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I have an aging motherboard in my computer which I built in 2010. The mobo is Gigabyte GA-P55-USB3 (rev2). It has only one PCIe slot that is revision 2 and the graphics card occupies that slot. The other three PCIe slots are all revision 1 (note 1). There is a PCIe X16 slot available that operates at X4 so it should support rates up to 1GB/s. This is faster than sata 3 and a lot faster than sata 2 rates which is all the mobo supports. I’m wondering if I could buy an adapter to convert the X4 PCIe revision 1 slot to an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in order to increase my rates up or close to the 1GB/s limit of the revision 1 PCIe slot (I'd like to do this for the Windows 10 C: drive only). I’m not certain what other requirements are needed or how to tell if my aging mobo would permit booting to the newer M.2 NVMe SSDs. Help is appreciated.

Note 1: This is also curious. The three slots that Gigabyte calls PCIe revision 1 are all on a bus that connects to the P55 chipset. The Intel spec for the P55 chipset states its PCIe bus is revision is 2. Accordingly, I don’t understand why these PCIe lanes are not operating at revision 2 rates.

@Ramhound wrote: “You cannot typically boot from a device plugged into a SATA PCIe card.”
Thanks for the comment @Ramhound.
I was poking around the BIOS yesterday. Under Advanced Bios Features / Hard Disk Boot Priority, it listed all detected disks and "Bootable-add-in-cards" as an option. Of course, there are no add in cards installed so none were detected and the references to such cards ended there. This seems to imply that the BIOS is capable of booting from a (SATA III ??) disk that is added by means of one of those PCIe “Bootable-add-in-cards” (I understand that an NVMe disk is out for me). What do you think? Am I reading too much into this? What else would the "Bootable-add-in-card" option be used for in the boot priority menu if not to add a (sata?) drive to boot from? Thanks for your help. I may know enough about this stuff to be dangerous.

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    PCIe was all over the place back then - AGP was still around for graphics. Getting that to boot would be a mission, although you may be able to read it with a m2 pcie adapter - Some of those may have their own bios enabling you to boot in the same way older SCSI boards would. It's worth a try – JohnnyVegas Oct 9 at 22:03
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    Would you please edit the question down to one question? – Christopher Hostage Oct 9 at 22:04
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I’m wondering if I could buy an adapter to convert the X4 PCIe revision 1 slot to an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD in order to increase my rates up or close to the 1GB/s limit of the revision 1 PCIe slot (I'd like

NVMe devices are incompatible with the hardware you have. You would be unable to boot from the device. So your primary reason for doing the upgrade could not be accomplished.

A SATA SSD would be compatible with your hardware. There really isn’t a significant performance increase from SATA III to PCIe revision your hardware supports.

This is also curious. The three slots that Gigabyte calls PCIe revision 1 are all on a bus that connects to the P55 chipset. The Intel spec for the P55 chipset states its PCIe bus is revision is 2. Accordingly, I don’t understand why these PCIe lanes are not operating at revision 2 rates

It simply comes down to the amount of PCIe lanes your motherboard has. OEM manufactures also have some design freedom when it comes down to offering features like PCIe functionality.

  • What exactly makes the PCIe slot incompatible with NVMe? The firmware won't be compatible in that it won't be able to boot from a non-ATA disk, but I don't see anything that would make the hardware incompatible as long as there's some other way to bootstrap the OS. – grawity Oct 10 at 4:50
  • Thanks @Ramhound (and others for their comments). I'm quickly getting the impression that interfacing an NVMe SSD to the PCIe bus won't boot without a UEFI which my mobo does not have. You mentioned a SATA SSD would work. My existing SATA ports are 3Gb/s ports. If I were to use a pcie adapter card to provide a 6Gb/s SATA port are you suggesting that my board would boot to a SATA drive connected to this 6Gb/s port? I'm unclear if the issue with my older mobo is attempting to boot an NVMe SSD or attempting to boot any type of drive that is connected via the PCIe bus. Thanks! – Tweakit Oct 10 at 5:03
  • @Tweakit - You cannot typically boot from a device plugged into a SATA PCIe card. – Ramhound Oct 10 at 12:27
  • @Ramhound - Thanks for the comment. I edited the original question to better address what is remaining opened on this while also responding to your latest comment. Tnx. – Tweakit Oct 10 at 19:03

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