Separate boot and system drives

OJ

Daemon

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I installed a Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe M.2 with a 3.0 X16 adapter (in a PCIE 3.0 x16 slot) and now discover that my mother board does not support booting from there. The MB is an ASRock Z77 Extreme4, although that's probably not so important now. I've been running FreeBSD from SATA on it for a couple of years without a problem.

I read that there are some bios fixes out there, but I don't really trust them - partly because it's Windows users talking about it. However, since FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE seems to install perfectly on it (I fixed my installation problem which I reported in another thread.)

However, perhaps a quick fix is to boot from another drive and still put my OS on the SSD. I really don't care about boot time since that's not something I do more than a couple time a year anyway. Perhaps a USB boot would be good here, but I'm not sure how to do that and haven't found a good link yet. I would appreciate any links and suggestions.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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I bet you can get that Z77 to boot from NVMe. It will require you put it in UEFI only and that includes some deep BIOS settings like PCI Options. Every where you see a choice between Legacy and EFI, pick EFI.
So first determine if there is some inherent broken-ness to the EFI on this board.(research other OS)
Then the real kicker, You must make sure the USB stick is in UEFI mode when you boot up with the installer.
That is in the BIOS boot menu. Not 'PMAP USB' but you want 'UEFI USB' to boot up.
The bsd installer screen is a lighter shade of blue. You must see this for a UEFI installation, and for a NVMe to boot.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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The problem I have seen in messing with NVMe booting is that Bios compatibility mode(CSM) should be off. You want pure UEFI.
I have had it install fine on a NVMe only to have it not boot.
That was preposterous.
Now I realize it was the BIOS all along. You really need all-UEFI for NVMe booting. I believe it is called an Option ROM.
Apparently it only works with UEFI. That is what I have deduced.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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there are some bios fixes out there, but I don't really trust them
If they are from an official AsRock website then I would advise you to update.(Some updates might even help Spetre stuff)
Seeing how you are upgrading it is a good time to do it.
Being a DOS master, a memstick for flashing should be cakewalk.
 
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OJ

Daemon

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Thanks for a quick response Phishfry . Yes, the problem is that the drive simply doesn't show up in the BIOS. But you're right. Now is a good time to try an update. Dinner first, then I'll be on it. :)
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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OK just for a kicker I want to add that you might not see it in the BIOS.
What you will see in the BIOS is that -after the install- you now a boot device entitled 'UEFI OS' in BIOS boot menu.
That is the magic ticket.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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Having the latest BIOS for UEFI is important too. There are different versions UEFI and the Z77 chipset was at the beginning of mainstream UEFI. Any freshner can't hurt.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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One more quick note:
For maximum speed research your motherboard. You need to use the PCIe 3.0 slots for NVMe and max effect.

Which brings me to another subject, You do have an IvyCreek CPU right? That board will take SandyBridge and there is no PCIe 3.0 on SandyBridge CPUz. It will only run at PCIe 2.x So list your CPU if unsure. Just one of those little GOTCHA's.
Hopefully you have IvyBridge CPU on it.
 
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OJ

Daemon

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Hmm, found it:
Intel Core I5-2400 3.10GHz (Sandy Bridge, 6MB Intel Smart Cache, 95Watt TDP) LGA1155 Quad-Core Processor :(

I do have a plan to update both the MB and the CPU, but was hoping I'd just do a quick fix (boy was I wrong!!) and then leave the upgrade for the end of the year.
 
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OJ

OJ

Daemon

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I updated the BIOS but the drive is still not found. The FreeBSD install utility finds it and installs fine, but the BIOS doesn't see a drive in that slot - it only sees that something is plugged in, but refers to it as "storage".
 

Phishfry

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Well you had to give it a try. Guess you will need a /boot partition on SATA.
 
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OJ

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Well you had to give it a try. Guess you will need a /boot partition on SATA.
Yes, that's what I was thinking originally, but I don't know how to redirect that to the SSD. Reading the forums on that topic, I get the impression that that's not an easy task. So, I'm back to square one. Just buy another SATA SDD, which is cheap, but doesn't give any significant speed improvement since SATA is SATA. Or ....

Maybe I should order a new MB/CPU/RAM now instead of later. I'm leaning toward a Supermicro MBD-C9Z390-CG-O MB and Intel Core i9-9900K Coffee Lake 8-Core CPU.

Edit to add: I just ordered the above w/ 64GB RAM, so I'm moving on.
 
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