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3 Cadmium

Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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.”
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3 Cadmium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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.”

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1 Copper

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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?

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Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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

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4 Tellurium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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@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.

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Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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.

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4 Tellurium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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.)

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4 Tellurium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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@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.

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3 Cadmium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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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.”

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4 Tellurium

Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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I was running a Samsung 950 PRO 512GB in a Dell XPS 435T/9000 (natively boots when initialized to MBR on non-UEFI systems due to it's rare Legacy Option ROM), but I've also switched to Clover so I could boot any NVMe SSD.  Currently chain booting to Windows 10 1903 on a Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB using Clover 5070 on a USB thumb drive.

Anyway, just wanted to mention that it's easier to install Windows 10 directly to NVMe as GPT using the EFI Shell.  Saves having to convert/clone from MBR to GPT.  Following:


@bmcowboy wrote:

[...]

Detail steps as below:
[...]
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.
[...]


...can be replaced by (if UEFI BIOS, may need to turn off Legacy Boot in BIOS):

2.  Initialize blank NVMe drive to GPT or otherwise make sure NVMe drive is NOT initialized to MBR

3.  Boot to Clover USB thumb drive

4.  Insert Windows 10 USB thumb drive with install media on it

5.  Select EFI Shell from Clover GUI menu

6.  From prompt use following to rescan devices, pick up and list inserted USB drive with Windows 10 media:

        map -r

7. Note the (fsX) symbol for the USB drive with Windows 10 media on it.  Type it with no parenthesis and a colon at command prompt to set to root of the Windows USB drive.  Example:

        fs1:

8.  Start the Windows 10 install with following:

        cd \EFI\BOOT

        BOOTX64.EFI

9.  Install Windows directly to the NVMe drive.

10.  If the Windows 10 install needs to reboot to the USB media run the same shell commands as above.

[...]

 

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Re: Precision T5600 PCIe boot success

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Finally. Thanks for the guide. It worked! 

Used this build this:

Case+Motherboard: Dell Precision T3600 (150 EUR)
CPU: Intel Xeon E5-2690 8C/16T (80 EUR)
GPU: Nvidia GTX-1060 6Gb (110 EUR)
RAM: 32Gb of DDR3 ECC RAM (16Gb came with T3600, another 16 +40EUR)
SSD1: Toshiba XG3 M.2 NVMe 256Gb (50 EUR)
HDD1: Seagate Barracuda 2Tb (50 EUR)
SSD2: Samsung 830 256Gb (free, came with T3600)
Cables, adapters, thermal paste ~20EUR
Total: ~500 EUR (all prices include shipping)

<Non-public info removed>

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