macOS High Sierra 10.13 NVMe Support  

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theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin

Besides eGPU, NVMe native support in High Sierra is a highly anticipated feature. This may not seem like much at first but for Thunderbolt 2 MacBooks (late 2013 to late 2015) that use Apple propriety PCIe SSD, this is a huge breakthrough. Instead of paying more than $1/GB for used Apple PCIe flash storage for these Macs we can now get brand new and faster NVMe M.2 drives for less money.

I found the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2 drive was able to boot macOS High Sierra through the AKiTiO Node a couple months ago when I was trying to saturate the bandwidth on this eGPU enclosure. Earlier today, I installed this same NVMe drive inside a 2015 11" MacBook Air using a 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter. This adapter makes the Samsung 960 EVO physically compatible with the connector on the logic board.

I was holding my breath at first boot after installing the NVMe M.2 drive. The MacBook Air was not able to boot. I could not get to the Boot Selector screen either by holding OPTION key. After an hour testing the 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter through another PCIe adapter inside my Mac Pro to verify it's working, I determined it must be something with the firmware of the MacBook Air.

I proceeded to perform a clean installation of macOS High Sierra Beta 9 on the original drive so that the latest firmware for this MacBook Air can be applied. That did the trick. My mid-2015 11" MBA is now running Boot ROM version MBA71.0170.B00. I did another clean installation of 10.13b9. This time on the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe. Here's the final results.

 

If you have a Thunderbolt 2 Mac and it's running out of storage space, an upgrade to 512GB NVMe M.2 drive is now about $200 rather than $500 for Apple PCIe drive. With that much savings, might as well spend it on an eGPU enclosure. 😀

 

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Posted : September 9, 2017 3:56 am Username, artik, mac_editor and 7 people liked
ikir
 ikir
(@ikir)
Prominent Member

This is huge indeed.

BTW these PCI blade SSD were proprietary because Apple was the first to have these speed.

Now MacBook Pro have soldered SSD even faster, incredible speed of 3Gbps but you can't change them. Probably there are security, commercial, speed reasons.

eGPU.it | LG 34" 4K 34UC88 curved ultrawide display
MacBook Pro 2018 Touch Bar i7 quad-core 2.7Ghz - 16GB RAM - 512GB PCIe SSD --> my Mantiz Venus extreme mod with Sapphire Nitro+ RX Vega 64

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Posted : September 9, 2017 7:09 am
(@sark-rui)
New Member

Hey, dude. Are you using the MacBook Air "Core i7" 2.2 11" (Early 2015) rather than the mid-2015 11″ MacBook Air one(Not found)? I've also noticed that 11'' Early 2015 was using a storage interface (PCIe 2.0 x2), which I suppose it can only run up to 1GB/s. How possibly you can benchmark it up to 1.4G/s  on reading! In addition, my convert board (12+16pin to M.2 NGFF)  merchant in China told me that Macs installed with 3rd party PCIe drive cannot normally wake up from sleep, did you encounter the same issue with High Sierra? I'm updating High Sierra and considering upgrading native PCIe drive to NVMe one for bigger capacity.

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Posted : September 26, 2017 1:31 am
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

I explain my experiences.

This is the result of trying on High Sierra beta 7, 8 or 9 with MacBook Pro 13 Late 2013, MacBook Pro 13 Early 2105, MacBook Pro 15 Mid 2014, MacBook Pro Mid 2015.

 

There are two cases when using m.2 SSD which is not Apple SSD.

1 PCIe AHCI M.2 SSD     ex. MZ-HPU256

2 PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD    ex. MZ-VPW256

 

1 : AHCI SSD is the same type as Apple genuine, so it will definitely recognize it at startup(boot), but in many case, it can not wake-up after sleep. Especially when you want to sleep SSD(HDD) it is nearly hopeless.

 

2 : NVMe SSD has no problem in wake-up after sleep, but may not recognize it at Boot. In regular Boot, it is often OK , but reboot is not recognized. Of course it can only be used with High Sierra. (But in Apple Diagnosis, even NVMe SSD can recognized normally)

 

So I was giving up using 3rd party SSD, but since I had information that I can use it at 960 EVO, I checked again  MacBook Air 13 Mid 2013 and 960 EVO 256GB with High Sierra after release.

 

1 was reproduced as it was.

2 did not recognize it at the time of installation and at first boot, but it became possible to activate it after registering as a boot disk (preliminary because the confirmation is still insufficient).

 

 

I think merchant in China saying is  corresponds to 1.

