PCIe to SSD adapter for Thunderbolt 3 enclosure reuse
I was thinking of using the enclosure itself to install a SSD array: The enclosure internal dimensions allow for a card of max 11 by 14 cm, you can see the different parts in the picture below.
I have seen some PCIe cards that allow booting from them, others that allow SoftRAID, access to Intel VROC features, etc... I suppose that is too complicated to make it work on an eGPU enclosure but I would like to install at least 2 or three SSDs, starting from less and adding more as I need them, in JBOD configuration, etc... And of a fast enough type to profit from the TB3 speeds: NVMe I suppose.
Has anybody knowledge of a card that fits those characteristics and is shown to work in external enclosures?
@jangoloti_1 I’m very curious about using a quad-M.2 PCIe card through Thunderbolt 3 enclosure as well. Currently the most affordable PCIe card for this purpose is the ASUS Hyper M.2 x16 card. A single NVMe SSD would saturate the Thunderbolt 3 22Gbps bandwidth so it’s more applicable for capacity or multiple volumes through one cable.
@itsage I have seen the ASUS one but it is bigger than the space I have, around 20 cm long. The price is right though, 53 EUR in amazon.fr.
Smaller ones I have seen have only one or two slots, mixed NVMe/SATA usually:
I have not found anything in between.
ASUS Hyper M.2 x16 card requires a slot that supports PCIe bifurcation. Those are usually motherboard slots, not Thunderbolt 3 enclosure slots.
You need a card with a PCIe switch and those are expensive.
IO Crest makes a card with 2 slots. Amfeltec, Highpoint, Sonnet make cards with 4 slots. Amfeltec has one with 6 slots.
Do you think the card below will work?
It does not say if it needs PCIe bifurcation, and I do not find the manufacturer's website.
That's for SATA M.2 devices (Key B or Key B+M). It uses a SATA controller with 5 ports.
There's a picture that shows the difference between SATA and PCIe M.2 devices. It shows that only SATA devices are compatible.
If you want to use fast NVMe drives, then you need a card that supports PCIe M.2 devices (Key M). One that has a PCIe switch. PCIe switches are expensive because reasons.
Or you can go with SATA M.2 devices. The device you linked only does PCIe 3.0 x2 though (16Gbps) which is less than the max of Thunderbolt 3 (22 Gbps). Each SATA device is limited to 6 Gbps; usually you can get 550 MB/s. RAID 0 : 550 MB/s x 5 = 2750 MB/s = exactly 22 Gbps but RAID has overhead and maybe you want to add some parity or keep one drive out of the RAID for boot.
@joevt You are right it is written with big letters. Looking for a PCIe adapter with more than two slots made me forget to look for NVME compatibility too. There are not that many of them after all.
On the other hand, the seller has replied to confirm it works with slots with or without PCIe bifurcation, and on Mac OS too.
Anyway, I am waiting for the Wavlink TB3 enclosure for NVMe SSD I ordered, I think I will buy a 1 TB Sandisk SSD and be set for a while and hope there will be a bigger choice of PCIe adapters in the future.
I believe the Glotrends will work fine. I like the compact size and the fact they also include Sub Cards for connecting normal SATA 2.5" and 3.5" drives. I don't understand why a PCIe 3.0 x2 card needs an x16 connector though.
If you have USB 3.1 gen 2 ports (Thunderbolt ports can also do USB 3.1 gen 2), then you can get 10 Gbps from a NVMe to USB enclosure. It's much cheaper than a Thunderbolt enclosure. It's faster than two 6Gbps SATA SSDs. It's compatible with computers that don't have Thunderbolt. You could use a slower/larger/cheaper NVMe drive (Intel SSD 660p 2TB) and still get max USB 3.1 gen 2 performance from it.