I'm planning to upgrade my PC and I'm considering buying a PCIe SSD drive and booting from it. I've read there was a problem booting with some PCIe drives. Is it possible?

  • 1
    We don't provide hardware suggestions. If it does not boot from it you it is considered a bug and should be reported as such so support can be added. By the way: "buy PCI-E SSD disk" is too generic. You need to google the make, model and/or chipset of the product you wish to purchase. – Rinzwind Oct 24 '19 at 8:36
  • I got a Samsung 960 PRO back in 2017 (running 16.04) and it worked instantly. It's definitely worth a try, but you should confirm that you have enough spare PCIe 'lanes' available on your motherboard+CPU. For example if the new disk is sharing lanes with two x16 video cards everything will still work, but not at top speed. – Tom Brossman Oct 24 '19 at 11:35
  • Is Samsung 960 PRO compatible with pci-e x16? – mystdeim Oct 24 '19 at 14:32

On the whole, yes.

That is not to say that all drives will, or that it will be universally simple. I say that last bit from direct experience. Several years ago I bought a Ocz Revodrive. This was two fast SSDs strapped together with a RAID-0 chip on a PCIe x4 card. It was super quick for its time. Anyway, the complications of software-aided [fake]RAID meant that I had to make sure that the dmraid module was included in initramfs. This was not immediately obvious to me, nor was it simple.

Mine worked, but there are some cards with complex setups like this that don't have Linux drivers (few and far between given storage on Linux is their primary business). I would advise you Google for model-specific issues on Linux before purchasing.

Should also point out that if the drive works but (eg) you can't get BIOS to point at it, you can always install /boot on another drive. Even if that's a dirty little USB stick in the back of the PC. You have options.

I have since upgraded to nice simple —and very much faster— m.2 NVME card. I mention it because it's still technically PCIe. It works perfectly as the primary boot disk.

  • Can I put m.2 NVME card to the pci-e x16? – mystdeim Oct 24 '19 at 14:32
  • Adaptors are exactly the sort of "complication" that I'm talking about above that can introduce problems. There are plenty of threads on the internet where people's BIOS can't see the drive, making it impossible to boot to directly. Some people have problems with specific adaptors. Some people are just fine. You can search for the specific components you'd be using and try to find people with problems, but at some point you're going to have to suck it and see. – Oli Oct 24 '19 at 14:55
  • If you're shopping for one, I'd go for the most simple sort of adaptor, not one with multiple m.2s or any claim to RAID. – Oli Oct 24 '19 at 14:57

Since your motherboard has no m.2 slots, that eliminates the easy way to add a PCIe drive.

The SATA controllers it has do not support NVMe PCIe drives, the second easiest route to add PCIe drives.

Therefore, you must find a PCIe NVMe controller card to run an NVMe PCIe 2.5" drive, or a combination card where the PCIe drive mounts on the PCIe card. I would be very careful to explicitly say this to the vendor: "This is a condition of sale; will I be able to boot from your PCIe {whatever}?" If they do not immediately say YES, walk away.

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