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Posted : September 27, 2017 6:36 am Sark Davidson liked
eGPU_Hunter
(@egpu_hunter)
Active Member

Hi, but the speed should be higher?

does the adapter trim speed?

I need to support NVMe but I can not find an adapter

I want to put myself in the iMac 27 5K

this bad?

ADApter

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Posted : September 27, 2017 6:21 pm
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

For the SSD adapter for MacBook Pro / Air, please see below

 

NGFF M.2 PCIe SSD Card as 2013 2014 2015 MacBook SSD

http://eshop.sintech.cn/ngff-m2-pcie-ssd-card-as-2013-2014-2015-macbook-ssd-p-1139.html

 

NGFF M.2 PCIe SSD Card as 2013 2014 2015 MacBook SSD

http://www.microsatacables.com/ngff-m2-pcie-ssd-card-as-2013-2014-2015-macbook-ssd-m2-1022-mac

 

If you prefer a cheaper one, you can also find it on ebay or Aliexpress.

 

Just be careful there. Using this adapter sometimes causes a kernel panic. The PCIe signal adapter is too close to the frame It seems that problems of insulation and shielding are probably occurring, and I think that it is caused by the fact that error checking is not performed especially in APFS. Please refer to this article.

 

Anciens Mac: High Sierra permet de booter sur des des SSD PCI-Express NVMe, Réactions à la publication du 13/09/2017

http://forum.macbidouille.com/index.php ?showtopic=404953

 

 

So I decided to coat the relevant part of the adapter with silicone resin. After this work kernel panic has never occurred so far.

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Posted : September 28, 2017 12:18 am
(@sark-rui)
New Member

Thanks, bro.

Your experience helps! 

Also, I go with your idea on what Chinese merchant's saying. He's going to test out for me.

 

Until now, have you encountered any other issues besides kernel panic and unrecognition at installation?

How are the Thermal Radiability and Disk speed?

 

 

I've noticed that storage interfaces are various on different MacBook Pros.

  • MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.6 13" Late 2013: PCIe 2.0 x2
  • MacBook Pro "Core i7" 3.0 13" Mid-2014: PCIe 2.0 x2
  • MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.7 13" Early 2015 : PCIe 2.0 x4

 

PCIe 2.0 x2 and x4 can theoretically run at 1G/s and 2G/s respectively, while 960 EVO can virtually run up to 3.2GB/s on reads and 1.9GB/s on writes, in this case, both PCIe 2.0 x2 and x4 might be a bottleneck. Therefore, would you please benchmark 960 EVO on MacBook Pro 13'' Late 2013? 

 

(FYI, SM961 and SM951  are the OEM version for 960 Pro and 960 Evo respectively, and I just realized that MZ-VPW256 referred to SM961.)

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Posted : September 28, 2017 1:42 am
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

I don't have any other issues besides kernel panic, lost drive(boot), fail at wake-up.

 

High siera installation is rather difficult process because of firm update using net download. So many reboot process happen, for NVMe SSD drive, drive lost chance will be high, because NVMe drives need new firm.  But It is possible, try it step by step.

 

I don't feel any thermal Reliability issues, the fun noise is not high. MacBook Air may not have thermal sensing feature on SSD (MacBook pro has), I don't check temperature.

 

Sorry, My MacBook Pro 13 Late 2013 has been sold. I will show benchmark 960 EVO on MacBook Air 13 Mid 2013, Read 1500MB/s  Write 1300MB/s (BlackMagic PCI  (Gen2.0)  x4  5GT/s. Even in case of MacBook Pro 13” Late 2013, the values are not so different, PCIe 2x2.0 = 700 MB/s, PCIe 4x2.0 = 1400 MB/s, PCIe 4x3.0 = 3000 MB/s.

macOS High Sierra active les SSD NVMe tiers http://www.journaldulapin.com/2017/09/22/nvme-ssd-high-sierra/

 

 

 

 

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Posted : September 28, 2017 2:33 am Sark Davidson liked
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

The benchmark on MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013

Read 600MB/s Write 600MB/s    MZ-JPU256 (original Apple SSD) PCIe x2 2.0

Read 1600MB/s Write 1360MB/s  MZ-VPW256(PM961) PCIe x4 2.0

 

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Posted : September 28, 2017 2:44 am
(@sark-rui)
New Member
Posted by: Hitoshi Kudoh

The benchmark on MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2013

Read 600MB/s Write 600MB/s    MZ-JPU256 (original Apple SSD) PCIe x2 2.0

Read 1600MB/s Write 1360MB/s  MZ-VPW256(PM961) PCIe x4 2.0

Impressive and thanks!

