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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 Oct 9, 2019 at 22:03
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    Would you please edit the question down to one question? Oct 9, 2019 at 22:04

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In order to directly boot from a device, the BIOS/UEFI must have access to a suitable driver.

Most add-in storage controller cards have "option roms", these essentially add a driver to the BIOS/UEFI allowing it to boot from the add-in card. So you can add a SCSI, SATA, SAS etc controller to a system and boot from it. Be aware that there are different types of option rom for legacy BIOS and UEFI, some cards will support both while others may only support one or the other.

M.2 NVMe SSDs do not come with option roms. On a board with a M.2 slot this is generally not a problem, the UEFI implementation will have a NVME driver out of the box. However if you use an adapter card to connect a M.2 NVME SSD to an older system then it will generally not be directly bootable.

There exists a third party bootloader called "clover", which apparently can be booted of a device that is supported (such as a USB stick), load a NVME driver and then boot the system off a NVME SSD. Googling "clover boot NVME" finds a number of articles on setting it up.

It is also possible in some cases to modify the BIOS to add NVME support.

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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.

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I am using nvme drive wd sn750 on such mobo ver1.0 booting first to clover from my old ssd having the nvme driver inside bios folder on the efi shell type drivers and confirm that nvme driver is loaded then why should be able to boot form nvme.

I used mini-tool system migration to move data from old ssd to the nvme and it was working fine immediately.

however performance ar enot super, I get 780MB/s which isabout 3 times faster form what I had on sata2, but not as fast as I thoufg it would be.

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