I'd like to use an NVMe drive paired with a PCIe adapter as main system disk.

Unfortunately, I have a mainboard (X79) whose BIOS does not support booting NVMe drives. I was wondering if I can install the system (either Windows or Linux) on the NVMe SSD, then install GRUB or another bootloader on a regular SATA drive, and use it to boot the NVMe drive.

It is a Fujitsu-Siemens D3128 mainboard.

Will it work?

  • Posting the actual brand/model of the board would have been helpful. X79 alone means nothing. Whether or not it can boot directly from additional cards depends on the firmware. That firmware is likely to be UEFI and not BIOS. That information alone answers your question. – user772515 Apr 30 '18 at 13:15
  • It is a Fujitsu-Siemens D3128 mainboard. Chipset C602, which basically is X79 with ECC support. I said X79 since most people don't know C6xx chipsets. However, native support for NVMe is absent for sure. In my plan, the mobo will just boot a regular sata ssd, then the bootloader onto it should boot the NVMe drive. But I'd like to know if it's doable in order to avoid wasting money in buying the drive. – MadHatter Apr 30 '18 at 23:14

Yes, it is doable. It requires manual partitioning though.

As long as the ESP (EFI System Partition) is created in a bootable drive, the OS partition(s) can be anywhere else.

For Linux, selecting the ESP and creating the required partitions can be done during the installation.

For Windows is the same. The installer will use the existing ESP and install in a different, user selected, drive.

  • 1
    Ok about linux I'm convinced. But remember that windows has to reboot several times prior to finishing the installation. Will it be content in finding just the bootable windows installation usb stick and NOT the NVMe which was the installation target (OS partition)? – MadHatter May 1 '18 at 19:39
  • I'd love to see some step-by-step instructions here, even if they're high-level. – jvriesem Sep 25 '20 at 4:19

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