those who want to normally use NVMe drive with PCIe adapter on T5600, check the BIOS version on your system and downgrade it back to A13 if needed.

“May the Force be with Dell.”