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Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?

landshark Community Member
Currently Being Moderated

Hi everyone -

 

I've bought a D510 and am interested in installing the OS on a SSD card on the PCI-express slot.  Many netbooks use this setup, and I was wondering if the D510's BIOS would be able to handle an SSD inserted in the PCI-express slot.  The 50mm PCI-e SSD used in Dells fits in the D510.  I've installed it, but I don't see anything coming up in the BIOS.  My fear is the BIOS can only handle wireless (and apparently HD decoders?) in the PCI-express slot.  I'm hoping someone can tell me I'm wrong.

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

  • 1. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    landshark Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Ugh.  So, on further research, it looks like netbooks that use a PCI-e mini card FORM FACTOR aren't actually using the PCI-express format for their pins and data.  So, it will fit and plug in, but it won't work.  It looks like Samsung is exploring making a PCI-e mini card that WILL work on the true PCI bus, but I can't find any more about it since the announcement they were doing it in Aug. 2009.  Looks like I'll have to get an SSD.

     

    And FYI, if anyone's trying to stick one in a Chenbro case (the 4 drive one) be aware that if you want to add a RAID card, only the highpoint RocketRAID 2200 will fit natively.  I'm trying to fit in a 3ware using a flexible instead of a rigid PCI riser card, I'm hoping it will work.

  • 2. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    kellylipp Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Landshark,

     

    I'm in the process of doing a bunch evaluation work on this board.  I would appreciate hooking up with you and pooling our resources as it seems you're busting down the same paths I intend to bust down.

     

    I did find the Intel D501MO Product Guide helpful.  I'm sure you have this as well.  As an alternative boot device, it looks like the Intel Z-U130 USB SSD might work.  Poking around, I found a third party building a similar thing: http://www.memorysuppliers.com/eusb-ssd-8gb-af8gssgh.html.

     

    Depending on the size of the OS, this might be a good approach and would avoid burning the mini PCI-E slot or the PCI slot.

     

    On the PCI slot: have you found the specs on that slot?  It is not PCI-X, is it?  I am very curious as the outcome of your experiments regarding the PCI SATA RAID card.  I have an identical desire and am using the same Chenbro case.

     

    I have found many mini PCI-E SSD devices as well during my wanderings.  If you need that info, let me know.

     

    Also, I am working directly with a distributor so may have access to stuff that you don't.  Again, let me know and I'm happy to work with you.

     

    The pioneer is the guy with the arrows in his back.  In this case, I guess that's you!  I'm happy to join you!

     

    Thanks in advance,

     

    Kelly

     

  • 3. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    landshark Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Kellylipp -

     

    Thanks for the ideas!  I saw that Intel SSD, and as long as it has the "pci" controller chip in it to allow it to work in a PCI-e bus slot, it might work.  I don't know for sure.  I saw a bunch of articles from late 2008 talking about manufacturers planning a true PCI-e SSD, but then didn't see any actual products come out.  Guess the market wasn't big enough.

     

    Regarding RAID:

    If you find the 2U sized RAID cards (2U being a size category for a rack server rack), they can fit in the enclosure.  The problem is that with the orientation of the PCI slot, even if you get the chenbro riser card, most 2U RAID cards stick out too far to fit.  Apparently the Chenbro case is built around ONE PCI RAID card (Highpoint RocketRAID 2210 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115033), which apparently will fit.  The problem is it's "fakeRAID" where much of the RAID logic is performed by software and the CPU.  Kind of an issue with a lowish powered Atom CPU.

     

    The solution I used was to get a flexible PCI riser card (I got : http://www.logicsupply.com/products/pelx16_c11 but there are others) and an older Adaptec 2U PCI 64 RAID card (backwards compatable to PCI 32), the 2410SA (http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/support/raid/sata/AAR-2410SA/).  The downside to the Adaptec was that it's only SATA I (not SATA II), but since the PCI is only PCI 32, the PCI bus is about 100 mb/s, so I was going to be maxing out the PCI bus even with SATA I anyway.  The other bad news is the Adabtec card is limited to 2TB arrays, but since I'm using RAID 10 with four 1 TB drives, I'm only building a 2TB RAID anyways.  The good news is the Adaptec is very Debian (and other Linux distro) friendly, so it was easy to get my Linux server up and running - the RAID card was recognized right off the bat.