I think it would be feasible for me to wait and see if there are any firm updates for 960 Evo drives, I do not own any MacBook backup though. : ) 

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Posted : September 28, 2017 10:07 am
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

 This is bad news. I found boot-drive (NVMe) lost with 960 EVO and MacBook Air 13 Mid 2013.

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Posted : September 28, 2017 11:17 am
(@sark-rui)
New Member
Posted by: Hitoshi Kudoh

 This is bad news. I found boot-drive (NVMe) lost with 960 EVO and MacBook Air 13 Mid 2013.

That sounds weird. Was the charger plugged in? Sorry, I neither have no idea about this issue. : (

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Posted : September 28, 2017 10:50 pm
i0ntempest
(@i0ntempest)
Eminent Member

I have a 960 Evo in my Akitio Node Lite and my iMac running 10.13  is having problems with it. During verbose booting, I see a bunch of “Apple NVMe assert error” and “disk0 error”. Any ideas?

Btw I also have a 2014 MBA, is your adapter compatible with my model?

Setup 1: Apple iMac 2017 21.5” 4K + eGPU
dGPU: AMD Radeon Pro 560
eGPU: Gigabyte G1 Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 via Thunderbolt 3 (AKiTiO Node)
Setup 2: Mac mini 2018 + eGPU
iGPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630
eGPU: EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC via Thunderbolt 3 (AKiTiO Node Lite)

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Posted : October 26, 2017 8:44 am
i0ntempest
(@i0ntempest)
Eminent Member
Posted by: i0ntempest

I have a 960 Evo in my Akitio Node Lite and my iMac running 10.13  is having problems with it. During verbose booting, I see a bunch of “Apple NVMe assert error” and “disk0 error”. Any ideas?

Btw I also have a 2014 MBA, is your adapter compatible with my model?

Plus, it triggers a kernel panic on every boot and reboot. For only a few times it got recognized during the boot, but most of the time it won’t and will crash my system on shutdown or reboot.

Setup 1: Apple iMac 2017 21.5” 4K + eGPU
dGPU: AMD Radeon Pro 560
eGPU: Gigabyte G1 Gaming NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 via Thunderbolt 3 (AKiTiO Node)
Setup 2: Mac mini 2018 + eGPU
iGPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630
eGPU: EVGA NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti SC via Thunderbolt 3 (AKiTiO Node Lite)

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Posted : October 26, 2017 8:53 am
(@hitoshi_kudoh)
Active Member

Sorry, I never use Akitio Node Lite. That may be external Disk, so all things are out of my jurisdiction.

The adapter for MacBook Air/Pro later Late2013 (PCIe AHCI SSD) is sintech adapter. You can use it, maybe. I recommend that you investigate enough other than this forum.

for example:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/upgrading-2013-2014-macbook-pro-ssd-to-m-2-nvme.2034976/

 

 

 

 

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Posted : October 26, 2017 9:18 am
adil
 adil
(@adil)
New Member

theistage, thanks for the post. 

Has anyone tried a 500GB 960 evo on a 13" MacBook Air mid-2017 ?

I am guessing the SSD's physical fit is a non-issue for MOBO in the latest version (?)

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Posted : November 27, 2017 11:38 am
(@mario_modano)
New Member

theistage, thanks for this great post!

I'm trying to do the same with a Samsung 960 evo 1TB but without results ;( the NVME Express is found and shows the same as yours except from the volume's part. No EFI Etc

this is the adapter i use :

Adapter M2 (NGFF) MACBOOK 2013 2014 2015 2016 - Replace SSD 12+16 pin

http://www.ebay.nl/itm/Adaptateur-M2-NGFF-vers-MACBOOK-2013-2014-2015-2016-Remplace-SSD-12-16-pin/292240875657?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

Using a Mac pro 6.1  2013 with high sierra via external OWC SSD because i can't install High sierra on the new Samsung Nvme did you flash it some kind of way or....?

 

Any idea or solution what i can do? 

 

Best regards 

 

Mario

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Posted : November 30, 2017 9:02 am
theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin

@Mario Modano can you post the Boot ROM version of your nMP? In the trashcan, the metal shield on the PCIe flash drive connector may be touching the pins on the M.2 adapter. Use kapton tape or clear nail polish to shield them if you can.

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Posted : November 30, 2017 2:12 pm
(@mario_modano)
New Member

@theistage the boot rom is MP61.0120.B00 I've tried the nail polish and kapton tape without succes... keeps telling after start up disk can't be read and give options like initialize etc.

