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April 29th, 2024 04:11

Dell Ultra-Speed Drive Quad NVMe on aT7910. Can you boot from it? Will you be able to read more than one SSD? I have the answers!

I'm using a T7910 with dual E5 2687W V4 CPU's and recently purchased a Dell Ultra-Speed Drive Quad NVMe in hopes to use one of the slots for a boot drive. I asked a lot of questions with very little concrete information as to whether I could boot from a pcie card, or whether my Workstation would even read more than one drive since there's neither pcie boot nor Bifurbication options in bios. I took a shot and bought a used one and popped one Samsung 980 Pro 1TB stick in it and put it in the top pcie 16 ( wired as 16 ) slot. With all other drives disconnected, I booted to my Windows 10 install USB and happily, it discovered the SSD nvme drive, and installed windows on it. After the install completed, I rebooted by computer and it fired right up! I updated Windows fully and then decided to try adding a couple of 980 Pro 2TB nvme drives to see if they would work and sure enough, BOTH drives appeared in Disk manager and I was able to format them and am now using both.  So now I have 4  HDD's ( total  50 TB ) and 4 Samsung SATA SSD's ( total 12 TB ) for storage and two Samsung Pro 2TB nvme's for my video rendering work plus the 1TB for running Windows. I should point out that I'm running UEFI bios with no legacy ROMS. The M.2's don't appear in the drives list ( only the 8 connected to the SAS controller ), but Windows Boot Manager was still able to find the pcie boot drive on its own. That said, I was still able to add that drive in boot options and place it first, ahead of boot manager. For all my angst, confusion, and unanswered questions, I have to say, this couldn't have gone more smoothly every step of the way! So YES, you can boot an nvme ssd from a pcie card on a Dell Precision T7910, and YES, it can split 16 lanes into 4 groups of 4 to accommodate 4 nvme SSD's. Just thought I'd share my experience in case it answers some questions, or helps someone else make some decisions.

6 Professor

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7.8K Posts

April 30th, 2024 00:34

Are you using an adapter(s) that allows more than one NVMe drive, like one that takes 4?

5 Practitioner

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April 30th, 2024 07:07

The 7910 tower features Dell Ultra-Speed Quad as optional storage.  The adapter can support up to four NVMe SSD and be installed on a PCIe x16 slot.  The Precision family of T5810, T7810, and T7910 were built with x99 boards and the first product line with native bifurcation and supporting PCIe boot.

The Ultra-Speed Quad however, does not support M.2 22110, enterprise grade SSD.  For heavy applications drive writes per day endurance SSD, users can use Ultra-Speed Duo (x2 SSD) or Asus Hyper V2 (x4 SSD) which can support enterprise grade SSD with M.2 22110 form factor.   

Technical specifications and features of Precision 7910 tower  https://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/Dell-Precision-Tower-7000-Series-7910-Spec-Sheet.pdf

6 Professor

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April 30th, 2024 23:43

@Chino de Oro​ 

Thanks for the info.

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May 1st, 2024 02:02

@bradthetechnut​ 

yes, as I posted I installed the Ultra-Speed Drive Quad ( 4 ). Right now I have 3 NVMe sticks installed.

(edited)

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May 1st, 2024 02:05

@Chino de Oro​ 

Thanks, for some reason, I never saw this document before. It would have definitely answered some of the questions I had prior.

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5.5K Posts

May 1st, 2024 03:05

Y'all welcome.  Good post nevertheless.  Having more users validated confirmation is better than just pointing to factory technical data.  For your storage upgrade/expansion, I'd like to suggest a couple idea below.

You may also want to test the Asus Hyper V2 adapter.  Benefits:  besides the lower cost, the aluminum alloy adapter also acts as a big metal heatsink, keeping all drives cooler during heavy operation.  Supporting the longer SSD 22110 such as Samsung PM963 for endurance and daily heavy writes usages.

If you would like to have removable capability similar as flexbay in T7920, you may want to look into Icy Dock dual NVMe for PCIe x8 slot, and Icy Dock quad SAS/SATA for 5.25" bay.

Note that all links are for reference only.

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May 1st, 2024 05:11

@Chino de Oro​ 

I considered the Icy Dock solution when looking to purchase T7910, but I found one that already had the Dell SSD kit installed so I snatched it up. What I like about that Icy Dock, other than the fact that it's considerably less expensive than the Dell kits I've seen on Ebay/Amazon is that it has exhaust fans attached to the back whereas with the Dell kit, they're mounted separately, half way between the front and back of the case. I did here tho, that those tiny fans on the Icy Dock don't move very much air, and don't hold up very well overtime, although with SATA SSD's heat isn't that big of an issue.

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May 1st, 2024 05:34

I prefer a more pricier model with full metal enclosure with locks, ToughArmor with 2 fans, keeping drives cooler.  You can review this YT for a similar model w/o locks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk_y40sXy7E

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May 2nd, 2024 02:52

@Chino de Oro​ yeah, I saw that one too, but I'm completely satisfied with the 2.5 Dell kit that came already installed in the workstation I purchased. In fact, now that I have the Dell Quad NVMe  running boot and my video rendering projects and with over 60TB of storage spread over 8 SAS drives, I'm extremely happy with my current rig.

(edited)

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