     

    I managed to fit the Adaptec RAID card in even with the slimline CD/DVD, but it's a really tight squeeze.  So, I have a 2 TB Debian RAID server based on the INtel D510 motherboard, with 4 GB of RAM, a 32 GB SATA OCZ SSD drive for the operating system, and four 1 TB SATA II drives plugged into the Adaptec RAID card.  I also got the Chenbro card reader so I could run backup of the SSD drive onto a 32 GB SD card, but Linux is disliking that Chenbro card reader at the moment.  Hopefully that's fixable.  Anyways, that's my setup, let me know if you have any questions.

  • 4. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    kellylipp Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Thanks for all the good info.

     

    My wholesale supplier is sending me a couple of samples of things to try.  One thing I've got on the way is the USB SSD similar to the old Intel flash ssd.  I've got a 4GB and an 8GB coming.  My OS will fit on one of those.  That will leave the mini PCI-E slot for something else.

     

    In addition to that, he's also sending me one of the Promise TX4310 cards and the SIIG four port card http://www.siig.com/ViewProduct.aspx?pn=SC-SA4R12-S2.  The info you shared about the RocketRAID is probably invaluable: I would have headed down that route only to have performance problems.  Hopefully either the Promise or SIIG card will work.  I'll probably need the riser for one or the other.  I've got the normal and the flexible on order as well.  Couldn't hook up any samples.

     

    It's off the lab this weekend.  I'll probably learn more than I ever wanted to know.  I'll report back on what I know.

     

    I think this is a pretty cool MOBO.  Hopefully we can generate some more interest here and get the thing rung out!

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Kelly

  • 5. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    landshark Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hmm, both the Promise and SIIG look like they are "soft RAID" - so they are really a four port SATA controller and the driver uses the CPU to handle RAID tasks.  This is similar to the RAID used by the Intel ICH9 southbridge controller chip.  If you use a parity RAID method (like RAID 5), there will be a decent load put on the CPU.  Not sure about 0 or 1 (striping / mirroring) but I imagine there's some CPU overhead.  Supposedly Linux soft RAID (implemented by Linux) works well though, so it might work fine.

  • 6. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    stare Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I am trying to do the same, namely, boot off a "MiniPCI-e SSD" put into D510MO's MiniPCI-e slot,

    and I have the same problem.

     

    Firstly, could someone please explain what the deal is with different "MiniPCI-e disks" (not) being MiniPCI-e disks?

    As I understand it now, they are mainly intended (by the manufacturers) to be used in laptops' MiniPCI-e slots,

    which are NOT really MiniPCI-e slots (as per the specification). They pin differently, and these "disks" are made

    with the assumption that they will be put exactly in such a laptop slot - making them not work in a "true" MiniPCI-e

    slot such as the D510MO's. Is this understanding correct? Is there more I need to know about this?

     

    landshark, could you please point me to the links/research that explained it for you?

     

    What I have tried is put a Toshiba "MiniPCI-e SSD" as bought at

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280477338814

    into the D510MO's slot; the machine doesn't even start

    - there is no BIOS screen appearing, the monitor is not even lit up.

    Nothing happens. Also, I have tried to use this card in other boards,

    with the same result. I have not yet had a chance to try this card

    in a laptop. I guess it's one of the "laptop MiniPCI-e SSDs", expecting to

    be put in the laptop variety of a MiniPCI-e slot. Right?

     

    kelly, have you met / tested / used _any_ combination of a MinuPCI-e SSD in a MiniPCI-e slot

    that worked for you? Could you boot from it? I consider trying OCZ's MiniPCI-e SSD next:

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/solid_state_drives/minipci-express_solid_state_drives

    Has anyone tried these in the D510MO (or other) board successfully?