When i choose initialize it go's to Disk Utility but the Samsung isn't in the list.  the strange thing is that it is recognized as NVMExpress in the System Information . What can it be?

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Posted : November 30, 2017 5:10 pm
(@mario_modano)
New Member

Problem solved by erasing disk via terminal and than clean HS Install! Thanks

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Posted : December 1, 2017 9:31 am Gen4ig and theitsage liked
(@gen4ig)
New Member

Hi, are you use this adapter? 

I have samsung 960 EVO NVMe M.2,

Can I upgrade ssd on my MacBook Pro 13 2015 early with this adapter?

Thanks 

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Posted : December 3, 2017 1:33 pm
theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin

@Gen4ig the adapters are most likely the same. Give the one you found a try and let us know.

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Posted : December 3, 2017 2:51 pm
(@gen4ig)
New Member
Posted by: theitsage

@Gen4ig the adapters are most likely the same. Give the one you found a try and let us know.

what about this one? 

Can be compatible with Samsung 960 EVO NVMe ?

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Posted : December 3, 2017 3:46 pm
xenoshroud
(@xenoshroud)
Active Member
Posted by: Gen4ig
Posted by: theitsage

@Gen4ig the adapters are most likely the same. Give the one you found a try and let us know.

what about this one? 

Can be compatible with Samsung 960 EVO NVMe ?

@ Gen4ig - 

Based on the information from this thread at macrumors

Your best bet is the sintech adapter with appropriately applied kapton tape

Note that the adapter makes a big difference in how well the NVMe drive works. Based on what I've read at macrumors,  the only issue with a samsung 960 evo in an early 2015 macbook pro is pairing it with a bad adapter. 

 🙂 do your research. I didn't and ended up with two 1TB NVMe drives (Samsung SM961 aka OEM version of the 960 EVO & and a Toshiba XG3 - both great drives btw).

Hope this helps!

 

Posted by: theitsage

@Mario Modano can you post the Boot ROM version of your nMP? In the trashcan, the metal shield on the PCIe flash drive connector may be touching the pins on the M.2 adapter. Use kapton tape or clear nail polish to shield them if you can.

Damn! I just bought me some kapton tape too!

AKiTiO Node + ASUS GTX 1070 Turbo 8GB (macOS High Sierra 10.13 and Windows 10)
MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid-2014) 3.0GHz Dual Core Intel i7-4578U / 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 / 512GB SSD

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Posted : December 13, 2017 2:54 am theitsage liked
ivanosh
(@ivanosh)
New Member

Hello. I installed 960 evo into my MPB 13-inch mid2014 in January and it was working with x2 lane width all this time. But yesterday i disassebled macbook and insert my old ssd into it for windows installing. After i returned 960evo into device and lane width was x4 :O

But after reboot it x2 again. 🙁

Why this could happen? And howto force x4 width?

Thank you.

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Posted : January 29, 2018 12:28 pm
(@jeff_davis)
New Member

I had a similar issue that was fixed when I adjusted the drive connection. I think it is the physical connection and it could be some pins shorted to ground. I would just try adjusting the connection until you consistently get x4.

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Posted : February 21, 2018 7:40 am
ppespepe
(@ppespepe)
New Member

Hello forum... this is my first post! 🙂

Just wanted to know when using the Akitio Thunder2 with the 960 EVO you had to do something.

The thing is, I have ont of those Akitio PCIe Box, not the GPU node, and tried an Intel SSD DC P3600 Series PCi NVME card to no avail. This is what I get in my iMac late 2015 with High Sierra into PCI system Info:

pci8086,953:

 

  Type: NVM Express Controller

  Driver Installed: No

  Tunnel Compatible: No

  Pause Compatible: No

  MSI: No

  Bus: PCI

  Slot: Thunderbolt@193,0,0

  Vendor ID: 0x8086

  Device ID: 0x0953

  Subsystem Vendor ID: 0x1137

  Subsystem ID: 0x01ac

  Revision ID: 0x0001

  Link Width: x4

  Link Speed: 5.0 GT/s

And the Thunderbolt Info:

AKiTiO Thunder 2 Box:

 

  Vendor Name: inXtron

  Device Name: AKiTiO Thunder 2 Box

  Vendor ID: 0x41

  Device ID: 0x236

  Device Revision: 0x1

  UID: 0x0041023616702E40

  Route String: 3

  Firmware Version: 24.1

  Port (Upstream):

  Status: Device connected

  Link Status: 0x2

  Speed: Up to 20 Gb/s x1

  Current Link Width: 0x2

  Cable Firmware Version: 1.1.0

  Link Controller Firmware Version: 0.14.0

  Port:

  Status: No device connected

  Link Status: 0x7

  Speed: Up to 20 Gb/s x1

  Current Link Width: 0x1

  Link Controller Firmware Version: 0.14.0

Will it work if I buy a 960 evo or Pro? My intention is to use it as a boot drive because my iMac has a horrible fusion drive.

