advertisement
Forums

The Forum is sponsored by 
 

AAPL stock: Click Here

You are currently viewing the Tips and Deals forum
Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 06, 2022 06:03PM
Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?

Hi everyone,

Someone asked me about turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card into a external boot drive. The idea was to buy the Highpoint:

[www.highpoint-tech.com]

Take an NVME M.2 stick, install it onto a PCIe card like the OWC Accelsior 1M2 or Glotrends card

[eshop.macsales.com]
[www.amazon.com]

And then use the chassis as a wicked fast external Thunderbolt 3 boot drive. One that is portnetially twice as fast as taking the same stick and putting it into an Envoy Express.

That had me thinking…

A quality Thunderbolt 3 enclosure is at least $79:

[eshop.macsales.com]

The Highpoint combined with the PCIe card is more than twice as many bucks. However, it’ll be near twice as fast _and_ you won’t lose the use of a Thunderbolt 3 port since it has two of them. One for the connection to the Mac and one spare one for other uses.

Drop the stick onto the card, drop the card in the box, connect it and boot from it. You could even use a card that holds multiple NVME sticks instead of just one.

Am I incorrect in thinking this is actually a potentially viable idea? Thoughts?

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2022 06:26PM by Robert M.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Gareth
Date: July 06, 2022 07:05PM
Quote
Robert M
Am I incorrect in thinking this is actually a potentially viable idea? Thoughts?

I certainly hope so... I actually have all the parts necessary to do this (well on TB2), but haven't gotten around to it.

Quote
Robert M
You could even use a card that holds multiple NVME sticks instead of just one.

Only gotcha with this is that you need a card that has bifurcation built into it (which are way more expensive). MacOS can't do that in software (Windows can, hence there are cheaper cards for Windows). Last I looked, a 4 slot card that would be Mac compatible would be at least $400.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 06, 2022 07:18PM
Gareth,

D'oh! I should've said, "Am I correct in thinking this is actually a potentially viable idea?" Meaning, will this work? How much would a card that supports bifurcation which carries a single stick cost? Even this with a single stick would do the job nicely especially since it'll work with Mojave. I wonder if the OWC card supports bifurcation. I'll have to ask OWC Larry. smiling smiley

That's one of my annoyances with current Thunderbolt docks. The one dock that provides a bunch of Thunderbolt ports instead of a mix of ports that are mostly unnecessary - the OWC Thunderbolt Hub - requires MacOS Big Sir.

I'd be on it in a heartbeat except that I'm running Mojave for now and have no need to interest in going to Big Sur. At some point, I'll convert my Mojave configuration into a virtual machine and then move up the OS but I'm not doing that until I move to an Apple Silicon box. That'll be a while since my current machine is dandy and then some.

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: PeterW
Date: July 07, 2022 05:36AM
Robert

I’m guessing the real issue will be whether the expansion box supports booting and under which versions of macOS. Without that, all you have is a big albeit fast ssd.
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 07, 2022 08:49AM
Gareth,

Looks like this card from Syba will do the trick:

[www.sybausa.com]

You can get it with for two NVME sticks, too:

[www.amazon.com]

$199 for the RocketStor box. $179 for the Syba card.

The question is whether or not it supports booting and under which flavor of the Mac OS. Gonna contact Highpoint and Syba and ask. I'm super curious now.

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 07, 2022 05:25PM
Hi everyone,

I contacted Highpoint and they got back to me already. They said the box should work with any industry standard PCIe cards that are Full-height, with a max length of 8.2". The Syba card should work as long as it is Thunderbolt compatible.

Now I'm waiting to hear back from Syba to see if the card is Thunderbolt compatible, if a stock on it can be used as a bootable drive and if it'll work under Mojave.

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: OWC Larry
Date: July 11, 2022 11:30AM
As long as the PCIe card is Thunderbolt aware (all of our Acceleriors from the 1M2 to the 8M2 are, for example - and I most NVMe to PCIe carrier cards use chipsets in general that are), will work A-OK in a Thunderbolt PCIe chassis.

Bootability is more about the OS and system. Currently there are options for all Mac/OS versions for external bootability even if not exactly Apple supported. Apple started making it harder after 10.14, but still doable.

As for performance.... the majority of the benefit of an NVMe SSD for booting comes from the IO per second vs. the raw, peak data rate throughput. when you say looking to make a wicked fast external boot drive.... what startup device are you comparing to, which Mac model?



OWC Larry
Other World Computing
[www.macsales.com]
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 11, 2022 04:43PM
Hi Larry,

In my friend's case, he has an 2019 iMac 27K similar to mine. I'm already booting off a 2TB PCIE 4 NVME in an OWC Envoy Express. It works nicely. Gotta admit, though, the idea got me intrigued enough to delve into it a bit.

The friend who asked me about the Highpoint or Helios box with the PCIe NVME card has the identical model. He's using 2.5" SSD in an USB 3.1 Gen 2 box as the boot SSD but wants to go with a faster configuration.

I pointed him to an NVME stick in an Envoy Express for both the performance, quality and cost but he's less enthused. He prefers a dual stick box (without using both T-Bolt ports) and he's concerned about cooling. He brought up a Sabrent dual stick box with a fan as a less expensive alternative to the Highpoint or Helos box with the PCIe card:

[www.amazon.com]

He's still itching for the big box, card (be it the Syba or, if I can convince him and it's bootable, [eshop.macsales.com] and single stick configuration. He just wants to make sure it can serve as a boot drive.

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: OWC Larry
Date: July 12, 2022 06:18PM
The external hardware is all bootable.... any limits are the Mac/MacOS... which you can currently do external boots with/from - just some hoop jumping depending on the OS version and especially with Apple Silicon Macs. We are actually looking to see that easier from OWC side in the future.... regardless of all that...

I do not believe he's going to get a recognizable benefit from booting from a faster SSD array vs. what he's already doing. Even though (I assume) he's on USB 10GB/s and not thunderbolt with the Sabrent, it's more about IO than it is peak speed... There is a benefit to the OWC Express Thunderbolt for better I/O transactions as no USB bridge - straight PCIe... but even then, not sure he's going to be blown away vs. his current unless the Sabrent design is really limiting IO transactions.

he could get an Aura Pro X2 iMac Internal solution and install it inside his 2019 iMac... that would give the best performance right NVMe direct to the processor. smiling smiley



OWC Larry
Other World Computing
[www.macsales.com]
Options:  Reply • Quote
Re: Turning a RocketStor 6661A Thunderbolt 3 expansion chassis with an PCIe NVME card and stick into an external boot drive?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: July 13, 2022 07:50AM
Hi Larry,

He's using an SanDisk Ultra II SSD in a MediaSonic enclosure as the boot drive:

[www.amazon.com]

[www.amazon.com]

Even though the box can handle USB 10GB/s speeds, he's limited by the SSD itself which maxes out at about 550GB/s.

He wants to move to a higher capacity SSD. I told him if he's going to move to a higher capacity SSD, he may as well switch to an NVME M.2 based solution, which is how this whole discussion got started.

I'm still working on convincing him to buy the stick and the Envoy Express and call it done. It'll just work. I know from experience.

But, he does like to play, so, he may end up going with the Highpoint box and the OWC PCIe card just to see if it'll work. If it does, he's got a great boot drive. If not, I bet he'll get another stick and slap it into an Envoy Express and then I'll happily tell him I told you do go for this configuration in the first place. smiling smiley

Robert
Options:  Reply • Quote
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 411
Record Number of Users: 186 on February 20, 2020
Record Number of Guests: 5122 on October 03, 2020