  • 7. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    landshark Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Hi Stare -

     

    My understanding is that for a Pci-e SSD to work in the D510's slot, the card itself has to have both the memory chips, as well as a SATA controller chip and the PCI-e controller chip.  The SSDs used in netbooks only have the SATA (or IDE) controller, so they can't work on the PCI-e bus. I don't recall exactly where I got the info, it was a unch of Google searches and following links, sorry.

  • 8. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    stare Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    OK, I looked at the OCZSSDMPES, as described here:

    http://www.ocztechnology.com/products/solid_state_drives/ocz_minipci_express_ssd-sata_

    The manufacturer and some users assure me that this disk/car indeed has both the (SATA) controller

    and a true MiniPCI-e interface, and will therefore work in any true MiniPCI-e slot (such as the one found at the D510MO

    board), IF it fits in physically. Which it doesn't - the card is 70mm long, the slot is only 50mm.

     

    Has anyone used ANY MiniPCI-e disk in this board?

    Has anyone BOOTED from it? Is this possible?

  • 9. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    scottzfs2 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Found out the hard way, but mini pcie SSD's are not what they seem. Seems to be 3 types:

     

    mini PCIe PATA - popularised by asus, basically an IDE device, using a mini PCIe connector, not actually a pci-e device/bus.

    mini PCIe SATA - Same as above, used on newer netbooks, but still only a sata device, connected by pcie connector only, not actually a pci-e device/bus.

    Proper job - a proper PCIe card, with a pci e controller, sata controller, and flash drive/chips, all rolled into one (multiple different chips on board 3+)

     

    Therefor 95% of what you see on ebay / etc wont work as they are made for the older netbooks, PATA/IDE just wont work.

     

    Due to the market for these devices being heavily skewed towards netbooks (not notebooks), its quite hard to actually find out what you are buying.

     

    The new bios update for this board mentions 'mini pci-e sata pass through option rom' , but again, doesnt make clear if that will allow a sata device to work on the pcie connector.

     

    As mentioned below, a 50mm device is required. the OCZ product looks like it probably would work, but at 70mm will foul the pci connector, even if installed at an angle. A search for mini PCIe right angle adaptors or ribon cable extenders was fruitless. Wouldnt want to try and bend the mobo connector either!

     

    I might chance it, and buy a more pricey 'runcore' SATA device and hope that the bios update does what it says on the tin. Although it would be interesting to know if the sata pass through prevents 2 sata devices from being used on the mobo connectors (eg, only 1 would then work). Not that that bothers me, as i have a 4port sata card in the pci slot, but it would be nice to not need another large drive, another power connector, and another sata cable in the case, an onboard pcie ssd would be ideal...

  • 10. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    Jarocks Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I actually am wondering pretty much the same thing and would really like to know if the updated BIOS would allow me to use a SATA mini PCI-E SSD.

  • 11. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    scottzfs2 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Will let you know when it arrives. Im running the latest 210 bios version , knowing my luck it wont work!

     

    board is still running sweet though, running open solaris 64bit with 4g ram, everything detected pico psu 150w great bit of kit aswell...

  • 12. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    stare Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    People have said they are gonna try this and that MiniPCI-e card in the D510 boards? Have you guys fund out anything? Is there ANYBODY who used ANY MiniPCI-e disk in the D510 board? Has ANYONE been able to boot from it?

  • 13. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    scottzfs2 Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    Havent seen any pages or anything confirming this, but, as soon as it arrives, i will let you all know.

     

    ebay , straight from china... 10 to 20 business days lol, upto 12 already, so hopefully here soon! Away for the next 2 days though...

     

    I did see someone write that the board now supports pcie boot, but i dont know if that was from personal experience or just speculating..

     


    All will be confirmed, SOON!

     

    I hope it does, then my 24/7 NAS device can power down the drives when not in use, and store all the OS and VM images on the SSD (got myself a 32gb, 90mb/50mb sec transfer), not too bad for 100bucks.

  • 14. Re: Can a PCI-express SSD be installed on the Atom D510's PCI-e slot and used to boot?
    Jarocks Community Member
    Currently Being Moderated

    I'm about to gamble on this fact as well; just bought an 16gb ssd off ebay for cheap and hopefully if this does work, i'll have a nice solid state disk to boot off of.

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