Many thanks!

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Posted : February 28, 2018 5:48 pm
luki343
(@luki343)
New Member

Hey,
I have MBA 13 mid2013 without SSD, my bootrom is mba61.0099.b04, will it work if i buy ssd nvme?

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Posted : March 14, 2018 11:15 am
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator

Was thinking I could update to a faster SSD (I'll probably stretch my mid 2014 15" MBP for another 2 years), not for storage (have 512GB installed by default) but speed. What do you guys think - worth it? Looking at 960 EVO given it would easily saturate PCIE 2x4.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
----
Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Command Line Swiss Knife
----
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Posted : April 27, 2018 10:42 pm
artik
(@artik)
Active Member

Does 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter work for Mac Pro 2013?

Mac Pro 2013, 10 core, Sonnet eGFX 550, Vega 64

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Posted : April 28, 2018 12:28 am
esatamacmodular
(@esatamacmodular)
Trusted Member
Posted by: luki343

Hey,
I have MBA 13 mid2013 without SSD, my bootrom is mba61.0099.b04, will it work if i buy ssd nvme?

I'm not sure but I'm going to suggest no.  Not unless you can install 10.13.3+ on an original MBA 2013 drive first. After updating the MBA firmware, you could install from a USB installation key (you'd have to make this key i think).

from the OP ...

I was holding my breath at first boot after installing the NVMe M.2 drive. The MacBook Air was not able to boot. I could not get to the Boot Selector screen either by holding OPTION key. After an hour testing the 12+16pin to M.2 NGFF M-Key adapter through another PCIe adapter inside my Mac Pro to verify it's working, I determined it must be something with the firmware of the MacBook Air.

I proceeded to perform a clean installation of macOS High Sierra Beta 9 on the original drive so that the latest firmware for this MacBook Air can be applied. That did the trick. My mid-2015 11" MBA is now running Boot ROM version MBA71.0170.B00. I did another clean installation of 10.13b9. This time on the Samsung 960 EVO NVMe.

iMac 2013 10.14.1, Macbook Air 2013 10.11, MBP 2016 13" 10.13.6 , HP 4530s 10.11, node lite, DA-2 PSU w/mod, PE4L 2.1b expresscard34, GTX460,1050Ti,1060,1070/Ti RX470,560,580

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Posted : April 28, 2018 1:57 am
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator

Well, I went ahead and bought a 960 EVO + adapter. Let's see how it goes 😉

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
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Posted : April 28, 2018 3:11 pm theitsage liked
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator

Successfully running the 960 EVO on the MBP. Having previously clean-installed High Sierra multiple times while working on purge-wrangler/purge-nvda I had no issues with EFI/boot, etc. The biggest problem was the Torx screw securing the SSD - it never budged. Used a knife to file the screw, then a drill + rotary to smoothen and widen the wedge. Finally used a flat screwdriver (took 2 hours lol). Sad upgrade experience, but works. 

EFI takes time to detect new SSD on boot -> resetting NVRAM + SMC + option-setting disk to default boot disk resolved it.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
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Posted : May 3, 2018 4:33 am SE12897 liked
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator

Odd. I just reset SMC + NVRAM -> speeds on the 960 EVO down to around 700 MBps for both read/writes - were previously about 1400. Any ideas? Makes the upgrade rather pointless.

Update: Managed to resolve the problem by booting into Recovery and running first aid on the SSD device. Write speeds are fairly inconsistent - ranging from 650-1500 MBps while reads are nearly consistent, surpassing 1500 MBps in consecutive tests.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
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Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
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----
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Posted : May 8, 2018 3:45 am
mac_editor
(@mac_editor)
Noble Member Moderator

After prolonged sleep (default hibernation mode settings), speeds are down to ~700 again. Weird.

purge-wrangler.shpurge-nvda.shset-eGPU.sh
----
Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Command Line Swiss Knife
----
Multiple Build Guides

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Posted : May 8, 2018 2:17 pm
theitsage
(@itsage)
Famed Member Admin

@mac_editor I read about odd behavior with these newer PCIe NVMe drives. Some have had success by formatting the drive with a non-default variable sector size. One user on macrumors did it under Linux. I forgot the details and can't locate it now.

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Posted : May 8, 2018 3:11 pm
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