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Booting to a NVMe via PCIe card. Is it possible?

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So I’m making a shift to Linux Mint, and I have an old Z420 workstation headed my way to be my DD. I’ll be putting in an SSD either way, but I am considering an NVMe drive running on a PCIe card since prices are so good now. My question would be, is it possible to install and boot to Linux in this way, or will I not make it past POST? This Z420 runs Ivy Bridge-E, based off the x79 chipset. If not, I may just RAID a pair of SATA drives.
 
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Depends whether the MB supports booting from PCIE devices or not, go read the manual it will likely tell you if it does or doesn't.
 

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Depends whether the MB supports booting from PCIE devices or not, go read the manual it will likely tell you if it does or doesn't.
This. I can't boot directly from my NVMe via a PCIe adapter because of the BIOS. There have been reports that a modified BIOS for my board can handle booting from it, but I haven't the courage to attempt it. With that said, if you're running Linux, you only need /boot to be somewhere that's not your NVMe drive. So long as that's the case, you can still use the NVMe drive as root which is where where a lot of the benefit comes from. When I find the time and the motivation, that's what I'm probably going to do with my setup if I don't replace it with a newer platform by the time Ubuntu 20.04 comes out.

If you have a SATA SSD, I would suggest using that for /boot and whatever else you want on an SSD, but don't really need the speed of NVMe for.
 
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Thanks for the quick responses. I couldn’t find something directly related to a manual for the BIOS, but revising my search to “boot z420 to PCIe” got me to a thread that says I would need to modify the BIOS, which seems more trouble than what it might be worth. I was too specific with my search before! The idea of using a SATA drive for the /boot volume sounds good though. I forget the level of options you have for Linux. It’s been a while since I ran the OS as my primary OS.
 

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I forget the level of options you have for Linux.
It really is great. It's reasons like this which makes it possible to have root mounted to a software raid. As far as Linux is concerned, /boot could be on a flash drive.
 

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I think Z97 was the first to have it unless board manufacturers BIOS updated older models. I know I had to do an update for my MPower just to get my NVMe drive to function, and it did bring PCI booting.
 
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^^^^this

Check for bios updates from your board maker, if recent enough, they are likely to add features such as pcie/boot/nvme support which are standard nowadays. Bare in mind that several pcie nvme adapters need pcie port bifurcation to work in order to split the lanes to the slots available on the adapter. On my c612 based board, nvme support was likely added later via bios updates, and I can still run two graphics cards each in 3.0 x16, and have the nvme adapter accept 4x drives each with 3.0 x4 speed, in addition to a sata conroller card, sound blaster z, and still have two free slots for x16.
 
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If you have a SATA SSD, I would suggest using that for /boot and whatever else you want on an SSD, but don't really need the speed of NVMe for.
That is pretty much how I have it set up, I use on old mSATA SSD for /boot while /root is on NVME. Works fine but was fiddly to set up.
 
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I have heard of other hacks and workarounds for using NVME SSD as boot drive even if your Chipset donot support booting from PCIE/NVME drive and without doing any Modification to your Motherboard BIOS. I have myself donot done yet as I am yet to purchase a NVME drive, but I plan to upgrade to NVME drive as Boot drive for OS+applications.

What I heard that in your Motherboard's BIOS selet boot priority as USB Drive. Put a small USB Drive on any of the USB Port. This USB Drive will just contain a Custom Bios file which will point to the NVME Drive for Booting, where you have installed your Operating System.

If interested one can get more info on Page 29 of thread Dell Workstation Owner's club.
 
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1) NVMe boot mod for UEFI BIOS : LINK (works on all EFI type boards)
2) If you don't want to play around with EFI, you can always use Clover/DUET as 3-rd party EFI boot :
a) DUET : LINK
b) Clover : LINK

PS. I currently use a moded UEFI for my X79, that supports NVMe booting.
 
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